Inside the Box, Outside the Lines

There are many metaphors that convey one of the basic dichotomies of life: that middle ground between routine and spontaneity.  The concept comes to to mind thus:  put your life into a neat little box that is familiar, known, manageable.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines and create something new.

This concept is equally applicable and examples abound at work, at home, and everywhere in between.  I think I counted a dozen examples in my own life just yesterday.

I’ve written about routine here recently. This topic is certainly something that is frequently on my mind: striving to be efficient, productive, responsive, and responsible, that’s the main goal.

The other side of the coin though is equally compelling; it offers the energy and excitement of the immediate need, and sometimes that particular spark that fosters creativity and inspiration, as well.  It breaks the routine, marches off in its own direction, responding to the demand of the moment, chasing the muse.

So how do we reconcile the two? I’m not entirely sure.  What I am absolutely sure of is that the two must co-exist. We’re much better off if we learn and accept and master the art of flipping between the two worlds.

The fundamental take-away?

Make the most of what’s inside your box, be able to very familiar with every item in the box, and be ready to paint the outside with colorful splashes from the rainbow when given the chance.

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