Creativity Pathway #136: Outside the Box

As part of a corporate change management process, I recently facilitated an exercise designed to enable a work team to learn more about the skills and daily tasks of its fellow associates. This team, who had professed a strong desire to change the way in which it interacts with one another, reacted to the exercise with hesitation, frustration, and defensiveness. They were, in reality, uncomfortable with the process of learning something new in order to accomplish the change goal. 

As so often happens, I found a converse reaction to learning and change from a group of elementary school children last week. When working on an art project, the children were given “glue dots” to use instead of the more familiar bottle of glue or glue stick. While the parents immediately began questioning, “How do we use these?” “Why are we using these?” and “Where are the glue sticks?”, the children didn’t flinch. They took the glue dots, explored them, figured it out and moved on with the project. 

I often wonder what is the catalyst for our adult aversion to learning. At what age do many of us lose the spirit to move outside the box, to explore, and to create from the unfamiliar? Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, shares two quotes about this subject that I appreciate. One is a version of a familiar saying: “Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you’ve got.” If we are seeking a change in our lives, it isn’t likely to come without some stretching into unfamiliar territory.

And again from Rohn, “You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.” If we are dissatisfied with the direction in which our lives are going, we must be open to learning how to use a compass or looking at an updated map.

Coaching Challenges and Inquiries: When is the last time you moved outside the box? If you read journals or books about topics in your field, great! Now, read about some topics outside your field. What can you learn by moving outside the box? How can you get better at something this year?

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

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