Thinking Inside And Outside The Box

From Psychology Today:

Whenever I hear people say that they “think outside the box” I cringe, because I have rarely heard folks who are genuinely creative so describe themselves. I also am suspicious because I hear these people saying – and here I may be unfair in some cases – that one need not know what is well-accepted.

As a teacher, I want my students to know what is inside the box. This is not because I am a defender of the academic or intellectual status quo. It is because knowing what is inside the box is the only way to get outside the box in a useful way once the basics are mastered.

Psychologists who study prodigious accomplishments, in science, music, or art, speak about the 10,000-hour rule, meaning that in order to do something notable in some field, one must devote 10,000+ hours to mastering the discipline in question. Practice, practice, and practice, weedhopper, and appreciate that much of this practice needs to be done inside the box.

There always seems to be this tension between knowing enough that you can really appreciate a potential leap or breakthrough when you see it but at the same time not knowing so much that you get mentally fixated by conventional thinking and become a mere parrot!

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein

Picture credit here.


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