Getting out of the box

Early 21st century American executive types like to expound on “thinking outside the box”.  Their sermons run something along the lines of “all our problems could be solved if someone could just think outside the box.”

Implicit in this statement is an idea that a problem will somehow disappear if we just can think up the right solution. However, I would argue that sometimes the ‘solution’ is to take a different perspective of the problem. The problem may be unsolvable, for example you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Sometimes there is only a ‘less bad’ choice. Regardless of the levels solvability, the problem does give us the opportunity to examine our own reactions to the problem, our own machinations as we run around the box, slam against the walls, tear our hair in frustration at being stuck in the box.

So how does one get out of the box? There are many tools for doing this, but it takes time and the more tools you have, the more likely you are to get out of the box. These are some tools I have found useful over the years to escape the box.

  1. Ask for help.
  2. Ask for support
  3. Know that you have support
  4. Examine your ideal of perfection
  5. Examine your need to please other people
  6. Examine your need to control things
  7. Take a walk in nature
  8. Calm your brain- anxiety is a marker of the problem, but anxiety is only good as a marker. Anxiety marks the boundaries of the box, but anxiety will never help you escape the box.
  9. Pray to God -not to solve your problem- but to give you a different perspective on your problem.
  10. Try to find the underlying causes that built this box in the first place.


Good luck!



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