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On Staying Outside of the Box

When I ordered my iPod a couple years ago I had it inscribed with the words “Think Outside the Box” to remind myself to stay open to new ideas, to wonder, to ask questions and to be creative in problem solving and seeking solutions. These attributes are fundamental to who I am. It is easy to get sucked into the vaccuum of day to day tasks that can easily leave no time for creative thinking, until eventually, you find yourself inside THE BOX.

It can be exhausting fighting against the constant suck of the vacuum. Think about that- the noise, the pull, the relentless, single minded, back and forth motion with the only goal being to get rid of what is lying on the floor. We can become so busy and tired in our every day lives our only goal is to get rid of what is on the floor- or in my case- on my plate- before it begins to pile up again the next day.

I have done a great job working to make myself physically stronger by scheduling time to physically work out, by eating healthier, and by setting goals. As I move into 2014 feeling physically fit but emotionally drained, I realize I must also set mental goals as well-to get back to a place filled with wonder, curiosity, and creativity.

My new mental goals include scheduling creative thinking time each week to collaborate, take risks, and play with new ideas, new adventures, and possibilities. I am going to encourage my teammates to do the same. Much like Google’s 20%  time-which no longer exists- and FedEx Day although not to those extremes, I am going to schedule 4 hours into my week to think, plan, explore, ask questions, collaborate, seek answers, write, and increase my creativity at work.

I am going to strengthen my mental capacity to avoid being sucked by the daily vacuum into THE BOX. You heard it here first.




collaborationcreativitygoalsLearningproblem solvingteam

Cathy Brophy • February 3, 2014

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  1. Rick Gavin March 14, 2017 - 9:28 am Reply

    I just read and commented on a post that you did for the IMMOOC. I enjoyed your writing and point of view and decided to look at some of your other posts. I am not certain, but I think that you wrote that you are an administrator now. I am an elementary school principal as was my wife and both of my children are heading down the same path. You are right when you talk about the difficulty in finding time for personal reflection and taking the time to share those reflections like you do in your excellent blog. I hope that you get the opportunity to share more with your blog. We can all use some inspiration especially (as my daughter has found) when you can’t always find what you are looking for in the next classroom. Thanks for the post. Rick

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