A Box of Obstacles

There are days I feel like a fake.  I pick up a paintbrush and cannot find a creative thought. I sit down, pen in hand, and my mind becomes a jumble of disconnected thoughts.  I often wonder if I am just pretending to be an artist or a writer.  We often hear the cliché telling us that we have to “Step out of the box”. How often do we hear the catchphrase imploring us to “Get out of our comfort zone”. We hear it and say yes, that sounds good but it is not easy.

What is this box I’m in?  

Have I buried my creativity in a box of my own making? Will it help if we define the “box” that stifles our creativity? Is this the obstacle we need to overcome if we want our creative juices to flow?

I have made myself a very comfortable box. Inside its walls I am safe, but, while I am safe, I am unproductive. The walls of the box are all the things that are the obstacles to my creativity.

in a box

don’t let negative self-talk hold you back 

My walls are easy to define. Lack of confidence, fear of rejection and lots of negative self-talk all of which lead to procrastination.  Do I get busy with other things so that I don’t have to face that fear of failure? Everyone’s box looks a little different, but the need to step out is essential if we want to get creative.

What makes up your box?

I believe the first step toVan Gogh overcoming our  obstacles is to realize that we are all creative beings. I hear so many people say “oh, I am not creative” but this is untrue. We are born creative, that is what makes us human. We are creative thinkers. Slowly, perhaps in our early childhood years, we allowed ourselves to be boxed in. Perhaps a teacher criticized our artwork or our writing, maybe we compared ourselves to our friends. If we tell ourselves we are not creative, it becomes our own truth. We believe the lie and our box is fortified.

How do we get out of the box?

How do we tear down the sides? How do we rip off the top of the box and climb out?

  1. Stepping out of the box takes courage. We need to change our definition of failure. If we do our best and learn along the way, we have not failed, even if the outcome is not what we envisioned. I have to remind myself that I am a work in progress and each time I pick up a brush and apply paint to the canvass, I am learning and improving.
  2. Stepping out of the box involves taking a challenge, a risk. We must not take the easy route. If we keep on doing the same things, we will always get the same results and remain inside our safe little box. We must be prepared to make mistakes.
  3. Stepping out of the box often means we have to get out of our comfort zone. We need a new approach. I really enjoy painting with acrylics, but I wanted to get out of that comfort zone so I took a class in watercolour painting and found I loved it and it gave me a new way to be creative.
  4. Stepping out of the box means we have to stifle the negative self-talk. No more “I am just not creative” or “I am no good at it”. Replace those negative phrases with “Yes I can” and “I love a challenge”.
  5. Stepping out of the box means we have to move, we have to take action. Perhaps we feel we are not ready, we are uncertain of what we are supposed to do, so we wait. We claim we are too busy to write and we put it off.  (insert your favorite excuse here).We have to stop making excuses. Procrastination is our worst enemy. We avoid starting a project because we are uncertain of the outcome or we think it is too hard. Often taking that first step is the hardest.


Pick up the paintbrush or write that first paragraph and you will be halfway out of the box you created. Stepping out of your box is a vital if you want to be true to yourself and live your life to your fullest potential.


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