Thinking outside of the Box

Xarpolis

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#1
So being able to Think outside of the box is a really good trait in business. However, I've always been a very safe thinker. I stay within the lines. I'm smart, but not creative. At least not any longer. When I was a kid I used to be, but that was crushed out of me years ago.

Are any of you good "outside of the box" thinkers? Or if not, is there a way to train your brain to think differently? I'd love to unlock it like in my childhood.
 

Bandwagon

Drones and stuff
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#2
I get that tag a lot. Two tips:

1. Do lots of mushrooms in your twenties.

2. Have a mechanical brain, but be completely fucking uneducated and ignorant about the topic you're trying to figure out. Bang your head against the wall 500 times until you accidentily get a solution, then try to figure out how the hell you got there when someone asks you to do it again.

Ez pz
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
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#3
I don't think that trying to change your personality is going to be that productive. Creatives are celebrated in business because creatives start companies, but business also really needs people that are conscientious which creative types tend not to be. It's the Steve Jobs vs. Tim Cook situation. The creative types can start a company, but once they get bored with it they need someone more conservative to keep it going.
 

Xarpolis

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#4
My goal isn't to change my personality. I like who I am. I just want to look at problems that I encounter a little differently. Trying to do everything the conventional way isn't always the best solution. I'm not saying that in a stupid way, either. IE - If you had money problems, the conventional way is to lower your spending until you have the problems under control. A stupid "outside the box" way would be to use a bookie and gamble off the debt.

I fix a lot of things (though not as many as a contractor), and I'm always looking for better ways to fix something that I haven't previously thought of.
 
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#5
In some regards you're fighting the clock, because some aspects of fluid intelligence begin to decline after adolescence, and it declines as a whole after ~30-40. FI does seem to go hand in hand with working memory, though, so if you work on one, you may improve the other. The evidence for brain training apps actually working is shaky, but I enjoy them, so I play them anyway. And there does seem to be a negative associational link between doing cognitively demanding tasks and dementia.

Sleep well. Eat well. More berries, vegetables, and nuts, and less processed shit/red meat/carbs. Exercise is also important, much to my chagrin.

Legal nootropics: L-theanine+caffeine in about a 1:1 ratio.

Illegal nootropics: Some very smart people such as Huxley and Jobs swore by LSD/shrooms. Some very smart people have never taken them.

If you're trying to think about how to optimize a process, break the process down into steps. Figure out if any of the steps can be shortened, combined, or nixed.
 

wormie

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#6
Pick up an proof based math book and do the problems; dont get one of those faggot "for engineers/scientists" books though. Try something like an intro to abstract algebra or graph theory.
 

Izo

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#7
Cut off your dick. Die your hair purple-pink and also yellow makeup. Creativity surge INCOMING!
 

Arbitrary

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#8
So being able to Think outside of the box is a really good trait in business. However, I've always been a very safe thinker. I stay within the lines. I'm smart, but not creative. At least not any longer. When I was a kid I used to be, but that was crushed out of me years ago.

Are any of you good "outside of the box" thinkers? Or if not, is there a way to train your brain to think differently? I'd love to unlock it like in my childhood.
"Inside" and "Outside" are classic metaphysical distinctions and their use demonstrates you only wish to inhabit a different box. YOU MUST ABANDON THAT WHICH YOU KNOW

snowed in.png
 

Control

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#10
I just want to look at problems that I encounter a little differently. Trying to do everything the conventional way isn't always the best solution.
Some of it has to do with how you're wired, but imo, people can practice almost anything and get much better at it. And it sounds like you're just looking for some brainstorming practice. (I think it often gets a bad rap because people have been shown bad ways to do it or just feel stupid trying.) Just start a daily practice.

For example, every sunday, write down 7 problems you want solutions to and assign them to days (assign your problems ahead of time so you're less likely to skip). Set aside a couple of hours per day at first. You'll get much faster soon, but it's a new way of making your brain work, and your brain will resist like crazy. Then sit down with no distractions/interruptions (very important for getting into the new mental space), and write down (ideally with a pen/paper so the computer isn't a potential distraction) 100 different ways to solve the problem. Yes 100. They don't all have to be good, they don't all have to make sense even. This is the non-filtering point that people seem to fuck up with brainstorming. It's almost like stream of consciousness writing.

That's really the end of the exercise, but if it's an actual problem that you need to solve or if you just need to prove to yourself that this is useful or that you're getting better, the next step is to turn on the filter. A big part of the habit is just learning how to turn your filters off. People (especially logical, rational people) are so critical of everything that anything outside the box gets rejected by your built in sanity heuristics. However, you really need filters off for idea generation. You brain can let go a little more easily if you tell it that the filters can come back once you go into evaluation mode. Write drunk, edit sober, so to speak.

For evaluation mode, start by tossing out the first 20. That will feel terrible, but the first few are the answers that come the easiest. That means they're the first few answers that everyone will have. If you had 20 people do this for the same problem, their first 10-20 answers would have massive overlap. Not outside the box at all. This is basically the chunk where you're cleaning the goop out of your brain. Those answers were already there. You didn't have to create them. You just 'knew' them from your previous experience. Great for a quick solution. NOT great for a creative solution.

After that, quickly scratch out the nonsensical ones (and there will be a lot of those, especially at first). Then give the ones that are left a little bit of thought individually, but trying to keep a very open mind. For each one, try thinking, "if I absolutely HAD to make this solution work, how would I do that? what would the result look like?" You can't take too much time here or you'll get frustrated and quit, but the point is to give each idea some real thought so you don't discard something that might have been a great idea if you'd just dug into it a little.

