Think outside the box

The phrase “think outside the box” isn’t native to Russia and we don’t have a native phrase embodying the same idea as we so often do with other colloquialisms.

I liked its meaning, even more so after reading what Miki wrote a decade ago. With her permission, I combined it with a follow-up post and condensed them a bit. (If you are a purist, I’ve included links to the originals.)


image source: here

Here is Miki’s theory about boxes.

Everybody has a box.

And no matter how hard you try you’ll never really think outside it.

Anyway, it’s not the box that matters, but its size.

Steve Jobs’ and Steven Spielberg’s boxes are immense, far larger than most, yet they both continue to enlarge them.

A It’s not about encouraging your people to “think outside the box,” but about helping each to understand their own box and how to enlarge it.nd therein lays one of the secrets of a creative organization.

Use up your box’s content, find its sides, move beyond them, a new box forms and the process begins again. Because that’s how it works—each time you move outside your box, a new one forms.

If you work at it, this process continues throughout your life—although some never start it and some get comfortable in a certain box and retain it.

There will always be a box, but with effort you can enlarge it enough to encompass galaxies—and even entire universes.

It’s all yours for the choosing. (Here’s the original; it has some interesting comments.)

The second part was written in response to comments about box replacement. –Ed.

This isn’t about replacement or boxes within boxes, it’s about expansion. Everything that existed in the old box continues to exist, but new dimensions are added, because the box is larger.

And it especially isn’t about ‘using up’ what’s in your box, it’s about choosing to explore beyond what’s known and/or comfortable—but it’s OK if you don’t.

We all push our boundaries as we grow, it happens through experience and just plain living—and we’re not even conscious of doing it.

Some enjoy consciously pushing back their boundaries in evolutionary ways, exploring new areas a bit at a time. Still others take a revolutionary approach and willingly leap into the unknown, not knowing where they will land or if they’ll survive. Very scary—but the unknown has always been scary.

Most of us combine all three types, with ascendancy changing depending on what’s happening in our personal world—as well as the larger world.

What needs to be understood is that the person who leaps into the unknown is not intrinsically more valuable than the person whose box enlarges incrementally through their own life experiences.

All three types, along with their almost infinite combinations, are necessary for life, and Life, to continue on our planet.

Look at any list of great innovators and think of all the people who enhanced/changed/added to the original ideas; then add on all the lives involved, one way or another, with these ideas.

Each has value within their own world—what is different is the size of the innovators’ worlds, hence the perception of higher value.

Not all of us want/can change the world, but each of us can take care of/improve our little bit of it.

As for me, I’d hate to live in a world where all the little bits were a mess because everybody was out changing the whole. (Original post)

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