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Jack Out-of-the-Box. Monday October 17, 2016

Monday is the day I focus on creativity - or 'cre8ivity' as I like to call it!

Many of us creatives believe that the metaphor of "thinking outside the box" actually comes from the famous Nine Dots exercise. In this exercise, all nine dots - equidistant on the page - can be joined with four, straight, consecutive lines.

!!!Spoiler Alert!!!

If you've never done the exercise, have a look your daily email and see if you can solve the 'problem' without the clues that follow.

Jack in the Box?

I think it's time for many of us to Jack in the Box we've been living in.

This might be a job.
It might be a relationship.
It might be a limiting belief.
But before we jump, let's think about 'Jack Out-of-the-Box'!

Solving the Nine Dots Puzzle requires you to extend the straight lines beyond the boundaries of the 'invisible' grid or box that the nine dots appear to represent. They are an artificial constraint for most people. The 'box' is imagined, not real. The rules and restrictions are invented. I'm sure you can see where this is going!

The key to the solution is to challenge the variables - the negotiables.

Non-negotiables are that the lines have to be straight, consecutive (i.e. pen or pencil remains in contact with the paper and there are no breaks in the lines), and there have to be four of them that join all nine dots. Just about everything else is negotiable!

This means the length of the lines, the size of the dots, the width of the line, the 'size' of the frame - all these are negotiable.

Now is the time for the deep bit...

There are very few non-negotiables in your life.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:10am

THANK YOU LEX for getting me thinking. Visually too, my preferred learning style. You are so, so good. And sharing.

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:26am

Thanks, Sally... can't wait to here which negotiables you challenge and move on from. I can hear the spring releasing now... boiiiinnng!

Lou Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:17am

What an excellent thought-provoking blog, Lex. This is the same as I keep being told that I *do* have choices, it is noticing they are there and what I am actually choosing. Thanks for getting me thinking!


Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:32am

You're so welcome, Lou. I'm passionate about this whole message of more is changeable than we sometimes allow ourselves to think. Ch.. ch... ch... changes, so says, Mr Bowie!

LP Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:39am

Hi Lex,
This puzzle seems so familiar, yet I haven' t solved it, like so many challenges, the familiar stuff can make us feel as stuck as the unexpected! Apart from a way out of the box solution, like a big fat sloshy paintbrush :) I can't see it at the moment, but will have a play later!
I have a self imposed box that restricts me from going on a daily walk, for excersise, fresh air and the lovely connection with nature. It sounds something like " Not until you've finished x...... whoops, it's to dark and uninviting out there now!". It's a lovely sunny autumnal day in London, a real blessing of a morning. Will remember yor blog after work today and see what happens boxwise!
Thanks Les! Sending wishes for a sense of freedom out to all today. Love LPx

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:49am

LillyPet... jump out of that box! Enjoy a day filled with freedom x

Tutti Frutti Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 9:29am

LP I think the big thick paint brush probably is an OK solution. Pretty similar to making the dots bigger really which Lex definitely said was allowed.

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 10:58am

It's a 'perfect' solution, Tutti Frutti... LP has triumphed!

Eva Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 6:53am

Hi LP don't know if this is possible for you, but I work for an hour or so and then nip out for a 5 min walk around the block, and repeat... The fresh air is so good. Sometimes I do a 2 hr work stint and then go further afield, get messages etc. It's a shift, but once you are in the habit of breaking up the day it's easy. I also find it a great way to gage how I am doing, for example am I lethargic because of sitting too long inside or am I actually tired... I often work this out while walking and then can take appropriate action. Hope this helps :)

Eva Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 6:57am

Oh I forgot to say that I use a timer on my phone, when that buzzer goes I get up and change state!

LP Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 7:32am

Hi Eva, I hadn't thought of doing it that way. I use my phone to record how far 'e walked, calories etc, so it'd be easy to use it to build breaks in. I often push myself too hard for too long. Great tip, thank you! LP x

Lex Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:34am

Hi Eva and LP... I hope you'll get this as it is several days on, but I wanted to mention a gorgeous android app that my lady in the wool shop has: I think it's called "Mindbell" - and just rings when you decide it's the right time to change state!

Andrew Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 9:04am

Another great blog Lex! The only non-negotiables of which I am aware are Death and the Taxman - and the latter has its moot points!

Have a cre8tive Monday Moodscopers!

