Thinking outside of the box by Bill Storie
When I was in business I heard this phrase at least twice a day it seemed. I didn’t understand it them and I don’t understand it yet. It strikes me as being one of those daft ideas that some “guru” came up with and we all jumped on board because it made us look smart. We were “sharp”.
I was once in a meeting where a very clever executive vice president of the company came into my office and said that he wanted to say hello because someone told him I was “on the ball”. Duh !!
He said, “I really wish I could tap into your experience so that I could teach my staff how to think outside of the box.”
I said, “Hmm, I actually know most of your staff and to be honest I think you should start by teaching them to think INSIDE the box first.”
I think I confused this poor fellow so much that he probably never used the expression ever again. I think I burst his bubble about smart phrases and looking smart. I wasn’t trying to upset him or humiliate him, I was simply telling the truth. I have no idea where the lines are drawn on the box.
I think sometimes we spend far too much time using buzz words or phrases to explain ourselves. Well that’s fine. However, if the other party has no idea what you are meaning then the cute expression was wasted. The dilemma the speaker then has is to find an alternative way of communicating and that is a challenge for many people.
The command of the English language has become driven by 140 characters or less. So, if we can’t convey the message we use snippet letters …. “how r u” We can’t even add the “?”.
Therefore, if the message is complex the chances are that we will convey the wrong idea. Why can’t we take the time to think about what we want to say, get the words correct, then deliver them. Problem is that in today; social media world no-one has the time to listen to long-winded monologues.
I’ll give you an example.
Facebook videos are measured by 3-second clips. In other words, when you post a video on Facebook they tell you that someone has “viewed” it and register a “View” for you. But the “View” only counts up to 3 seconds. So, you may think someone watched your 5-minute video and Facebook registered the count as a View, but in fact the nimble surfer made up their mind in three seconds and moved on to something else. Has that become the norm?
Are we so possessed with impatience that we can’t stick around for any more than three seconds? Are we either too damned smart or too damned paranoid about missing something else? Why can’t we take the time to listen, digest and stick around to hear the ending.?
I genuinely believe that the world would be a better place if we all tolerated people who are thinkers and movers and shakers, and let them talk to us properly. Mind you we have politicians and pundits and television nutcases who talk and talk and talk and say nothing. Not sure if they are “tweets” or “twits.”
I imagine that this article which at the moment has 561 words is already too long for most folks and y’all gave up 6 seconds ago after reading for 3 seconds. So, I’m probably talking to no-one right now. Shame really cos there’s a prize at the end of this.
So I’ll just go find that box, jump inside it ….. then think.
Until next week when I shall offer more worldly thoughts, Bye
By Bill Storie