Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"In my career, I've found that 'thinking outside the box' works better if I know what's 'inside the box'..."

- American composer and arranger David Grusin

Sometimes from where we stand, the grass on the other side of that fence actually does look greener; lush and inviting. A glance downward to our own lawn and we quickly see the flaws and crabgrass.

And sometimes, on rare occasions, from where we view it, the glass in another's hand actually does look more full; ours is half empty and slowly draining.

And sometimes, every now and then, we just have to remind ourselves and be thankful that we have a yard and a glass at all.

World peace. An alternative to the massive use of crude oil. A more environmental friendly wrapping paper. An even more democratic and participatory form of corporate leadership. A more palatable alternative to bread with crust. Just a few of the many monumental and trivial matters in this life that seem to call for us to really look "outside the box."

I was not able to ascertain when the expression "out of the box" first emerged in the English language, but in a very short time it became a mainstay to our everyday conversation. Defined, the expression "thinking outside the box" simply means thinking and creativity that is beyond the conventional and every-day. We use the expression when we are trying to come up with a fresh and creative approach to today's ongoing dilemma and challenge.

To address those situations, here are two things I believe: (1) Today's dilemmas are caused by yesterday's creative solutions and tomorrow's challenges were already being birthed in today's innovative approaches. (2) We are often all too quick to dismiss what's "in the box" as shortsighted and flawed, when, as David Grusin alludes, we're not even aware of what is presently "in the box."

For example, business world remains anxious to develop a revoluntionary approach to their marketing so as to squeeze out just a little higher quarterly that they forget to respect and listen to the very "consumer and employee base" (people like you and I) to which they are marketing. The search for that golden revoluntionary approach occurs just outside the box, while all the while respect and genuineness are nestled just inside that box. Sometimes, all that we need is already nestled in one small corner of that very box. It was there all the time.

I've come to believe that most of us are not "trapped" inside a box of our own thinking and practices and creativity; rather, we have not found an effective means to open that box wide and peruse all of its contents.

My friend, I believe in a Creator that gave each of us all that we would need to solve and resolve the issues of today and tomorrow, including the powerful gift of prayer. Most of us see our box, our creative pool, as only knee-deep. When, in reality, it is a very deep pool that we each need to dive into and immerse ourselves in.

Do not, for one moment, allow anyone to tell you that you are "not that creative" or that you "need to think outside of the box." That box, that creativity, is your treasure and it's meant to be spent.

Don't envy the lawn across the fence or the glass in another's hand, my friend, because your lawn is showing serious signs of growth. And don't look now, but that glass in your hand is overflowing.



© Copyright 2006 - All rights reserved