Outside the Box

Welcome 2018!

After my assessment of how far we’ve come in 2017, I wanted to have the first blog post of this new year focus on where we are going.

Thinking Outside of the Box.

It seems I have been looking for the guy who first said “thinking outside of the box” and I finally found him. His name is Edward de Bono and he is a very accomplished individual. He qualified in Medicine at the University of Malta, then he was award a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford where he read Psychology and Physiology, followed by a PhD in Medicine, and another PhD from Cambridge. Suffice it to say this is a very well educated and intelligent individual.

He is a speaker at some of the most prestigious institutions in the world and has written more than 60 books on various subjects. He is a thinker and is very critical on our abilities to think. He goes back to the big three of teaching in Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, the men who were celebrated as “Absolute” heroes. They applied logic to discover what was deemed to be the truth. De Bono suggest that is a dangerous road. It has led us somewhat astray.

In 1967 de Bono wrote a book called “The Use of Lateral Thinking,” a phrase that struck a chord with the public. Lateral Thinking is the notion for changing perceptions.

This is the thesis of many people one of whom is Rory Sutherland.  The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see our lives, says Rory Sutherland, and he makes a compelling case for how reframing things is the key to happiness. From unlikely beginnings as a classics teacher to his job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland has created his own brand of the Cinderella story. He joined Ogilvy & Mather’s planning department in 1988, and became a junior copywriter, working on Microsoft’s account in its pre-Windows days. An early fan of the Internet, he was among the first in the traditional ad world to see the potential in these relatively unknown technologies. An immediate understanding of the possibilities of digital technology and the Internet powered Sutherland’s meteoric rise. He continues to provide insight into advertising in the age of the Internet and social media through his blog at Campaign’s Brand Republic site, his column “The Wiki Man” at The Spectator and his busy Twitter account.

The point of highlighting these two gentlemen is that as people we seem at times to get stuck in ruts. Joel Barker called them Paradigms. This is the social equilibrium that we experience in our jobs and at times even in our lives. Everything is just OK.

Well all of us have goals in our lives. We want to leave a mark somewhere and somehow. That is not going to happen if we are just OK.

Edward de Bono says quite bluntly that “Schools waste two-thirds of the talent in society. The Universities sterilize the rest. Does that strike a chord with you? It sure does with me.

I have been blessed in many ways in my life and career. I was raised in a family that valued school and education, my maternal grandmother got a Masters Degree in the early 1900s, rather unheard of at the time. I had a wonderful childhood which led me to teaching and leadership positions with amazing mentors who inspired me. When I finally got into a career I had incredible men take time to counsel me and encourage me and push me. I was, and still am, a very lucky guy.

I have never been a particular fan of the status quo. That made me very impatient as an employee and let me to a much better career as a consultant where I could move from one business to another and thus never get bored. It led me back to teaching when we started Quest, Learning Centers in the early 1990’s and it is now moving me to Learning Without Scars with my daughter in developing and producing dynamic internet based learning programs.

To me it is all about putting information in front of people and then helping them implement change. Learning is a voyage, it has no end destination, it has no end point. But once you see the lights go on with an individual and watch the excitement grow, well to me that is a wonderful thing.

So, in 2018 I want you to consider thinking, not outside of the box, but outside of the triangle. Look at everything you do and see if you can make everything just a little bit better. Read more, think more, laugh more and have more fun. Don’t forget that all work and no play will make all of us very dull indeed.

Happy New Year to each and every one of you.

Out with the Old and In with the New.

The Time is NOW. If not now WHEN?