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How To Think Out Of The Box

How To Think Out Of The Box

THINKING OUT-OF-THE-BOX IS SUCH A CLICHÉ. 

Almost everyone blurts this line out when discussing a topic that demands you to stand out or see things from a different perspective. Bearing this in mind, have you ever stepped back to ask yourself ‘HOW you can think out-of-the-box?’ Is there a process or system? Are we born with this thought pattern? Is it a special gift? 

So many questions, which is why we’re going to start with: What does ‘thinking-out-of-the-box’ mean?

Some tend to think it means thinking creatively, freely, and off the beaten path (something that for now, the kind of stuff that machines can’t yet do). And in relation to business, where our audiences and market ask that we be authentic, different and original, it’s the kind of thinking that demands significant attention. 

Now that we have a rough idea of what this means, would you agree that it all sounds fuzzy? All this “thinking creatively, freely and off the beaten path”, still, it doesn’t explain HOW one can think out-of-the-box. I propose we break this down (always a good start to learning HOW to think out-of-the-box). I would suggest that it means, that we need to learn how to THINK.
HOW do we think? And how do we think ‘creatively, freely and off the beaten path’?

Personally, I believe we begin to THINK, when something or someone triggers our curiosity. 

“I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves. And it’s a very gentle friend and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one”.
Elizabeth Gilbert.

Which leads me to ask, what triggers our curiosity? 

According to sciencedaily.com, when googling “what triggers us to think?”, this is the answer that was given: 

Differences in the physical connections of the brain are at the root of what make people think and behave differently from one another. Researchers reporting in the February 6 issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron, shed new light on the details of this phenomenon, mapping the exact brain regions where individual differences occur. Their findings reveal that individuals’ brain connectivity varies more in areas that relate to integrating information than in areas for initial perception of the world.

To sum this up: Information vs. Perception

Our curiosity triggers us to think — the answers we seek jump between our information and our perception. Thereby, helping us to either think IN or OUT of the box (the box being the small space of what is norm vs. what leads us to think creatively, freely and off the beaten path).

WE ALWAYS SEE WHAT WE WANT TO SEE, THROUGH WHAT WE KNOW.

And what we know, is what we’ve been taught or experienced and/or what we’ve been conditioned to believe. 

The challenge arises when our intuition is in conflict with what we know aka INFORMATION. This discrepancy creates uneasiness in us. Triggering us to become curious about what we know and how it can be perceived or seen differently, other than the frame in which it has always been seen.

So to answer HOW we can think out-of-the-box, we need to heighten listening to our intuition. Which is often in conflict with what we know, and use that to challenge the status quo (you need to define what this is) and then use your curiosity to join the dots by challenging your status of information vs your level of perception.

In a nutshell, flip-the-switch.

Scramble what you know — to learn something new — to create a new perspective and a new pool of knowledge.

Take COVID-19 for example.

This virus hasn’t ‘come out of nowhere’. In 2015, the extraordinary Bill Gates already ‘predicted’ an epidemic (virus) would be coming soon and that we as a world weren’t ready for it. (Something really freaky is that a Hollywood movie with A-List actors was released in 2011 around the COVID-19 virus, albeit a little exaggerated).

Bill was already taking information vs perception and flipping the switch through his curiosity to find answers that would bring about ‘thinking out-of-the-box’ answers. 

In fact, COVID-19 has brought about a few points that have gotten me to think out-of-the-box, rather than focus on the panic and fear of a virus killing off a part of the world’s population. 

PSA: Once you’ve read these points, I would love to hear your feedback, as there is nothing I love more than constructive thought that creates space to bring the human race forward positively.

Let’s use this formula or process to learn HOW to think out-of-the-box, using COVID-19 (a current topic 1st Quarter 2020).

Information: There is a deadly virus currently killing off the population worldwide. It started in Asia because of the foods that are eaten, apparently a bat. Bats transmit a flu from one species to another, this is the first time it has now transmitted from an animal to a human. Deadly. 

Intuition says: All will be well.

Curiosity: What is so deadly about this virus? Is it a snakebite where you die within seconds? Or how does it work? Why will all be well, when people are being killed off and why is there no vaccination or something similar for this? Can we rescue ourselves? IS this metaphysical?

