Did Dinosaurs Have Souls?
It only seems we think outside the box when we are faced with a unique problem; one that needs to be solved using tools we normally don’t rely on. Take, for example, the philosophical question, “Did dinosaurs have souls?” Forget about the historical or religious implications of this question. I’m sure few of us have had any experience on this topic.
In our lives, from time to time we come across unique problems that need to be solved. We need to be prepared to look at things differently to analyze these issues. It’s something outside of the ordinary sphere of most people’s expertise. But, why should we limit thinking outside the box to only those out of the ordinary situations?
Thinking outside the box can be a good exercise in developing problem solving skills. We can consistently use it as a tool to come up with better solutions. Too often we get entrenched in doing things the same way and don’t challenge ourselves to look at things from a unique perspective. A change in perspective can lead us to solve problems in a new way, leading us to better outcomes. How can we strive to think outside the box?
1. The initial discussion phase. Open dialogue should initially allow for a free flow of ideas. Put together a brainstorming group and hash over the issue. It is sometimes only when we begin the dialogue that we realize the different perspectives from which a problem can be analyzed.
2. Think about where you start your problem solving analysis. Are you truly starting at the beginning or are you taking for granted that certain procedures must occur. Make sure you are truly looking at things from the starting point.
3. The thinking process is key. Not everything that you think about is worth pursuing, but by verbalizing thoughts you put the thought process in motion. One random idea can lead to another idea and so on until you reach something more concrete. Don’t be afraid to verbalize an idea, even one that is strange; it may be useful in your quest to a solution to your problem.
4. Limit the randomness. Focus on your ultimate purpose of reaching a solution to your problem. You need to set a time limit and choose a group moderator who is skilled at bringing discussion back to the matter at hand. But the moderator should give the group some latitude in the discussions, time permitting.
5. Exercise your own abilities to think outside your thought box. Exercises you can do.
a. Go somewhere you’ve never gone before and think about your experience.
b. Talk to five new people you’ve never talked to before and take time to listen to their viewpoints on a specific topic.
c. Write down randomly your most strange solutions to something that you come across daily. Review it a week later.
We may not have to solve the age old question of whether dinosaurs had souls, but we will encounter difficult problems in our personal or business lives, that will need to be solved. When we work to develop our skill to “think outside the box” we make ourselves better problem solvers for those difficult problems we do encounter. Are you prepared to think outside the box?