June 16, 2012

Popular author and motivator Zig Ziglar tells us a story.

Many people set low ceilings on their expectations and capabilities. In the process, they place themselves in a “box.”

Alexander Whortley took that a step further and literally lived in a box. It was a

mini-trailer, three feet wide, four feet long, and five feet high. He lived there until he died at the age of 80. His box was made of wood, had a metal roof, and it housed him and all his meager belongings. Regardless of where he worked, Whortley chose to spend his life in that cramped space, even though larger, more comfortable quarters were always available.


Few of us live in a “box.” However, too many of us have a tendency to “box” ourselves in and continue to do things one way because we’ve “always done it this way.” In many cases, time and experience have proven that “this way” is the best way. However, I challenge you to periodically take a long walk or quietly sit and think about the way you do things. Ask yourself if there might not be a better way. Could your procedures be simplified? Are they necessary at all? Could they be done more cheaply or efficiently? Could your product be longer?

Shorter? A different shape? Another fabric? Another color? Sometimes you can come up with simple ideas that make a big difference. Incidentally, one advantage of a continual personal-growth-and-education way of life is that the broader and deeper your knowledge base, the more creative your problem solving approach to life.


Simple example: For years men’s coats had an inside pocket only on the right where pens and other items were kept. One day somebody had a thought: Since most men are right-handed, why not put a pocket on the inside left so that they can reach in, extract the pen with their right hand, and begin writing?  Not monumental, but it saves a second or two and it’s sold lots of suits.

That’s thinking out of the box.[1]

Famous playwright George Bernard Shaw says: “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last

you create what you will.”

Some people wait for that flash of inspiration but it never comes.

The thing is to get you to start doing something and then the inspiration does come.

People who think out of the box are usually people with multiple interests.

They love music, they love arts, they’re into sports, they adore literature, they study history, they travel and they don’t confine themselves into one solitary thing.


Prominent professor and psychologist Frank Barron says: “The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive and more constructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person.”

And before you start thinking of somebody you know in the office realize that the person is the one that stares right back at you from the mirror.

You can think out of the box. You can be creative.

Learn a second language, take up a new craft.

Enroll in cooking lessons, go and join a skydiving club, go out there and enjoy life and pretty soon you will discover that you’re adding strength and resource to your creativity.

You know what makes us different from animals?

We are created in the image and likeness of God and God is the Creator.

This is why He has gifted us with creativity too so that we can enjoy this wonderful gift of His, this thing called life.

Enjoy it and live it to the fullest.









[1] Adapted from Zig’s book, SOMETHING ELSE TO SMILE ABOUT, published by Thomas Nelson. Zig Ziglar On Getting Out of the Box

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