Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thinking outside of the box

~The Logical Song ~ Supertramp~  

Thinking outside the box has become somewhat of a cliché, hasn’t it? I’ve heard it used often and have wondered where the term originated from and what the true meaning is. 

For as long as I remember, it has been a saying that I am rather fond of since I perceive myself as a creative thinker and can definitely relate to the saying. 

What does it mean?

It isn’t known who was actually the first person to use the term, but after some research, I’ve found an early example of the phrase:  Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 1975: "We must step back and see if the solutions to our problems lie outside the box."

According to Wikipedia, “The term is thought to derive from management consultants in the 1970's and 1980's challenging their clients to solve the "nine dots" puzzle, whose solution requires some lateral thinking.”

No wonder I think and analyze everything to death the way I do . . . I worked for a business management professor who was also a management consultant for over 20 years . . . and raised by a family who asked the question “what if” about everything.

It occurs to me that “the box” signifies traditional ways of thinking. However, like the term “normal” . . . who is the judge of what the definition is or how either is measured?

What is 
outside of the box for me, may be “normal” for another person . . . or the other way around. It all has to do with the perception of what conceptual constraints of creative thinking are . . . thinking “inside the box” and accepting the status quo.

To me, thinking outside the box is all about creative thinking and pondering a situation in a different way, like through a different set of eyes.  Since knowing The Captain, I realize he has influenced and is changing the way I think . . . the difference being positive vs. negative thinking whether it is creative thinking or not.  The major change being perception.

Seems to me that the way we think is a learned thing whether it is inside or outside of the box, which is why there are different perspectives for different people. Throwing emotions into the situation can make it a complicated mess!


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