Be creative. Be brave.

To be creative, it’s sometimes essential to allow ourselves to think outside the box, to go beyond what are accepted norms or principles. And to do so fearlessly.

Allow me to present an analogy from professional sports. Shohei Ohtani is bringing to Major League Baseball something we haven’t seen in nearly a century: the ability to be both a top-notch pitcher and slugger.

But when I suggested the possibility of a player regularly assuming dual roles of pitching and hitting, my friends scoffed at me. Similarly, scouts and sports expected that Ohtani would essentially sacrifice his slugging talents for developing himself as a pitcher. But as it turns out, Ohtani has thrived as both a star pitcher and standout designated hitter, and is the most-recognized Major League player.

I bring this up because it points to a natural tendency we all have as humans. We have an instinct to resist change. To want things to be just the same. Conform, rather than think outside the box.

Why? It’s pretty simple. Conformity makes us feel secure. It brings short-term reassurance that our livelihoods – whether professional or otherwise – won’t be challenged.

But conformity also limits our inclincation to explore, look at things holistically, and imagine new possiblities. It can inhibit our desire to be creative.

Creativity can open new doors, and allow one to consider potential new opportunities. It can also bring a breath of fresh air and excitement to what we do and enjoy.

Being a non-conformist can make sometimes you feel like a sore thumb. In the case of Major League Baseball, sports writers didn’t really wax poetic about the excitement of a pitching and slugging combo until it became reality to mainstream fans. None of them wanted to look like a fool among their peers.

To be creative – and thereby bring forth potentially new opportunities and excitement in your life – you need to be brave.