After another round or two of elimination based on situation or practicality, you can probably dig out 3-5 interesting and workable solutions that you can really dig into, discuss with colleagues, etc, and they'll almost certainly be better than anything in your top 20 (if that's not true, then you were probably dealing with a problem that was already solved instead of doing the actual problem solving yourself).

One warning, if you're doing this in relation to work: DO NOT try to do this as a group. It will be chaos, and everyone will hate you. The best way to do this with a group is to give everyone the instructions, have them do it on their own, and then they can bring their 3, filtered, polished answers back to the group. (Even if you could make them, it's impossible for most people to really turn off their filters in front of a group.)
 
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#11
A phrase i hear thrown around a lot in the biz is contrarian thinking. I hope that is useful for you.
 

Dandai

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#12
That’s what I was going to suggest - being a contrarian, stubborn asshole really helps with creativity. “Fuck you if you think I’m gonna concede the point that yours is the best way to do anygoddamnthing.”

Like anything else, you can fake it til it becomes habit.
 

Zapatta

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#13
I get that tag a lot. Two tips:

1. Do lots of mushrooms in your twenties.

2. Have a mechanical brain, but be completely fucking uneducated and ignorant about the topic you're trying to figure out. Bang your head against the wall 500 times until you accidentily get a solution, then try to figure out how the hell you got there when someone asks you to do it again.

Ez pz
The mechanical aptitude and hallucinogens are the key, not kidding. Smoking weed probably also doesnt hurt. A stoner learns to make a Bong out of any four things in a room.


Also a lot of creativity is about finding new applications for existing techniques. I alot of construction is about knowing 'tricks' of your trade, everyday I do some weird thing where I take a plumbers trick and use it for painting or a carpenters trick to do some welding. Folks are always asking how I figured out to glue those two things together and I have no answer because it all seems like one big ball of the same thing to me.

Another big thing is when you are a kid or have kids, and something gets broken (Radio, Blender, Telephone, Dishwasher) grab a screwdriver or a wrench and take it apart. It's broken you wont break it more. You learn a lot of shit by seeing the guts in stuff, the mysteries are revealed and often you see the loose wire or the scorched part and can actually repair it.

I was 8-9 and taking apart all kinds of shit I picked out of the trash to see what was inside. Almost like a serial killer wanting to look at the guts of animals.

Just DONT take apart a TV, they often have heavy duty capacitors in them that store enough energy to kill you even if they are unplugged.
 

Dandai

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#14
Just DONT take apart a TV, they often have heavy duty capacitors in them that store enough energy to kill you even if they are unplugged.
That reminds me of when my favorite monitor died several years ago. I popped the back off to see if anything looked obviously busted and found a small plastic part that looked bloated and maybe a little scorched around the middle. I took a picture and sent it to my electrician brother who immediately called me and said "if you mess with that thing you'll be dead before you even realized you fucked up. Take it to the dump."
 

Haus

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#15
When I need to really think outside the box, often in regards to work, I have a mental construct of "Bad Haus". He's everything I am, but he has goals counter intuitive to mine. He's smart, but pretty much my evil twin in terms of things.

As I work in security having "Bad Haus" I can call on for ideas and approaches helps me when I need to attack existing concepts and processes to either break them, or find ways to protect them from being broken.

The drawback is when I daydream about the life of "Bad Haus" and suddenly realize I probably have a far too well developed inner sociopath.
 

Dandai

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#16
When I need to really think outside the box, often in regards to work, I have a mental construct of "Bad Haus". He's everything I am, but he has goals counter intuitive to mine. He's smart, but pretty much my evil twin in terms of things.

As I work in security having "Bad Haus" I can call on for ideas and approaches helps me when I need to attack existing concepts and processes to either break them, or find ways to protect them from being broken.

The drawback is when I daydream about the life of "Bad Haus" and suddenly realize I probably have a far too well developed inner sociopath.
On the positive side, if you subscribe to Jordan Peterson's philosophies, your "integration of the shadow" is a major milestone towards reaching your greatest potential!
 

Himeo

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#17
So being able to Think outside of the box is a really good trait in business. However, I've always been a very safe thinker. I stay within the lines. I'm smart, but not creative. At least not any longer. When I was a kid I used to be, but that was crushed out of me years ago.

Are any of you good "outside of the box" thinkers? Or if not, is there a way to train your brain to think differently? I'd love to unlock it like in my childhood.
Creativity in business? Well, there is the old saying "When you have one problem you have a problem. When you have two problems you have an opportunity."

Creativity is nothing more or less than combining one or more things and seeing what happens.

Harry Potter: Wizards + School

Jurassic Park: Dinosaurs + Zoo

Star Wars: Joseph Campbell + Akira Kurosawa + Serial Films (Buck Rogers, etc)

Another option, and this is how most businesses are started, is to pay attention to the things that you want and when you want something you can't have, find a way to make it cheaper, better, etc. than the other guy.

Elon Musk wanted a phone book that he could search with a computer. He gathered up all the phone books he could find in New York City and created a simple database with the information. Then he sold it to local businesses in New York City and became a Millionaire. Then, Elon wanted a way to transfer money online so he created Paypal became a multi-millionaire.

Steve Jobs wanted a cellphone, mp3 player, and a touchscreen in the palm of his hand. So he screamed at a team of engineers until they made an iphone.

Etc.
 
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