People talk about thinking ‘out of the box’. Why even start in a box, does there have to be a box? Wouldn’t it be easier to solve problems without starting within the encumbrances of our current structures? Yes, it would. But in reality it’s not always that easy because the box is really a metaphor for where we currently are. And we always have to be somewhere, don’t we?!?
I recently solved a problem I’ve been dealing with since childhood, here it is: I’ve always been extremely sensitive to indoor heating and dry air, becoming sick during the winter as far back as I can remember. Doctors came up with solutions but none ever really worked, they only mitigated symptoms temporarily. This winter I got sick again as soon as the cold weather set in. But I knew it wasn’t the cold weather, as much as the indoor heat and dry air. While I’ve employed humidifiers before, I never could figure out how to survive inside without heat. This year I decided to simply eliminate the negative. Every night at bedtime I cover all the heating vents in our bedroom, and turn on two warm air humidifiers. So I’m getting warmth from the humidifiers and eliminating the dry air at the same time. It’s working amazingly well and it now seems so simple I wonder why it took this long to think of it.
It took this long to think of the solution because living without heat seemed impractical and thus not a possible solution. This process reminds me of the famous Michelangelo quote. When asked how he created such amazing sculpture, Michelangelo replied that he simply chiseled away what wasn’t the sculpture to reveal the work inside – in it’s purest sense, getting rid of what blocks our view of the simple solution that already exists. When we work with groups through our musical team building program, we help to bring people outside of the box. Music, laughter, story, song – not your typical work day fare. But once we eliminate the box, ideas start flowing with enthusiasm, inspiration and momentum. Our participants often say they’re surprised at how quickly they come up with new ideas and find solutions to the puzzle of creating a song detailing their shared experience and mission.
But it doesn’t surprise us, because we’re simply helping them eliminate what isn’t the song, or as Michelangelo says, what isn’t the sculpture.