Perception: We’re a first world country, it won’t affect us. We’re protected.

Status Quo: Is this virus good for something? From every tragedy there is always a silver lining. What is this virus trying to tell us that we weren’t listening to before?

Here are some examples of FLIPPING-THE-SWITCH and thinking out-of-the-box.

“IT ALWAYS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT’S DONE.”

(Apparently) a quote from my favourite person Nelson Mandela.

The world has been in a blatant and exorbitant OUTCRY about our planet for YEARS, and of late MONTHS with Greta Thunberg on tour. 

With things like “Stop the emissions”, “Stop the pollution”, “Stop the use of plastic”, “Stop the use of fossil fuels”, stop stop stop!

And the answers were always “NOT POSSIBLE!” — “The repercussions would be fatal for the economy”… 

Yet, along comes COVID-19 virus and makes the impossible — possible.

China’s lockdown has dissipated all pollution.

Markets have in reality crashed.

Politicians are digging into the ‘emergency funds’ that require no profit for the politicians but finally serve the nation — despite a financial deficit.

Pharma industries are being looked at, with despair why they don’t have all the answers.

Everyone’s ‘worst nightmares’ have happened and… the world is still turning.

It IS possible! 

Yes, understandably ‘at what cost’, but it just goes to show that it’s not that it CANNOT be done, but that many didn’t WANT it done (read that again).

Our Mother Earth has been suffering immensely with our consumption always wanting more and more and more. 

Mother Earth hasn’t been able to BREATHE for the longest time. And it’s interesting that the epidemic that has surfaced is mirrored within us. The virus attacks our LUNGS (respiratory system) — our BREATHING tool. 

Is Mother Earth giving herself and us the space to finally BREATHE and EXHALE? 

Through these (mostly) worldwide lockdowns, we’re being asked to create spatial distance (not social distance). 

Social Media Influencers and business owners have been stocking up with content, offering assistance in how you can calm your anxiety, prepare to spend time with family (young children), how to explain the situation to your children, how to BREATHE. 

Isn’t this is the flip-side? Isn’t this how Mother Earth is showing us HOW to think out-of-the-box?

Because it’s through our BREATHE that we CALM (the fuck down). 

We allow ourselves to S L O W down and listen. 

To see what has been consuming us negatively and what we need to change to allow ourselves to BREATHE again.

Flip-the-Switch Lesson: We are always told that something is impossible. We are told upfront the consequences of our choices and how the impact (mostly) is negative. We always choose the safe path. We rarely choose the road less travelled because of too much risk, aversion, despair, hurt, anger and more. The question we need to ask ourselves is why do we WAIT until something DRASTIC needs to happen before making the right choice for ourselves or those around us? Because we are only able to achieve our greatest potential when we go through the rough, not the comfort zone.

“POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND. IT NEVER DID AND IT NEVER WILL.”

Frederick Douglass

Interesting that we’re conditioned to believe that the politicians, oil lords and pharma industries rule our world and supply our demands.

Fact is, that it’s you and I that rule the world. The consumer. WE say what we want.

That’s not to say that we don’t need leadership – we all do – it’s how we’ve been designed. To have someone or something lead us. 

Funny thing though is that up-to-date, we’ve chosen or had leaders appointed out of conditioning, fear or indifference. 

And it’s not the politicians, pharma or oil leaders that dominate the DEMAND in our economy.

Nope. It’s TOURISM and EVENTS.

The ripple effect that Tourism and Events bring, is a snowball-effect – some positive and some negative! 

And the recent CV-19 lockdowns have proven this!

Tourism and Events require the ripple services of other businesses: Hotels, Restaurants, Event Planners, Florists, Designers, Decorators, Speakers, Artists, Printers, Advertisers, Janitors, Cashiers, Social Media Managers, Website Designers, App developers, Crafters, Alcohol, Lawyers, Insurances, Accountants, Travel, and the list goes on.

And it’s the CONSUMER that DECIDES whether or not that tourism or event should take place through our SUPPLY i.e. attending.

