To Think Outside The Box, First Get a Box.

In this episode/article combo, we'll take a quick look at how to power-up your creative output by dedicating a metaphorical "box" to your most important goals and projects.

This is a Big Idea that comes from a great book called "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp, who's recognized as one of modern history's greatest choreographers... Safe to say she's got more a few knowledge-bombs to share on the topic of creativity. And today, we'll discuss one of my own personal favorites.

Click the Play button to listen to the podcast-version, or scroll down to read an excerpt from the FlashBooks book summary.

The creative habit

Every new artist/entrepreneur/professional is challenged to be original and go where no one else has gone before.

However, in order to think outside the box, you need to understand what the box is like in the first place.

Twyla takes this lesson in creative thinking one step farther by beginning every new project with, well, an actual box!

Before she does any work on the dance floor, she opens up a fresh new cardboard box, and starts filling it with anything and everything that feels like it has a connection to the project and/or could pose as inspiration for her creative efforts for that specific project. 

In fact, starting a box often begins long before a project is thought up and instead becomes a place to store the inspiration she collects throughout her life. This relieves the worry about forgetting important details later and helps her to find inspiration for new project ideas when she needs it.

You don’t need to use a literal box for storing your creative ideas, but Twyla recommends it.

Having a real box creates a tangible way to sort your ideas, work through them and create something inspirational in the process. Just as a writer can work faster when his ideas are well sorted, it’s easier to come up with creative ideas when you have the resources for inspiration directly in front of you.    

Actionable insightS

  • No matter what your goal for creative thinking is, it’s important to put it in writing (or inside of a box.) Doing this solidifies it in your brain and makes it easier to look back at, keep track of, or enhance if your idea/project needs to be adjusted in the process. 
  • Do this now: if you've got an idea in your head right now that you have not given a dedicated space to -- a box, notebook, folder, file, or anything else -- then get one and get started now... 
  • Even if it means writing down your idea on a single piece of paper, and tossing it into a manila folder -- DO IT! I've done this before myself, and been amazed at what happens when I allocate a dedicated space for my ideas/goals/projects to bloom and grow. 
  • If you put your ideas on hold, you'll end up regretting it. Guaranteed... So, don't live a life of regret, live like you give a damn. 

Notes + references


The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it For Life by Twyla Tharp

Dean Bokhari

Best_Self_Improvement_Podcasts_Dean Bokhari_on_Apple_Podcasts

"Dean Bokhari's Meaningful Show is the Self-Improvement Podcast I've been waiting for. It's actionable, inspiring, and BS-Free." —Brett Silo

Best-selling Self-development courses by Dean Bokhari

Kill procrastination.


Get stuff done.


Get motivated.

Month of Motivation by Dean Bokhari

Connect with anyone.


Top Audiobooks narrated by Dean Bokhari on audible

Book summaries

Read or Listen to top Self-Help + Business Book Summaries in 20 Minutes or Less.

Try 1 Week for $1 »


Read or Listen to 2 Premium Summaries for Free »

get notified when we publish new episodes