Thinking Outside the (Tool) Box

Thinking outside the box, as cliché of a statement this is, it still maintains some merit. So how do we do it? How do we see the obvious outside of our ‘box’?

One thing to remember is that creative thinking takes practice. It’s simply not true that some people are born with creativity and some people aren’t. Being creative is work. And creative people work their butts off on being creative. What we don’t hear often enough is that creativity takes practice. And to help strengthen your creative muscles, here’s an exercise to try tonight.

First, let’s get back to this box. Thinking outside the box in many ways means thinking outside of your toolbox. Let’s take the example of a hammer and a nail. How do we hammer a nail? WHACK! Okay, let’s take away the hammer–now how do we hammer a nail? What other ways are there to get a nail inside of a piece of wood? How about a hammer gun (hey it’s not a hammer), use a drill bit that could make way for the nail, how about a magnet so powerful it can pull the nail in, how about we get a cheaper piece of wood—say cardboard, then we wouldn’t need a hammer.

I could go on, and I should. Task yourself to think of 10 ways to hammer a nail without a hammer. Go the extreme, go for the simple, but reach a number. Challenge yourself to be … (gasp!) … creative.

This exercise could be applied to anything really. But remember that thinking creatively is not pulling things out of thin air; it’s pulling things out of a different toolbox.

Ryan D. Cagle

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