The problem with thinking outside the box is that most people donâ€™t realize they are in a box. They donâ€™t know where the boundaries of the box that has hemmed them in are. Humans get used to doing the same things they have always done and they donâ€™t see in their minds a new way of doing them. We quit using our imaginations.
I read a study a long time ago that said a 5 year old uses a 100 % of their imagination. When they turn 6 they only use 70 % of their imagination. Within the next 34 years if we are not careful we quit using any part of our imagination. So this study is saying a 40 year old uses 0% of their imagination. My question is why most people lose the use of 30% of their imagination in years 5-6 and it takes 34 years to lose the next 70 %.
You might have come up with the answer, we went to school. Now the teacher tells us â€œthat is not a missile that is a marker.â€ We are told to color within the lines! We are told there are no imaginary friends. When my daughter was in 9th grade her teacher berated her class because the kids would not inter act, the teacher yelled a rhetorical question â€œwhy donâ€™t you participate?â€ my daughter raised her hand, her teacher was surprised she wanted to respond to her outbreak, the teacher called on my daughter and my daughter replied, â€œwe have been told to keep quiet since first grade and now you want us to talk.â€
Schools, teachers, parents and businesses have trained us not to use our imagination. Businesses say that â€œwe have always done it this way.â€ We need to have a break through and think outside of the box!
Our minds were created by a creator to be creative. We need to imagine, conceive and believe that all things are possible. Instead of saying that something is impossible so letâ€™s not even try, letâ€™s say it is possible and how can I do it. Let us replace the word but with and. Put the words, canâ€™t and try and if and but out of you vocabulary. When you do this your mind will begin to solve the problem.
Our minds are like cameras. What we focus on we develop and a camera turns negatives into positives. When we focus on the problem we create more problems. Whatever we focus on expands. When we focus on the solution our creative brain created by a creator, creates a solution to our problem.
I do need to give a quick disclaimer. There are 3 more parts in order for our brain to be creative. I wonâ€™t spend much time on these. First is love, faith works by love, so we need to have love in our hearts, second is gratitude. When you have gratitude for the things you have you will have more to be grateful for. Third is we must approach our solution with the heart of a giver. We have not because we do not ask. We ask and have not because we ask with greed. We must come with the spirit of contribution and how can I help others for our creative juices to flow.
I want to share 4 stories with you. The first story is my own. I remodeled a house and I accidently trapped two baby squirrels in the soffit of my house. Once the soffit and siding were complete I could hear squirrels trapped in the eve of my soffit. Another squirrel was on top of my roof and they were communicating to each other. It was heart breaking. It was in the summer and I knew it must be over 100 degrees in that metal soffit.
I called my siding guy and then my soffit, gutter and fascia guy and they both told me it happens all the time and there is nothing we could do about it. My heart broke. I accepted their verdict. The next day my 8 year old granddaughter came to the house. She heard the squirrels barking to the squirrel on the roof. I told her of their fate.
She cried out â€œgrandpa you have to save those squirrels.â€ I had thought and told her that a male squirrel was trapped and the female squirrel was on the roof. What I didnâ€™t realize, it was two baby squirrels trapped and the momma squirrel was on the roof trying to help them.
With my granddaughterâ€™s plea I was determined to free those squirrels. I called my contractors back; they assured me it would be a thousand dollars or more to free the squirrels. I told them I would free the squirrels! The second I said that I remembered seeing a round 5 inch plug in a lumber yard 5 years earlier, when I saw the round metal plug I asked myself, â€œI wonder what this is for?â€ The round plug was white and metal just like my soffit. I sent Ed, my helper to the lumber yard and after a few minutes the sales clerk knew exactly what he wanted.
Ed came back with a 5 inch round plug that matched our soffit. We drilled a 5 inch hole in the soffit we didnâ€™t see one squirrel; we saw two baby squirrels peeking out the hole. After two hours of coercing the squirrels were free. We plugged the hole, the cost? 5 dollars and my granddaughter thought I was a hero. The funny thing was, Ed and I were listing to Jonny Horton, whispering Pines, and the song was about two squirrels.Â I first approached the problem, can I solve it? I latter approached it, I will solve it.
My second story of thinking outside the box is the Diverging diamond interchange. This is an intersection where drivers drive on the opposite side of the road and make a figure 8. The first one in the United States was in my town, Springfield Mo. The first time I drove on it, I thought what idiot created this? The second time I realized he was a genius, Google it, diamond interchange. In 2009 Popular Science magazine listed it as one of the best innovations in â€œwhatâ€™s new.â€ You drive on the opposite of the road, wow that is thinking outside of the box. Can you imagine in the board room when someone said, â€œI have the answer, letâ€™s drive on the wrong side of the road to make this problem right?â€
Another example of thinking outside of the box is catchup bottles. I worked in restaurants. We had a very confusing system on rotating catchup bottles. If you are not careful, the catchup in the bottles spoils and then explodes all over the customer. In the 70â€™s there was a commercial about catchup. You see, the problem is the catchup comes out so slow. You would have to beat on the bottom of the jar to get the catchup out. The commercial said that the reason it came out so slow was that it was so thick and tasty. The commercial used the song, â€œAnticipationâ€ to explain the slowness.
Then someone in a board room said, letâ€™s make the bottom the top and the top the bottom! They made the opening of the catchup and mustard on the bottom of the jar. The catchup and mustard would gravitate down and the new lid was now on the bottom instead of the top and they would come out a lot faster. After a while they even made the label upside down. Now the bottom is the top and the top is the bottom and we donâ€™t need a song and a commercial explaining why they come out so slow. It only took 100 years to figure out the catchup problem!
My last story happened in a company I worked for. A man named Tom was given the task of coming up with $300,000.00 to buy the first computers for our company in the late 80â€™s. If he could come up with the money a 100 stores would have a computer, priced at $3000.00 each. He raised the money in 5 minutes.
Tom realized that all the stores had about $3000.00 of cash in the stores after the armored car came for the deposit. The stores dropped cash into the safe and then after a day of sales was completed, they added up the money and the next day an armored car came for the money.
What Tom came up with was that the store could calculate how much the deposit would be in advance. So instead of dropping money in the safe and then the next day adding it up and waiting another day to send it to the bank, he created a formula that anticipated the deposit. In one day $300,000.00 was sent to the bank that was normally sitting in the stores, he had his $300,000.00. We got our computers.
Think outside of the box!