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 10:59am

Excellent, Andrew... I like your non-negoiables and am up for challenging even those two fearsome beasties! Cre8ing joy, you are!

Tutti Frutti Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 9:44am

Lex I tend to get a bit of tunnel vision on what I have decided I am doing and proceed with plenty of determination (usually my highest positive card on the test) but I don't pause to check that what I am doing is still the right thing often enough.

For example I initially trained as a teacher and my focus went on passing the course, getting a job, getting through the first year without really questioning whether it was the right thing to do at any stage. The result that I was miserable for 2.5 years and my pupils didn't learn as much as they should have done. On a more minor scale I got equally obsessed about trying to find a way to cook my daughter chicken nuggets for her birthday party one year despite having a broken oven when the obvious thing was to explain that this year she'd need to have sandwiches.

I find your think outside the box message pretty difficult but I do definitely need to build in some times to step back and evaluate what I am doing.
Love TF x

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 11:01am

Hey Tutti Frutti, you're allowed a tiny venture outside the box - you and I don't have to change everything at once. Some of the negotiables are pretty cool just as they are even if we could change them - we might not want to. However, there will be something tiny today that you'd secretly love to change. Let's start with that. There was a lovely definition of 'rebellion' I once heard and took to immediately: "my father told me to sit down and shut up but I was standing up on the inside... and shouting!" Vive le Rebellion!

Wyvern Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 12:13pm

I am trying to go with the thought for the day that came with the email: Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box. It speaks to the creative side of me that often gets forgotten about.
Why does it have to be four straight lines? I recently saw some suggested solutions for this puzzle that included one great big scribbly wavy line that eventually went through them all, and one that had a massive felt pen that was wide enough to encompass the whole square at once. YES!! I thought, why does it have to be that rule ... why not have a rule that asks for the most creative way of joining the dots with a single line, and accepts all answers, whether spiky, wavy, or just sheer blatant!!?

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 3:06pm

Hi Wyvern, you are well ahead of the crowd there... when we do this on the Creativity workshop, I wink at the participants and say, "And now you can do it in 3 lines..." Then, "You can do it in 2..." Finally, "You can do it in 1." Result!!!

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 3:08pm

So, my point is to use this as a metaphor for challenging everything... and you've got to that outcome. Personally, I'm a fan of the box because it's a reference point. If we're too far removed from people's parameters, there's often too much discontinuity for them to take action. It's too much discomfort. I like to be just outside the box... on the edge!

Lexi Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 12:50pm

Great post Lex. Lately I have taken to Plato's famous quote "necessity is the mother of invention" and it has been amazing how looking at things in a different light can create a new outcome! It is helping me get out of the rut I have found myself in. xo Lexi

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 3:09pm

Hi Lexi, I love your Platonic quote! xo Lex!

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 3:09pm

And now, time for some Frank Zappa!

Eva Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 7:02am

The muffin man says do not eat the yellow snow

Lex Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:36am

Damn those huskies...

Brum Mum Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 7:03pm

So apt. When I revised my non-negotiables including relationships and values and made them negotiable. It has totally changed my life andi'm a lot happier for it. Sage advice, Lex ????

Brum Mum Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 7:05pm

Wasn't a question mark. Was a :)

Lex Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 8:17pm

Oh, I'd LOVE to be a Sage, Dear Brum Mum... I suspect a few more lifetimes to go yet! Even the hint is exciting, so, "Thank you!"

the room above the garage Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 12:22am

Oh I am ashamed of myself!!!
I learned that I am even more impatient than I thought! It frustrated the hell out of me until I googled the image. Now I feel like a complete fraud!! I love it and I love the message underneath this blog, thank you lovely. Now I need to have a word with myself! Love ratg x.

LP Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 7:37am

Way too hard on yourself ratg!!! To have a go until you're baffled then look at the solution is what we're supposed to do! Most important is the fun, hun! LPxx

Eva Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 7:06am

Thanks Lex I puzzled over this for a while and then asked my H if he'd ever done this, he suggested one thick line through the middle and then we worked out an out of the box solution with four consecutive lines. I like to think outside the box but I am not great at it, however my husband is, so I go to him for alternative solutions regularly and then opt for the one I like the best. Thanks for the visual I think this will stay with me.

Lex Thu, Oct 20th 2016 @ 8:37am

What a team! Glad to hear you resolved the challenge together.

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