Thinking outside the box... There was a box?
Every now and then I hear the phrase 'think outside the box.' You'd think it would be worn out and people wouldn't be using the tired cliche, but there it is, just as the box is there. I remember hearing a voice in the back of my head asking, 'There was a box?'
Looking over my shoulder at all the companies that deliver easy to understand products or services, I saw a galaxy of boxes. I had to ask myself, 'What is are these boxes, and why do we need them?' After all, my job isn't just outside the box, but, to be honest, it's all about building new boxes.
Boxes keep everything from scattering on the floor, whether stuff in your basement, the thoughts in your head or the structure of your company -- and it can be rewarding exploring the compartments of a box, finding relevant ideas or brilliant products. In the structure and order of having things organized, there is the opportunity to do much more than in the chaos of things jumbled and lost.
Boxes are good, but they're only good if you can get things out of them. A box taped shut, on the bottom of a shelf, hidden behind other boxes may be safe, but there's no use for that box until it is opened and the contents are enjoyed and shared.
To me, the phrase, 'Think outside the box' is redundant. 'Thinking' requires you to be outside the structure, otherwise it's simply being. But, simply being is just as valuable -- once you've thought outside the box, you need to put those thoughts in order if you ever want to find them again.