What Box? The Myth of Thinking Out of the Box.

By Chris Lott | Sales | 375 Views | 2 Comments    

What if I told you that to be successful meant to NOT recognize a box at all. That using previous experience, yours or others, meshed with new inspired thinking brought possibilities never imagined. That wrapping your mind around concepts totally free of limitations yet inspired by previous experience and knowledge is enlightened thinking. Let me explain.


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Out of The Box.

Below are two definitions for thinking outside the box. You are familiar with them both I’m sure.

“think outside the box – Fig. to think freely, not bound by old, nonfunctional, or limiting structures, rules, or practices. (As if thinking or creativity were confined in or limited by a figurative box. Compare this with think inside the box.) And then you have…

“You won’t come up with good ideas until you think outside the box. Let’s think outside the box for a minute and try to find a better solution.”

Source – McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

I take issue with both definitions. To believe that “rules or practices” aren’t needed even if they are perceived as “limiting” is naive. “Good ideas” have been designed and promoted successfully based on previous wisdom for eons. Because of this, I contend that there should not be a box at all.

“People who refer to out-of-the-box see the box … People who don’t know the box even exists are the innovative thinkers.” ― Lisa Goldenberg

No Box Creative Revelations.

First, There really aren’t any “limiting structures” unless you use them to limit yourself. Previous inspiration can cause unlimited new possibilities if you’re open to them.

My sales quiz is an example of this in some way. Recently, a co-worker took my test to see where she would score as a sales professional. After doing so she came to me confused. “There were old school answers and some new ideas as well. What are you trying to accomplish?” My answer was that I base my scoring on both. To see if the candidate understood underlying “tried-and-true” principles that inspired my new concepts. I had not tried to think out of the box but proceeded with no box. The quiz has and is a success with what I think are enlightened creative ideas.

I suggest that getting “good ideas” by restricting yourself to outside the box is in many ways also a box. Ultimately your good ideas will have to work hand-in-hand with other solutions or compete against other products. Researching and application can also be defined as a box in many ways and puts this whole out of the box idea in jeopardy.

For me, a no box solution path makes the best sense. Restricting your ideas to out of the box is just that, a restriction. No box, creative revelation with a basic core understanding is the answer.

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Chris Lott has this crazy creative side that motivates him to design websites and write articles. He's a disruptive technologist and is passionate about sales, family, and anything related to technology. See what others are saying about his work!.


2 thoughts on “What Box? The Myth of Thinking Out of the Box.

  1. Nice article Chris, All of us begin outside the box how we travel from there creates the box. The box does exists in the minds of many, although some – see everyone else in it, some can’t survive out of it, and the rest believe there is a secret door to escape from it. I believe there is a trap door to the box which opens and consumes those who become complacent. It’s never about thinking out of the box it’s about functioning out of the box.

    • Well put Raymond. I like the “trap door” analogy with “functioning” being a critical component.

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