Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Outside the Box.......

Albert Einstein said "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking used when we created them".

The great man also said "Imagination is more important than knowledge".

A few days back I posted a list of movie reviews.  One of the flicks I reviewed was Moneyball.  In the review I stated that this is a "must see" movie, and that, although the subject matter is about the game of baseball, the meaning of the film goes far beyond a game.  It is really about how we as human beings are trained to think. 

Many is the time---back when I was constantly traveling on business---that I wondered if the folks who designed the hotels business people stay in ever stayed in them themselves.  I don't think they did; because if they did, the rooms would not have been designed the way they were/are.  Examples---mirrors located in the wrong places...not enough electrical outlets...TV is too small...not enough lighting, air conditioner/heater hard to regulate, air conditioner/heater designed so that the curtain hanging over it traps the air...etc, etc, etc.

They keep making hotel rooms the same way they have always made them.  It's the only way they have ever made them and the only way their brains know how to make them.  God forbid anyone ever steps out of their stupor and actually designs a room that is comfortable and convenient for the guest.  Oh, my gosh!  Somebody shoot me!!!

A few years ago I was president of our Sunday school class.  It was a large and pretty dedicated group.  Before I became leader, the accepted practice of scheduling someone to lead the class in prayer at the end of the instruction was for the president to go around, hat in hand, asking/begging for someone to lead the prayer at the end of the meeting.  Now, understand that we are Methodists, so---unlike Baptists, for instance---there were many in the group who would refuse to lead the class in a 10-second closing prayer.  It was maddening.  I quickly got tired of this and one Sunday I stood if front of the group and told them that from now on we would be signing up to do the closing prayer in advance, and that once you were signed up for a particular Sunday, you would be held to that promise.  My gosh---it worked perfectly!  No more begging.  No more being turned down.  I did something different!  And it worked spectacularly!  "Outside the Box!"

I read of an apartment builder who noticed that when he built sidewalks around new aprtments he had constructed, within a short time, there were paths worn in the grass between buildings.  People were not using the sidewalks, but were instead taking the shortest route between buildings.  Guess what---he began waiting several months after constructing the buildings to see where the paths were worn in the grass---and then he layed the sidewalks over where the people were actually walking.  Beautiful!  Thinking "outside the box!"

Jack LaLanne
Back in the 1940s, everyone told Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru, that lifting weights would lead to muscleboundness and heart attacks.  He knew differently, and started the nation's first chain of exercise spas.  He revolutionized not only the fitness industry but also changed the way America's "experts" thought about fitness.  He was "Outside the Box".

Dr Dean Ornish
In the late 1970s, Dr Dean Ornish began to show how lifestyle and dietery changes can reverse heart disease.  He was roundly criticized as a heretic.  Why?  Because he dared to think "outside the box" and he differed with "experts" of the day.  Today, of course, he is recognized as a great reformer.

Dick Fosbury and His "Flop"
In 1968, an American high jumper named Dick Fosbury won the gold medal at the summer Olympics in Mexico City by using a new and radical "back first" technique that has since revolutionized the event.  At the time, he was considered by experts to be a fluke.  Today, all high jumpers use his technique, called the "Fosbury Flop".  He was thinking "outside the box".

Can you think of instances in your life where thinking "outside the box" has led to success?  And praytell---why don't we do a lot more of it?


  1. Dear husband*, I really love this post and glad you wrote it. As you know, thinking outside the box is a subject that is often discussed in this household. Dr. Ornish's plan of reversing heart disease by lifestyle and dietary changes does not involve expensive drugs! Anyone making a suggestion like this in today's world is bound to be called a quack. I am actually making an effort to think outside the box in my daily life. You know my favorite saying: To thine own self be true. ♥

    P.S. You know me, I also work overtime to NOT use popular words, expressions or catch phrases. You are not my "hubby"! Now go eat your vegetables, not your "veggies"! ;~)

    1. Ha. Well, at the end of the day, after everything comes to fruition, after the playing field has been leveled and everyone has been vetted and we have determined that it isn't brain surgery or rocket science, I shall eat my veggies and promise to be a good hubby.

    2. May I add, it a good thing we don't have issues and I am emotionally available because it is what it is. Just sayin', it's awesome.

  2. Yeah, whatevaaa.................

  3. I think that most people dont want to be uncomfortable for even a second to think or be outside the box. Look how many people could become healthy by just changing their eating habits and people get ANGRY if you suggest they give up the processed food and meat. They would rather die of heart disease than eat a few vegetables that they THINK they dont like. It is much easier to take a pill and eat what they want. Sigh.

  4. I am most definitely an "outside the box" thinker. My entire life has been defined by it. I follow my heart, 99% of the time, and it has led to a life that looks very different from most. Instead of majoring in "music education", which would've led to a "safe" life of being a school teacher with a dependable salary, retirement, benefits, etc., I took a risk and majored in music performance. Then when I graduated, instead of pursuing a career, I pursued Jesus and became a musical missionary. Then, I married outside of my own race and culture. I dare say that I've already lived a richer life than most even dream of, even in the sufferings that came with my choices. My penchant for thinking outside the box is probably the main reason I could never survive being a teacher...I find "the system" to be stifling and rigid. I am a bohemian at heart. I think anyone who is creative and/or "artsy" is the same way. We just march to our own beat. Our brains work different. It's painful at times, but it's more painful to try to hopelessly fit in the proverbial round hole when one is not round. Like Cindy said, "to thine own self be true."

    Great post!

  5. Hi Clint,
    thinking of you too. In think, I'm thinking like Dr. Dean Ornish, yeah!
    Many greetings.

  6. There's a lot of wisdom in your post. It seems like we have fewer and fewer out of the box thinkers as time marches on.

  7. I have a T-shirt that says Forget The Box - Just Think Outside : )

  8. Boxes make me claustrophobic. Love your choice of original thinkers.

  9. I think Steve Jobs - Bills Gates - and my grandson! Sandie

  10. Oh yes...he was so right. You have to think outside the box to see the solutions.

    Have a beautiful day


  11. Well done on an excellent post Clint, have just read it after
    returning from my US vacation.