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“Learn what the rest of the world is like. The variety is worthwhile.” — Richard Feynman

Are you afraid of the dark? Are you stuck in a box from which you can’t see out?

Perhaps you’re stuck, or the business for which you work now feels stiff, or your professional community is stagnating, it’s difficult to see a way out.

So, where to?

Don’t you think outside the box.

We often hear that refrain, “think outside the box”, but are we the ones in the best position to do this thinking? What if instead we sought others, those that don’t know there’s even a box to think outside of. It’s rare that we seek out those people. We assume they may not understand or have insight. Instead we reinforce our own thinking by seeking out, or speaking to, those within our box (whatever that may be).

Far too often we dismiss feedback or commentary from outside our box.


We find our world views challenged.
We don’t adopt an open posture for receiving feedback.
We lack an empathetic viewpoint.
We fail to connect the dots.
We look for the differences or failures.
We’re in denial.


Thinking outside the box is a search for new ideas. Outside the box is where we may find them. A space unencumbered by the conventions or traditions found inside the box.

Seek those people that sit outside your box, or don’t even know it exists.
They’re the ones who are freer to think outside of the box.

Who might they be?

When it comes to professions, architects for example, should shun those within the profession. Seeking instead to engage with those in allied fields such as engineering and construction, albeit they may still have some idea of what’s in the box and indeed may have built it. Instead, how might an entrepreneur view the challenges of architectural practice? What might a banker’s viewpoint be? Could a film producer bring new insight?

Who might an individual seek out when looking to escape the box they find themselves in?

A mentor, or perhaps two. One that is familiar with the field in which you work and one from without.
A coach. A good coach won’t even consider the box. Instead they will dematerialise it, through insightful questions that ignore its bounds. They’ll see you and hear you, but they’ll also deftly bring your blind spots into the light.

There’s no singular answer, but one thing I can be sure of, if you seek the answers from those within the box, they’re likely to match your own.

Want to know more about the author? I’m Michael, co-founder & architect at Redshift Architecture & Art, and founder & coach at Ed Shift, where this article was first published.

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels

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| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.

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