“Think outside the box,” I’ve been told repeatedly. You’ve been told repeatedly too. Chances are that, you sometimes wish you have some kind of magic that will make your thinking always happen “outside the box.”
We’ve been made to believe society, at this point, needs people who are capable of thinking outside the box. Outside the box thoughts always change things. They change the way we think. They solve problems in a most efficient way. They make heroes out of people who are able to solve nagging problems of our times through thinking outside the box.
We all live in a box. You and I. We all need saving sometimes. We need a hand to reach the top of our box, lift the lid and allow some light in. The truth is this, when you live in the dark for so long a time and someone throws a light at you, you squint. You fight the light till your eyes adjust.
That is exactly what happens to outside-the-box-thinkers. We are normal people following normal rules. We live in a box, conforming to the rules of the box and living by convention. To think outside the box means being unconventional. You have to be “not normal” to solve problems through thinking outside the box.
You have to come outside the box. The box we all conform to to find solutions and bring it back in for implementation. That takes courage. Breaking the mould of conformity takes a different heart. I presume that’s the reason there are not so many people who are able to think outside the box. It’s comfortable inside the box, everyday.
People are comfortable with the normal. Abnormal people have few friends. Abnormal ideas are mostly rejected. At first people make fun of your outside-the-box ideas. Because it’s so outside the box that it’s funny. If ideas do not follow convention, people are skeptical. They will reject it. People don’t believe in untried ideas. They believe in what works. To believe that it works, it must have been tested.
Apple, Inc. says “Think Different.” That has been their tagline. That has been their underlying belief. But anytime they’ve had a reason to think different, the world mocks at them.
In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone. It was one of the outside-the-box kind of products at that time. It was only Apple who believed in the future of the iPhone. The rest of the world mocked them. Industry gurus laughed at the concept and predicted the iPhone was destined to fail. They said; “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Then they laughed at the iPhone’s Touch screen buttons and said it was a BAD idea and will never work.
That’s the reception you are greeted with when you think outside the box. People don’t want to ruffle their comfort zones so they reject you for coming up with ideas that do not conform to the happenings in their comfort zones.
Yet, they never stopped asking you to think outside the box. They know there’s some kind of redemption outside the box but no one is ready to bell the cat with you. They leave you alone. They reject your ideas. They make you feel very stupid for trying. Then you give up along the way. When you give up, you hear their voices shouting; “We told you it wasn’t going to work.”
I can imaging so many great outside-the-box ideas that have been left to fail because people rejected those ideas. I can imagine people giving up upon themselves and not trying again because they have been rejected so many times that it hurts their pride.
But here is the juice…
There’s nothing wrong with being unconventional. If we still have problems today, then being conventional isn’t the solution. Sometimes taking the road less travelled might lead you to miracles. iPhone is now the major revenue contributor to Apple. The phone that was not suppose to work.
All that it takes is faith and never-give-up spirit. You don’t have to let a dream slip just because people don’t believe in it. You don’t have to conform just because you are scared of being rejected—being rejected for being different. If we stick to our ideas and dreams long enough, we might fail but we’ll learn in the end. What we learn will help us improve on our original idea.
Keep thinking outside the box, if you ought to, if situation of the day calls for it.
Now, how do you know your idea qualifies to be called outside-the-box?
Rejection! If you present your ideas to people and they readily accept it, then it’s not outside-the-box enough.