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Sola Amadi: Break Limitations & Find Freedom by Colouring Outside the Lines

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Colouring books have pages of lines and shapes that are meant to be coloured using crayons, coloured pencils, paint, etc. Children are often instructed to colour within the outlines of the image because it is believed that colouring within the lines not only gets them good grades, they also gain better hand-eye coordination, develop fine motor skills, builds focus, discipline and resolve, enhanced concentration and staying power.

Life is a colouring book.

It’s like being in a class test session and handed a piece of paper with a square box drawn on it, you are also handed a packet of crayons and asked to start colouring. But there’s one rule you must follow: colour inside the lines. That’s the only way you win. Now, the problem is that everyone is doing the same thing as you – colouring the inside of the box, and there’s nothing unique or outstanding about that.

Life is not designed to be that way. If one is ever to come up with something unique and spectacular, there is a need to stretch out and colour outside that square box. We are often conditioned from childhood to follow the straight and narrow path laid out for us – never stray, never take a detour, any deviation of any sort is often frowned upon, and even have penalties meted out to ensure that we stick with the program. Conventional rules are good to a large extent. However, considering the world we currently live in where numerous challenges and questions are begging for solutions and answers, we cannot afford to confine ourselves to the regular, conventional reasoning.

You must be willing to explore different and alternative ways. This means that you have to break free from the limitations placed on you by those lines. These limitations exist through the culture, environment, education, or religion you may find yourself in. The answers you need usually do not lie within but way beyond those lines that you are often restricted to. That is why you have to constantly think outside the box. The essence of colouring outside the lines is that it is by stretching outside the lines of limitations that creativity is unleashed. That way, you are exposed to countless possibilities of solving any issues and even discovering new things hitherto unknown. Powerful solutions to problems are found when we break out and explore possibilities outside of our stated frames of reference and also when we are bold enough to ask questions that probe and examine rules that bind and guide our lives.

A person who colours outside the lines is willing to question the traditional norms of the environment they find themselves. They are often deemed as non-conformists, innovative and creative thinkers who look for and derive meanings through a different thought process. 

You also need to know that you cannot colour outside the lines – that is, break the conventional rules – if you have not learned to play by the rules. There has to be a form of mastery of the rules before you can break them.

When we were kids, we were told to colour within the lines. However, we were not encouraged to colour as we want, and with the paints that we choose. The grass always had to be green but it can be purple or pink – as far as our imaginations can go.

Life is a blank canvas that every day of our lives colour. To a very large extent, we make the choices of how we want it to be. It is our choice, our daily decisions, that determine what the final picture will be at the end of our lives. Colouring outside the lines creates freedom.


Photo by nappy from Pexels

Sola Amadi is a strategic communications professional and writer. She is passionate about personal development, leadership and strategic management. A #girlmom of three gorgeous daughters, she is curious, open to new experiences as well as a lover of books, music and art. You can follow her blog on and connect with on instagram @sola.amadi.