Somehow, we have all gotten caught up in the web of FOMO and doing more and more and more. 

And it takes a worldwide lockdown for everyone to slow down and realise all the implications of Tourism and EVENTS.

That is just how much Tourism and Events SUPPLY our economy.

Flip-the-Switch Lesson: Power is not in the hands of who we believe it to be. We are allowed to make educated choices on who we want as our leaders. There isn’t one or the other. If the candidates don’t appeal, ask for different candidates. Leaders can be compassionate and lead with construct and discipline — there doesn’t have to be a ‘one-or-the-other’, just look at Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister.

EPIDEMICS AND RECESSIONS WON’T GO AWAY.

There will always be some kind of disruption in the world (and within us). 

It’s what helps us to reset. That’s not to say that the disruption is pleasant or easy. Oftentimes it isn’t. And what we see a lot of is that history ALWAYS repeats itself but in another form. Different story on a different stage.

We never know when disruption will happen, only that it will happen and it will affect many on a micro- and macro-level.

Micro-level: Your personal growth and development.
Macro-level: Your world around you in conjunction with the environment.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliant TEDx talk by Alannah Shaikh about Epidemics that occur on a regular interval and how we as a nation can control this through our consumption.

 

 

 

 

 

When we exhaust our capacities, it’s only natural that something needs to give. 

Take our current situation with the climate crisis and COVID-19. When we zoom out and look at the situation, wouldn’t you find it interesting to know that Mother Earth’s biggest problem right now is that she cannot BREATHE. And isn’t it interesting that COVID-19 attacks our LUNGS (respiratory system) in both animals and humans? Through the worldwide lockdown of the contagious COVID-19,, Mother Earth has given herself and us time to BREATHE and EXHALE. 

DISRUPTION IS GOOD.

Disruption makes us better. It opens a way for people to THINK DIFFERENTLY than their peers. It allows us to use our imagination to redefine the industries we work in and the world we live in. Society, as a result, benefits from these different thoughts (or innovations) that will inevitably improve our efficiency and ease of our daily lives. 

Disruption can help us solve major issues, and where our leaders haven’t been able to make necessary decisions, Mother Earth has stepped in. Disruption may be necessary in solving issues as new issues require new ways of thinking. 

And disruption improves economic growth. Although it can lead to job loss, it also allows workers to enter into new types of jobs or flip-the-switch on jobs that need a new outlook. 

Many of us shy away from disruption, that’s normal, we tend to see or have been taught to believe that disruption is a negative thing. Let’s turn the negative into something good by creating a thought process to assist us in thinking out-of-the-box. 

Disrupt the information from our perception to create curiosity and trigger our thinking differently around the status quo and how it’s perceived to come up with new ideas, thoughts, action steps that are considered to be thinking out-of-the-box.

SUMMARY:

How to think out-of-the-box, relies heavily on your curiosity. 

By entertaining your curious thoughts, which would include reading about industries that aren’t necessarily your field of expertise or partaking in a workshop that sparks curiosity but not necessarily any talents or gifts. Your trail of curiosity will lead you to paths and journeys that teach you new information and help you to see moments or problems ‘out-of-the-box’. 

Remember that where you’re led may not be your core interest, for example, the COVID-19, or any viruses for that matter. However, by being curious as to WHY it has come about, leads your curiosity to ask and find out information on answering your how’s. 
For example, I have no interest in Science on a whole or medicine or viruses such as COVID-19, however, my curiosity got me asking questions which led me to this article to help me think out-of-the-box on how humans are mirroring Mother Earth (or vice versa), and in turn how Leadership is being challenged on a greater scale on a personal and business level.

Just by learning something new about a virus — I am taking my current ‘boxed-in’ perception about typical ‘virus public information’ and expanding it into a space that opens the box to new ideas, thoughts and innovations that intercept with my intuition, values, purpose and vision. 

The question however, does remain to be asked (curious). Do we initiate the next epidemics by negligence because it‘s not comfortable living or do we make conscious and innovative decisions (thinking out-of-the-box) to find solutions that will advance the human race forward without harming our environment?

What do you think? 

I would love to know how you’re thinking out-of-the-box? Share with me below.

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