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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Jan 20th, 2022 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Thinking About “Thinking Outside of the Box”

There hardly isn’t a week where not someone ushers the old adage of “let’s think outside of the box” in a meeting. I always found it a curious saying — for starters, I doubt our thoughts and ideas are confined by proverbial boxes. Further, it seems preposterous to assume people, if not encouraged to do otherwise, limit their thinking.

Instead of contemplating boxes, we might be better served to remind ourselves to actually think.

I find, most of the time, the problem is simply that we use mental shortcuts, analogs, and conjectures to come to our conclusion. Which is perfectly fine when you are operating in a stable, predictable environment. But today’s world is often neither stable nor predictable. Which means that shortcutting our thinking won’t, well, cut it anymore.

Next time you hear someone say “let’s think outside of the box”, or you might find yourself about to mutter these words — pause, and think a moment about thinking: Replace conjecture with factual knowledge, which typically means analyzing a situation from a first principles-basis, rigorously applying Occam’s razor, and using any (or many) of the tools inside of our mental models’ toolbox.

Happy thinking my fellow Heretics!

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