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Joan
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Hmmm...I actually don't like the phrase "think outside the box", because it assumes there's a box. In my experience, there are lots of different boxes, some of them not even rectilinear (blob-shaped boxes, trapezoid boxes, freakazoid boxes, pyramid-shaped boxes...); the trick is more to get out of the box you're in (when you get stuck), into a different box, and let the change mold your thinking in a new way.

(In other words, each of is always in one box or another; what we need to do is gain access to the other boxes that are out there, especially the ones containing other people we know and don't know [yet].)

I don't know if that helps, but I felt the need to vent...currently sitting here in my cubicle...

Point-Haired Boss: You need to think outside the box.

Dilbert: Box? There's a box? Is it bigger than my cubicle?

Aloha,

Brad

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Well, I may have stretched the "shapes" metaphor too far. Those who use the phrase assume that the attitudes, assumptions, opinions, etc., that a person has (in a particular situation, at a particular time and place) are like the walls of a "box" that constrain his/her thinking; the "shape" of the box is the range of thought you can get to while still bound by the "walls".

To get unconstrained, you have to get outside the box. My view is that each of us always has attitudes, assumptions, opinions, etc.; we might be able to cast aside what we've got at a particular moment, but that just means they'll get replaced with another (possibly freer [the universe may be infinite, but it's still bounded], possibly with a different "shape", but still constrained, albeit differently constrained).

How about "break down the walls of the box" or "build bridges (or tunnels?) between the boxes" rather than "think outside the box"?

Aloha,

Brad

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Sorry 'bout that just deleted my post (a first) when I realised the lag (had to take a very good call in the meantime). I think you should go in a different direction with the fruits of a liberal arts education. Make a bit of a pointed joke out of it. 'The fruits of a liberal arts education aren't great for making pies'. Or 'living off of the fruits of a liberal arts education might seem to some like a grapefruit diet'. Then go into something about how 'one doesn't choose a liberal arts degree for an easy career placement, it is a tangled road we've chosen to go down but one that carries with it the rewards and challenges of a life reflected well upon'. You get my gist whatever works for you.

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flowing from bradm ....Dontjust think outside the box, but climb outside the box.

doesnt fit...but something about speeches makes me want to quote darwin...

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. "

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