We have all worked in a small group, at work or school, at least once in our life. When you brainstorm in a group you don’t want to be the person that has all the ideas, weak ideas or no ideas. To help free the mind in any brainstorming session we are encouraged to “think outside the box”. It has been proven that the best brainstorming occurs when all ideas i.e. good, weak, outrageous, abstract and/ or expensive (if you are working on a budget) are placed on the table without judgment. Over time we learn that in trusting the brainstorming process a really great idea, which can be a mixture of all the ideas or a new idea all together, will rise to the top.
To think or live “outside the box” is defined by Wikipedia as thinking or living “differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective.” Some great ideas and lives are built around this concept. As much as I like the concept, I find it troubling because it acknowledges that we, to some degree, live and/ or think in a box. This box is not a physical box; it is a box that we put each other in based on gender, age, race, religion, class, sexuality, lifestyle and societal norms. This very box can become a cage or prison for it’s willing or unconscious participants at a macro or micro level because it shapes or limits how you live your life. That box makes it hard for people to “come out of the closet,” speak in opposition or create a work of art. It is often the reason people play it safe and settle in life. The box, which you know isn’t real, becomes real for every willing or unconscious participant because it’s foundation is based on society’s idea of what it is to be proper, successful or happy. Each layer of that box is built with fear shaped by personal experience, interpersonal or intrapersonal judgment and the over all fear of being different.
The video below is a commentary on the boxes I just described.
Through brainstorming we find that different ideas lead to the best idea. That may mean that living differently could lead to the best possible life for the people who choose to define their life on their own terms. Rather then think “outside the box” why not acknowledge that there is no box, there never was a box and live a life around that concept. Suddenly you are given permission to be, room to breathe, sight to see endless possibilities and a path shaped by your hearts desire that guide you toward your full potential. What life can you live or world can we live in if we put all ideas or possibilities on the table? It’s both invigorating and frightening to think of all the possibilities. Staying in the box is comfortable; we have learned to call it home. Living outside the box is going into the unknown. It’s easier to hold on to the life, career and person that we know. Think outside that idea too and acknowledge that everything you hold on to literally and metaphorically can all change in a split second without warning and without your consent. You can get divorced, you financial status can change, you can lose a close friend or meet someone who changes it all for you. What then are you holding on to? How tight is your grip? The level of your resistance to change defines your grip and the weight of your fear. On a side note, knowing that it can all change is a call to action to live in the present moment and express gratitude for the blessings in your life now. Living out of the box is risky and scary. But, risk is what you do to crawl, walk, learn something new, apply for jobs, get loans, fall in love, etc. What life or career awaits you outside of your box or on the other side of your fear? What dream do you hold in your heart that is calling your name? Will you take the risk toward the life that awaits you?