Think Inside the Box

‘Inside’ is the new ‘outside’.

What’s the point in thinking outside the box if you’ve forgotten what was inside the box in the first place?

photo by svilen001

photo by svilen001

We have information overload killing our creativity and passion, we have an obsession with multi-tasking to ridiculous extremes, we amass greater collections of digital downloads, DVDs, books, blogs, gadgets and gizmos.  It’s crazy.

On the other hand, we see entrepreneurs going back to basics with their simple solutions, we see Web2.0 tools that have a single non-bloated practical use (to start with, at least!), we see reasons to declutter and destress before our brains explode, we hark back to retro products and images of yesteryear and we see the doom and gloom that global warming is about to kill the world and everything in it unless we stop consuming so much rubbish.

We’re told to ‘think outside the box’ on a regular basis.  It’s an old phrase that we probably all know well.  I expect everyone is looking outside the box now.  And it’s become such a norm that I fear we have forgotten just what’s inside the box we’ve now discarded.

No wonder we’re all lost.  It’s time to claim back our box!

photo by 1041992

photo by 1041992

I’ve just been reading a book called ‘Leading in the Top Team: The CXO Challenge’, which looks at leadership in companies in the many different guises.  Tucked away in the concluding chapter is this paragraph:

“Often, we hear from seasoned executives that too much human energy is wasted reinventing wheels, chasing fads, and pursuing exciting and novel ideas.  These executives say: ‘The methodology for creating wealth is not a mystery.  It is well understood.  We just must do what we must do.'”

i.e. Sometimes thinking inside the box is fine.

Whether you want to create wealth, or a better planet, or a killer idea, or fame, or whatever, it’s worth looking in the obvious places too.  But most searches now start by considering weird and wonderful ideas, when all you might need is beautiful simplicity.

So let’s dig around in that box before we go looking elsewhere.  At the very least, we can have a good cleanup and uncover some important stuff you’d forgotten!

Alternatively, you can try doing something other than thinking outside the box or back inside the box.  How about:

  • around the box;
  • without the box at all;
  • in someone else’s box;
  • under the box;
  • stack the boxes, climb it, and check the view at the top!

Okay, so this post is a bit of light-hearted Saturday searching.  But let me ask you this:

Are we trying too hard?  Or not hard enough?

[Update: I’ve found an interesting post over at Union Street.  Andrew asks, “When is more less, and less more?”  It’s a searching post, yet in a similarly vague nature to this one.  That’s a positive thing, by the way.  Broad, yet philosophical tends toward good, creative fun.  Make of it all whatever you wish, regardless of whether you think inside the box, or a couple hundred miles away from it.]