Big ideas come from forward thinking people who challenge the norm, think outside the box, and invent the world they see inside rather than submitting to the limitations of current dilemmas – Author T.D. Jakes
Your life is the way is the way it is because you have been thinking a certain way. Your current results are a reflection of how you think. Since childhood, you have been taught to think a certain way, and when you started school you were also taught to think a certain way. Your parents, your friends, the books you read, the courses you attend, the bosses you had and still have, the things you watch and listen to, all contribute to shaping your present thinking and thoughts. So here is the truth, you are the sum total of all these influences, past and present. To design the life you want and live the life you imagine, you have to begin to think outside the box. First and foremost, though, you have to get out of the box so you can start thinking outside it. As long as you remain in the box and continue to operate within its confines, you will not be able to achieve better results than you have been achieving.
Your comfort zone is holding you down!
Inbox thinking is comfort zone thinking; it’s also land of the familiar thinking. The figurative box literally boxes you in, so that you cannot see or think outside the box. Here is my question to you. Do you really want to live a more successful life? Are you sick and tired of living the way you are? Are you truly hungry for a different life? Will you make the commitment to get out of the box and the comfort zone to be all that you were born to be? If your answer is yes to all these questions then you are in a better place. However, if you are not sure of whether success, achievement, and fulfilling your potential is possible for you, then you have some work to do.
There is a better life and you know it. I know you want to be better rather than be bitter. I know you are tired of the eight a.m,— five p.m. grind of work without seeing the finish line. I know you bought this book because you want a great life. You can have that life if you want it badly enough and are willing to do the work that’s necessary. There is a science and an art behind success. When you do what successful people do and leave the camp of the unsuccessful, you position yourself to live the life you imagine. What happened to all those dreams you had as a child? What happened to the passion you had in your twenties? What happened to that unstoppable childhood ambition you had before you allowed all those influences into your life? I know that as a child you were not in control of the socialization process. That was then, but now you are in control, so use your freedom to define and design a new life. The question is how do you do that? It begins with thinking outside the box by doing things differently.
What does it really mean to think outside the box? Thinking outside the box is about coming up with innovative and creative ways to resolve and solve challenges, solve problems, and find new ways to get the results you want. If what you are currently doing is not working, then change it. If the results you are getting are not great, then do something about it. What box are you locked into? When you accurately define the box you are caught in, you can take the necessary steps to change it. However, if you don’t know what box you are caught in, then begin work on identifying the box. Some people are stuck in the boxes of fear, anxiety, erroneous and negative thinking, excuses and justifying those excuses; the lies of ‘I can’t make it’; the stories of impossibility; what others think of them, rather than what they believe about themselves; the state of the economy or the stock market; the current challenges at work; doing someone’s bidding; refusal to leave the land of the familiar; wrong beliefs; wrong associations, and so many others.
The box you are stuck in can also be looked at from the perspective of doing the same things and expecting a different result. It’s the way you look at things and interpret them. It’s about your personal philosophy regarding life, success, and achievement. It is all the assumptions you make when thinking about a particular challenge, problem, or subject.
Thinking outside the box means to start identifying all the assumptions that make up the box you are caught in and then challenging those assumptions, one after another and replacing them with other creative and solution-oriented assumptions or ideas.
Each of us must learn to challenge the assumptions we make. We must anchor our expectations and let go of other people’s selfish expectations. We have to question conventional thinking that deters and detours us in fashioning the lives we want for ourselves. It is time to design the life you want instead of succumbing to conventional wisdom or expectations. Gloria Steinem said, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Ken Olsen, CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), said it well, “Challenging assumptions means questioning everyday things you take for granted. The best assumption to have is that any commonly held beliefs are wrong.”
Look at your life the way a scientist looks at a problem for solutions. Take advice from James Allen by asking the four whys – why, why not, why not me, and why not now? When answering these questions leave your comfort zone, challenge assumptions and conventional thinking, and step out into a new horizon or level of thinking. A story is told about a northern pike; a large, carnivorous, freshwater fish. The pike was put into an aquarium, which had a glass partition dividing it. On the other side of the pike’s section there were many small fish. The pike tried repeatedly to eat the fish but each time hit the glass partition. Eventually, the partition was removed, but the pike did not attack the little fish. It had learned that trying to eat these fish was futile and painful so it stopped trying. We often suffer from this “Pike Syndrome” or constrained thinking, where an early experience conditions us into wrong assumptions about similar but different situations.
Your past experiences are not equal to what will happen in the future. Learn from your past experiences, but don’t stay there in the past and allow it define you. Don’t live in your past…because it is past. Challenge your assumptions and move on! Think outside the box by doing the following: Identify most, if not all, of your assumptions concerning a certain matter or area of your life. Write these down on a piece of paper and then question and challenge each one using the four whys. Now look for ways to replace each one with a different assumption that will move the needle of success, achievement, and results in your life.