You know you’ve heard it. In EVERY corporation and in EVERY problem solving meeting, there is someone saying, “Yeah, well, we just have to think OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.” Meanwhile, you’re probably thinking, “Shut up, will ya? I soooo hate catch phrases!”
Catch phrases start out with such noble intentions but somewhere along the way, they get overused and lose their power to some degree. However, that doesn’t make them any more or less true. Overuse doesn’t automatically mean incorrect. The reality is that many of us are inside the box. We’re there because that’s where we’re most comfortable. We’re there because that’s where things work, or so we believe. We’re there, maybe, because we’re a bit nervous about what’s “outside of the box”.
I was walking in my neighborhood a few mornings ago and came upon a house that had two dogs. As soon as I got to the yard, the two dogs came charging at me pretty aggressively, barking and yipping pretty loudly. There was no physical fence but I didn’t flinch a bit. You see, I’d walked by this house before and was in the neighborhood when the owners had an “Invisible Fence” installed. The dogs come running up to this fence and when they get close, their collars emit a sound that they can hear, a sound which has trained them that this was the barrier. In some cases, a slight zap is administered as a reminder. But, what if the dogs decided that they were going to brave the sound and the zap? What if they decided that they were going to run past the barrier as far as they could go? If they could put up with the sound for a while, they could probably go as far as they wanted, right? I’m not a dog or even an electric fence expert, but if they make up their minds that they are going to go past the fence, there is really nothing that could stop them. It’s really about creating a new story, one that makes it possible to go past the fence.
Many people have invisible fences and just act according to the rules of the fence. That’s not good or bad. But, just realize that there is more. How do you get beyond the fence?
1. Get focused
What is it that you are focused on accomplishing? Imagine this thing without imagining the “how”. YOu can deal with that later. Right now, what are you committed to and where do you have to go to get it?
2. Get inspired
Who else has accomplished something ridiculous? What does their story look like? What barriers did they face? Oh, we ALL have barriers that we face believe it or not. Surrounding yourself with the idea that IT IS POSSIBLE just makes it that much more clear that you can accomplish things that were once thought to be impossible. At some point in history, someone definitely thought that Christopher Columbus was going to fall off the edge of the earth.
3. Get silly
I run a couple of Facebook groups about goal setting and accomplishment. One of our challenges was to complete a journey while walking backwards. Most of us would never attempt this on a regular day. But, kids do this all the time. They’re not afraid of looking silly. We ended up having at least 5 people in our group accomplish this because they gave up the story of looking silly and being embarrassed. Sometimes, you have to get a bit silly. In fact, I would say do it MOST times.
4. Get creative
I walked into an office the other day and there was a training room. Inside of the training room, the owners had walls made of dry erase material all around. The idea was that whenever an Idea hit, people could immediately just map it on the wall without worrying whether or not they were in the right place. They were able to pop their most creative ideas right on to the wall. When are you most creative? In the shower? While exercising? While listening to music? Find that time and then find a way to get those ideas out.
5. Get mixed up
You go to work the same way. You walk down the same hallway. You sit at the same desk, drinking the same coffee, eating the same bagel and switching on the same computer. Throw a wrench in sometimes. If you have a laptop, take it down the hallway and work from a bench in the lobby for 30 minutes. Get yourself into a place where you can think differently. Add some difference to your day. Work standing up. Do something different.
6. Get together
I’m saying get together, but I really mean get together with someone who is outside of the box themselves. If you are already burnt, getting together with another burnt person doesn’t spark any new fire. If you need energy, get together with energy. If you need creativity, get together with creativity. If you need bold, get together with bold. The world is a wonderful place and there are so many awesome people. There are so many possibilities when we get together. When you get together with someone different, things just have a way of flowing.
I found an article on Lifehack that shares another 11 ways to think outside the box.
You just finished reading – 6 Gets To Get You Out Of The Box.