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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Outside the Box

When we say that a certain incident is the turning point in ones life, in most of the cases, it is associated with looking at the world in a whole new perspective.

A half-filled/half-empty glass of water is the classic example that differentiates optimists and pessimists. We also tend to categorize people as introverts and extroverts based on their behaviour in a group.

For the time being let us look at the concept of thinking outside the box with help of an illustration:
Most real life situations are solved either by:
1)     Top-down approach; where-in a problem is broken down into solvable parts.
2)     Bottom-up approach; where a problems are solved starting from the roots of the problem eventually solving the entire problem.

Here, one can also attack the problem top-down and bottom up at the same time and design of a rocket, sensors, microcontrollers, launching apparatus, design of body of the rocket are all addressed at the same time.

In the human specie, we find that
1)     2% of the people control the wealth of 98% of the people
2)     1% people have authority over 99% of the people
3)     0.5% people come up with solutions to a problem taking a totally new approach.
The reason for this is their thinking outside the box.

So what is this box that you have been reading about all this time?
            Hypothetically it is assumed that all human actions are contained within a box including whatever he thinks all the time. The fact being that this box itself is hypothetical in the first place, its not properly understood. However, the concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ refers to thinking unconventionally and looking at a given situation with a different approach.

As the popular saying goes, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, you will know what this statement means if you take time to visit an art museum. One person is totally fascinated at a painting while another might just overlook it.

Mr. Steve Jobs saw opportunity and revolution in computer while normal people overlooked this issue. Adolf Hitler saw an opportunity to gain control over Germans, while common Germans silently suppressed their aggression against the Jews.

While on one hand, we need people thinking outside the box; In order for a society to progress, an excess of such people can breakdown the very foundation of the society. For most of the real life situations, we need to solve problems by conventional approaches and we need to rely on what we have learnt and know.

The discussion of thinking outside the box will be incomplete without the mention of my all time inspiration Nicola Tesla...

When the genius, had asked his teacher why not make the engine run on AC instead of DC power supply, his teacher ridiculed him; However, when later in life he invented an AC induction engine, the invention was so marvellous that it replaced the DC engine all together in Industry.

Nicola Tesla is one of the very few inventors, whose inventions remain the same in all its basic principles. For whatever he achieved in his life time, he was certainly not given enough attention.

The fact being that it was all because of a battle between 2 great thinkers of that time namely Edison and Tesla.

This visionary had foreseen a common channel for voice, messages, file and videos what is referred to as Quadruple play today, and seen in the popular software Skype. But look at the beauty, he had mentioned this possibility a 100 years ago and it is only now that we are realizing it (^_~).

Our thinking is influenced by our actions, and the kind of environment we have been through for the most of our lives. In many situations, ideas that tend to be outside the box are ignored because they are not seen with the same approach as the person suggesting them.

If everyone was like everyone else then there wouldn’t be a need to address new problems every day. In fact evolution requires that there is thinking outside the box for species to survive. The evolution of giraffe is a good example for this discussion.

  • Stop looking for a box, it is hypothetical.
  • We need people thinking outside the box.
  • People thinking outside the box only differ from other people based on their experiences.
And finally when someone says that you think a lot outside the box it just shows that the person himself was not smart enough to solve the problem in an approach that you just provided and is calling you a genius.


  1. good one :) it's making me think!

  2. Man you are really getting good at this, btw isn't it Nicola Tesla?

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