Boxes are great for containing things. Whether moving or just trying to clear the clutter, a box comes in very handy. You might even choose a box with some character, scratched out handwritten labels, shipping stickers and ancient yellow packing tape. Yes, the box is a great thing.
But a box can also describe the perspective we live in. Along the lines of “stuck in a rut,” living inside the box is a familiar place. The box is the universe we live in, not only the physical space of home, work, the grocery store and the coffee shop, but also the mental world, the thoughts, the emotions, and the perspectives on the world. By this definition, the box can start to take on a different feeling.
The life you live is the sum of the decisions and actions you make. These decisions have many different types of influences, be it from your friends or networking group or from the thoughts which pass through your mind. While many of us are quite content with the box we’ve built for ourselves, others may not be.
Change is how your box changes shape, color, and even location. “Think outside the box” is a phrase we often use to set loftier goals for ourselves. In fact, personal growth happens most when we step outside the box we’ve come to love. A life of learning, new places, and new people is a great way to keep your box changing forever.
Here are some ideas to go beyond your box:
- Take an online course – many are free and cover a wide variety of topics.
- Join a book club – Sure, Oprah comes to mind, but reading is a great way to expand your box, as is engaging in discussion.
- Invite a peer out to lunch – Not only do you get to experience a new atmosphere, but you share the experience with someone and bond with them.
- Learning a new language or instrument – Learning to speak German or how to play Pachelbel’s Canon on the piano, the process of learning something new stimulates brain activity and makes you feel good.
- Meditate – breathe, let your thoughts go, and relax. Reflect on the thoughts which come up naturally and be prepared to write them down afterward so you can take action.
- Take a vacation – it does not have to be an exotic place like Thailand, but a change of scenery is enough to get you thinking differently and open your horizons
- Take a different route home from work – this is one tip I love and practice daily. You never drive home the same route day after day. This opened me up to new routes and I found some places to visit at the same time.
While the box is a really cool thing, it is okay to think about life outside the box.