Some More Thinking Inside the Box. Part 3

3.  Limitations inspire creativity.

I think, commonly, when people speak of “thinking outside the box,”  they really mean the ability to think creatively despite the limitations. So, there is not really a disagreement between “thinking outside of the box” and “thinking inside the box.” However, the point here is that creativity comes from focusing on one’s limitations instead of seeking to transcend them without understanding them.

As I have mentioned before… the engineering design trinity is QUALITY, ECONOMY, and SPEED. One can have two out of three but not all three. One standard must be lower than the other two. Economy (cost) and Speed (time) and quality (meeting performance criteria) are constraints… walls in a sense. Creativity lies in the careful balance of meeting the constraints.

We see this especially in the creative arts. Painting is the use of colors on (commonly) canvas. All sorts of creative “tricks” are needed to display three dimensional scenes in 2-dimensional paints. And when one seeks to go beyond that which is thought of as “real” the challenges become even greater. Yet those same limits may actually be assisted in showing the impossible.

In oral media (storytelling) or in written literature, the challenge is equally great. How does one draw people into a story they cannot see and have not experienced. The limitations of the media, however, often can add to the overall story. I collect old-time radio programs. In radio media, the lack of images often enhance rather than detract from the story.

Truthfully, if one had all the time in the world… all of the funding in the world… and all of the space and material resources to create… most of us would create nothing.

Thinking outside of the box requires a firm understanding of the actual limits of the constraints, and appreciation of those constraints, and an understanding how these constraints can be overcome (in some cases) and even utilized at times.

In missions, there are lots of constraints. Rather than thinking outside the box… let’s appreciate the boxes we are in. Once we understand our constraints, we should be open to utilizing them and growing with them and allowing them to inspire our creativity.



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