What Is the Box Anyway And Why Do We Need to Think Outside It

In most areas of thought, the box is simply what's been done, the tried-and-true traditional thinking, the comfort zone. Basically, it's what you already know—"the known," as discussed earlier, where your mind too often gets trapped.

Why do you need to think outside the box?

Outside the box is where the future will be created.

It's where all the solutions to all the real problems will be found (see Chapter 2, "Creativity = Problem Solving").

How This Innocent Little Square Limits Creativity

Name something that you know about your field. Name anything. (For example, if you fish, you might name fishing net.) Using the writing instrument of your choice, place a dot anywhere inside the center box below to represent a bit of data that is in your daily realm of thought.

Now name something else you know about your field. Anything. Again, put a dot in the center box below to represent another bit of data you know.

You could go on for hours, making dots in your box, each one representing different specks of data about your field. If you did continue, completely exhausting your knowledge base, your box might end up looking something like the illustration on the top of the next page.

Now name something that has nothing to do with your field. Anything. How about the forty-first vice president of the United States? If Walter Mondale isn't already one of the bits of data inside your box, use your favorite writing instrument to put a dot The easiest worksheet you'll ever do.

Inside the box.

outside the center box here to represent this bit of data that has nothing to do with your field.

Name something else that has nothing to do with your field. Anything. Again, put a dot outside the center box representing that disjointed bit of data.

If you wanted to take the time to record every bit of data that you know that has nothing to do with your field, you'd do a pretty good job cluttering the void outside your box, which then might look something like what you see here on the right.

Everything you know that has nothing to do with your business is outside the box. As is everything you don't know, along with everything no one knows yet. See where we're headed? Who says you don't think outside the box? You do it every day when you're not thinking about the things in your field.

Outside the box.
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