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Comments

Wes

Interesting post, Chuck. I agree that "thinking outside the box" simply for the sake of thinking outside the box may not be all that productive in the end.

However, I think of the concept in a different way than your characterization above. I consider it as a way of stepping back from an acute problem and finding different perspectives that may help create a more useful context in which to analyze the issue/problem at hand. Thinking outside the box, to me, means that you aren't unnecessarily limiting your possible treatments of any situation.

When tackling any problem it's rather easy to get trapped into rigid thinking that can blind you to potential solutions. Thinking outside the box doesn't mean you ignore the constraints you're facing. On the contrary, it is simply taking a fresh look at those boundaries from the inverse angle (i.e. outside rather than inside). Certainly, you must exist inside the box in the end.

But thinking about and analyzing the boundaries and understanding how those boundaries affect you can be invaluable in coming to a final conclusion about future actions.

In short, I have no problem with thinking outside the box so long as you don't lose sight of the realistic constraints you face (the boundaries of the box). But if you do end up forgetting those boundaries, you're right, you will end up, at best, spinning your wheels.

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