When was the last time you thought out of the box?
Last week, while my three year old daughter Rosanne was playing with her toys, I overheard her saying,” Let’s take the plane to grandma Jannie”. You must know my mom lives 20 kilometers / 15 miles away so taking the car might be a bit more convenient to get there. But for Rosanne the possibility of taking a flight, together with her favorite toys, to go to her grandma was a real possibility, a possibility we adults will no longer consider as a real option. For children unlimited possibilities exists as they think out of the box.
Over time, when we grow up, we get conditioned by what people teach us: our parents, the teachers at school, our friends and the culture we live in. We get rewarded for the things we do well, we get punished if our behavior isn’t in line with what people expect from us. We learn to accept certain assumptions as facts and the truth; the only truth. We learn to think with what we know, not with what we don’t know.
During this conditioning process we gradually loose our innocence as a child and our ability to naturally think out of the box; thinking of all the unlimited possibilities what may be available to us. After time, as adults, when we face a problem, we look with our conditioned mind only at the possibilities we know can work for us, not at all the other options that may be available. Unless we relearn to think out of the box we may not see that “taking the plane to grandma Jannie” may be a real possibility, maybe the only option available given the situation that is at hand.
Thinking out of the box
I think that the best definition for thinking out of the box is that it allows you to think, and feel, as a child who has unlimited possibilities and options available to him. Thinking out of the box isn’t that difficult: All you have to do is to learn to be creative again. Use your imagination and allow yourself to have dreams. Do not limit yourself to the most obvious options available when you face a problem, but consider all possibilities, how strange they may seem at the time. Your best ideas will come to you when you think out of the box. Some problems cannot be solved with reason and logic only, but need the innocence and creativity of a child.
Think of it for a while. How do you think that the world most famous inventions came into being? Did their inventors thought inside or outside of the box? Would commercial flights exist if the Wright brothers didn’t dream of taking to the skies and only listened to their conditioned mind; saying that flying cannot be done? Would taking a plane to grandma Jannie be an option for them?
Be creative, use your imagination, think as a child and think out of the box. When you do you will see the world through the eyes of a child. Unlimited possibilities exists and are available to you. Nothing is impossible. Isn’t that great?