Outside the box

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are you in a rut?

Are you boxed in, unable to think outside the box.

The box is what you know; the familiar. To think outside the box is to move beyond everyday patterns of thinking, to try something innovative, original.

How can you think outside the box?

Break the mold by reading a novel.......a different kind of novel. If you've always read romance, try something entirely different, like science fiction, something unfamiliar.

Or try writing a poem. Shift your thinking into a more creative part of the brain.

There was this special friend that wanted to give me a gift for Valentine's Day. I quipped, "Write me a poem."

He sputtered, then admitted that in all his years, he had yet to write a poem. He wouldn't know how to begin, he said.

I told him there was only one requirement. He could not begin the poem with "Roses are red, violets are blue."

In other words, he had to think outside the box and be original..

He worked for days composing a four line poem.

To show him my appreciation, I framed the poem and displayed it on a book shelf.

Let your mind go beyond everyday patterns of thinking. Be flexible, allow randomness to enter the thought process.

Be open to possibilities. Explore all your options. Don't settle for the first thing that comes to mind.

Ask someone for suggestions; a child could reveal a simple way to think outside the box.

My husband thought outside the box. He owned a light aircraft, called a taildragger. It was a J-4 Piper Cub, probably built in the early 40s. My husband decided the Cub needed restoring. He wanted to replace the fiberglass covering with new. He hangered the lightweight plane in Steele Municipal Airport.

One day I looked out the kitchen window to see that my husband was hauling the plane into our backyard in Gosnell, near his workshop..It was also a surprise to my neighbors who drove past the house and saw an airplane parked in my yard.

Although my husband had no experience in restoring a plane, he set to thinking outside the box. He started with a goal and thought back through the steps needed to reach it.

He located manufacturers who sold fabric, resin, and other aircraft parts.

My husband bought and stored the needed parts in the workshop.

That summer he set about removing the old fabric and replacing it with new.

It was a labor of love. Soon there were airplane parts in various stages of restoration, scattered about the shop.

He also contacted a friend who knew how to spray paint and had an industrial paint sprayer. The friend showed my husband how to spray paint without leaving any runs or drips on the fabric.

Eventually, it was done and the shiny new blue and white plane was hauled to the airport again.

After that, my husband flew the taildragger for many months before selling the plane for a profit.

Had he not thought outside the box, the little two seater would have remained in need of repair.

There are many men of the bible who thought outside the box.

There was Noah, a man of God, who built Noah's Ark as told in the Book of Genesis.

Imagine Noah building a seagoing vessel that was 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in breadth and 30 cubits in height.

Just imagine his neighbors who may have scoffed at such a mammoth undertaking.

To think outside the box means being open to new thoughts and ideas.

It could involve risks, possibly failures.

But in the words of Albert Einstein, "I haven't failed; I just found 100,000 ways that won't work."

He also said, "I have no special gift; I am only passionately curious."

He certainly thought outside the box, many times.