My initial inspiration for this blog was when a recovering engineer I know said that he “thinks out of the box” when setting up video shoots. My initial thought was, “No you don’t, you just think from a different box.” Ta Da! A blog topic is born!
Shortly after that incident, I heard about a list of office buzzwords that drive people nuts. And our favorite was on the top of that list. I’ve blogged about buzzwords, it is in the Rant category, they do drive me nuts. And I really do despise “think out of the box.”
First off, how can I think from somewhere other than my own brain? Our thoughts, ideas, inspirations, and so on are all based on our experiences: what we do, what we learn, what our parents yell at us…. So everyone thinks differently because we all have a different box of experiences. The thing is that people in one profession tend to think a lot like each other because they’ve generally had a similar education. Why my engineer-turn-videographer friend does things differently from other videographers is because he’s got a totally different education to work from.
This one may sound as difficult as thinking outside of your own brain, but it’s not. If you want to have different types of thoughts, have different types of experiences. Talk to new people, try new foods, go to a different church, take the left instead of the right. Most importantly, be open.
When you open your mind to new things and expand your experience you give yourself new ways to look at a problem. When you look at a problem differently, you can come up with different answers. You’re still in your box, you’ve just given yourself more tools.
One of my biggest “aha!” moments was when I asked a training group if I had answered the right question. While their English was significantly better than my Korean, there was still a language barrier. When I opened myself to the possibility that I had not heard the question they were asking, I expanded my ability to do my job – explain the software to this group of people. That was a very handy tool.
At writing, the world has had a turbulent couple of years with more on the horizon. My small part of the world is starting to peek out of the pandemic box and hope that we won’t be slammed in again. With that, many are looking at how their lives used to be and deciding to make things different.
What box have you been living in that doesn’t really fit anymore? Personally, I’m seriously disinclined to put on a skirt or high heels. There are people who will not approve of this new approach to my wardrobe, to which I contend that I am living in my box and making it work for me. Other people’s problems are just that – other people’s.
A Word of Caution
Just because you’re experiencing new things and thinking new ways doesn’t mean you have to give up anything. There is no need to throw out your fundamental beliefs or opinions. The point is to expand on them, and maybe become a little more understanding of beliefs and opinions other than your own.
I am, and have always been, surround by people of VERY STRONG opinions. Luckily, I was also raised in an environment that valued different opinions and encouraged asking people to tell me more. I did not have to agree, but I did have to be polite.
All in all, I guess my advice is to be happy in your own brain. It is, after all, the only one you’ve got. No matter what shape it is – box, sphere, pyramid – you are not going to get out of it, so make it comfortable.