New Years Resolution #1: Obliterate the Box

There’s been a lot of talk around here lately (in my head) about thinking outside the box. After one particularly lively conversation with my cerebrum, I realized I was way too focused on the box itself and not focused enough on those outer edges I’m so desperate to reach.  Solution? Obliterate.

That’s kind of always my solution.  I’m working on that resolution too.

I really don’t know yet how I’m going to accomplish this and I’m praying it’s a lot easier than it sounds.  The idea is to stop considering the idea of the box and just consider. Consider endless possibilities.  Really accept that I am capable of going there, wherever there is.  Some steps I’m considering taking:

1. Obliterate the comfort zone.

Like… start taking pictures of strangers.  Well, ask strangers if I can take their picture is more like it. Most artists go through this phase (except for the exceptionally outgoing ones) where they realize the next step is starting to let strangers in, which means accepting rejection from time to time.  Yikes.  Must I?

Or the photo at the top for example. It’s not really anything, but for some reason it tickled my embarrassment button, therefore pushing it outside my comfort zone.  I’ve never been particularly comfortable with self portraits that fancy themselves artsy, so perhaps I need to do some more of those, too.

But I also mean doing something like writing a poem.  I don’t enjoy poems and I like to say they’re just not my thing, but how well could I really know that if I don’t attempt it at least once. Really, really attempt it.

2. Do it differently. 

Have you ever noticed how interesting something can be if you just completely change the way you do it?  Keep reading that paragraph over and over again?  Flip the book upside down and try to read it that way.  Talk about refocusing.  Or maybe you’re an illustrator stuck in a rut.  Draw it upside down or sideways instead. Or in crayon.  Maybe you feel just a little stuck on all fronts and you need a quick spin in your office chair.

It’s one thing to find the idea amusing, it’s another to actually practice it.  Are you sitting in an office chair now?  Spin in it. Have a pencil near by? Draw an eyeball with your left hand. Go!  Which leads me to:

3. Don’t hesitate.

I realize a lot of my funks have been brought on by hesitation which almost always leads to me saying “nah, forget it” or just getting so side tracked by my thoughts that I forget to do it entirely.  (Anyone who has ever sent me an email can attest to this).

I want to live a hesitation-free life.  I’m pretty sure we know within the first 5 seconds after a decision has been brought before us of whether or not we want to, could do or would do something.  So just go with it.  Mistakes need to be made in order to grow, so not all decisions need to be winners.

Awesome, another segue:

4. Own, accept and appreciate mistakes.

We say it all the time: learn from your mistakes.  But as adults we tend to try and avoid mistakes, and often at a cost.  I’m ready to start letting go of perfection and success in order to accept that my mistakes might just lead me to those very things.  I think I’ve spent too much time fixing and not enough time learning.

5. Keep a journal.

Ugh. I know. I hate this on lists, too. It’s so obvious, right?  Every single boost-your-creativity blog post, book, seminar, whatever-the-hell insists that we keep a daily journal and that it will boost our creative energy.  I used to keep one every single day.  I don’t any more and I feel myself in a funk.

So maybe this should actually be: 5. If people keep saying something over and over and over again, maybe you should DO IT.

Or simply: 5. Duh.

6. Take at least 30 minutes every day to accept challenges, both small and large.

I’m talking start really working on my life list, or doodle in my 642 Things to Draw Book that I’ve been neglecting, conquer this list from the Happiness Project, or stand on my head.  I don’t care.  Just take the time to really focus on a challenge.  Really acknowledge it and enjoy it.

7. Stop thinking about the goddamn box.

Ok, that’s probably going to be hard.  But I do want to proactively think about where the lines of this so-called box might be and then really consider what might live right outside it.

So, what’s one of your resolutions this year?  

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