Thinking Outside the Box
I suppose “the box” exists for a reason. Intrinsically, to direct our focus during childhood to learning the skills needed for successfully being human. Extrinsically, to teach us the accepted standards of society — to teach us how to get along without disrupting the carefully-constructed balance.
To give a sense of comfort and belonging. To align thought patterns and lubricate socioeconomic interaction.
There are many boxes of all shapes and sizes, and they are ours to transcend.
One of these is the box of socially agreed-upon values, or “common sense.” It helps us all get along fairly well without too many unexpected disruptions, but we have to recognize its limiting effects as well. We should all be looking for ways to break out of it and see who we really are.
If you agree with Muhammad Ali that impossible is nothing, I invite you to consider the box for a moment:
You can’t break out of it without thinking something new.
You can’t think something new until you break out of it.
From that perspective, it is impossible to think outside the box — until you think outside of it. If all that infinity is making your head hurt, that’s because this is the wrong approach.
It’s really quite simple:
There is no box.
No “impossible problem.”
Ali wouldn’t have tried the same thing a bunch of times and called it impossible, he would hone his skills, progress, and if it still didn’t work, I’m sure he’d change his perspective.
The not-so-secret secret is that breaking out of the box, AKA thinking for yourself, specifically means allowing yourself to entertain new perspectives and consider their validity.
If you’re afraid to question something, then do you really have much faith in it? If you question it and it really is true, it won’t change. If you question it and it does change, then you’ve replaced your conditioned untruth with truth!
Here’s the brutally honest part: with the exception of a genuine lack of knowledge — or a fear of the unknown — a lengthy synonym for “the box” is a perceived moral obligation to uphold a certain belief to the extent that you refuse to entertain new perspectives.
That is the number one way to never understand people, especially those with the most polarizing views — those who we’re most likely to butt heads with in the first place.
This keeps us all in our boxes. Zero progress. Yet another example of closed-mindedness perpetuating itself via our insecurities.
Trust your intuition. If you do your best to step into another person’s perspective without bias, you’ll know whether or not it aligns with you — whether or not it feels right.
Opening your mind doesn’t mean having no values, it means checking your list of values to expand it, trim it, improve it and really unlock your true potential.
Don’t feel bad to think, think and see if it feels bad.
We’re all changing anyway — or at least we should be — so you might as well customize yourself and put on all those sweet aftermarket parts that make you unique and awesome, not to mention way more functional.
So, the next time someone asks why you’re so good at thinking outside of the box, there’s really only one answer: