What is My Box, and How Do I Think Outside of It?


Our box is the place where we live. It’s who we choose to be. It’s our skills, our biases, our judgements, our strengths, our weakness. The kind of music we listen to, the food we eat, our routines - our ruts.

Many will say we have no control over our box - that 'we are who we are'. That our likes and dislikes are part of our DNA. Science has now proven otherwise. We are evolving complex beings that can change.

We are who we choose to be. We like what we choose to like. 

We want to believe that we are who we are because it’s easy. Left to our own devices we choose not to make the effort. That isn’t something that comes with age - this has always been the case. 

Our box makes things easy.

When we were children and didn’t want to try new things our parents challenged us to expand our boundaries. We all had to eat things we didn’t like, participate in activities we didn’t like - or scared the daylights out of us because we hadn’t done them before. Our parents - to a point, challenged us to create a bigger box. 

But, as our parents authority waned so did the pressure to increase the size of the box we live in. The argument that we’re 'too old to change' is a rationalization, not a truth.

We’re too lazy to change. We’re too tired to change. We don’t want to change. And there is nobody there to tell us that we should. In fact, by the time we reach adulthood we're typically surrounded by people who don’t want us to change, because they take comfort in our predictability. 

While anything being possible any day may be exciting for some, it’s not practical to function without any parameters at all. Living in a box is a way to cope with the world we live in. We need to create rules and boundaries to function within to be responsible partners, parents, and friends.

So go ahead and keep the box for safety. But be aware that the things you 'like' - that you choose to keep in your box, are indeed just that. Choices. You can broaden the things you like. The people you like. The things you do. The way you view the world. 

You can expand the size of your box. And you can step outside of it.

And when you step outside of it you will start to think outside of it...

Stepping outside of your box is about trying new things. Acquiring new tastes. It doesn’t mean throwing out your box.

Innovating is as much about changing habits and getting out of ruts and routines as it is learning new skills. In most cases it’s just a re-engagement of skills that haven’t been put to use for many years. 

Live like an innovator. Where you learn things you didn't know before, where you see the world through a new lens, where the possibilities and opportunities are seemingly endless. 

Get rid of your biases. Get out of your ruts. Experience the world in a different way today than you did yesterday.

Seek out new ideas by expanding your sources of knowledge - read new books, listen to different music, pick up a journal you normally wouldn't. Engage all of your senses, by deepening the understanding of what you just read; listen to new music, then read about it, then go to a concert…

Share ideas that you would normally keep to yourself. Ask more questions at the risk of revealing an ignorance you don't want others to see. 

This is where the potential connections are infinite. When you're no longer satisfied to simply be safe, to engage with only those that are alike, and to walk and talk like everyone else.

When you start to test the waters outside of your box you will revel in the  insights gleaned from connecting with people you may not have previously given five minutes to.

Understanding more about your own box is a great starting point. Taking even a small step outside of it will start you thinking like an innovator.