Making the World More Understandable

Category Archives: Words

My thoughts and comments on the building blocks of the English language.

There is No “Out of the Box,” Why to Enjoy the Box You Think From

There is No “Out of the Box,” Why to Enjoy the Box You Think From

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.”

What Box?

It’s a perfectly nice box, why leave?

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.

Think Different?

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.

Other Boxes

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

Want to expand your box? Go have an adventure!

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.

-Lorrie Nicoles

Emphasis on the Wrong Syllable, English is Weird or am I Just Saying it Wrong?

Have you ever looked at a word, pronounced it in your head, and then not know what everyone else is talking about? You are probably suffering from Emphasis on the Wrong Syllable syndrome (pronounced Em-Fā-Siss on the Wrong Sa-Lab-El). My best personal example is Appomattox. I walked into US History class one day and that… Continue Reading

Word Rant: Percent

Word Rant: Percent

Language evolves. Words change meaning – sometimes to the opposite of the original definition. I get this, sometimes I encourage it, sometimes I don’t. However, there are some incorrectly used words that evolution will never fix. Today’s rant is around the use of the word “percent.” Simply put, percent means “of 100.” It is another… Continue Reading

Are They Stupid, or Just Ignorant?

Are They Stupid, or Just Ignorant?

Here’s a definition subtlety for you: What’s the difference between ignorance and stupidity? Here’s what Dictionary.com has to say: ignorant: lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned:an ignorant man. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact:ignorant of quantum physics. uninformed; unaware. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training:an ignorant statement.… Continue Reading

What is Journalism?

What is Journalism?

As you may have heard, I’m writing a book. One of the writers that agreed to contribute said that his specialty was journalism – the problem is that he didn’t answer my questions with information I would think of as being from a journalist. So, I thought maybe I wasn’t defining the word properly. So,… Continue Reading

Provocative Words

Provocative Words

Welcome to my “Ode to the Thesaurus.” One of my favorite Facebook pages is The Writer’s Circle. I always seem to glom onto their lists of Other Words For <fill in the blank>. I’ve several of them clipped into my Blog Ideas notebook in Evernote. One I’ve been looking at a lot lately is for… Continue Reading