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Inside the Box Thinkers

The most valued set of skills that depicts good psychological health and wellbeing is flexibility and adaptability.

When we exhibit these skills we excel the most in each thing we do, whether that is work relationships or our own personal development.

How flexible your thinking is can determine your ability to cope in unexpected situations and how you solve problems to go forward in any situation.

Do you live your life by the rule book?

Does your work include you having to continually refer to laid-down regulations and criteria?

Does your job require you to make sure others follow rules?

Are you part of a religion or cult that prescribes a dogmatic way of living?

Do you always mix with the same people?

Do you avoid speaking to strangers?

Are you without an expressive, free-thinking outlet in your life?

Do you go on holiday to the same place?

Do any of your friends or family complain you are inflexible?

Do you always stay within your safety zone?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you are thinking inside the box.

Of course we all think inside the box sometimes. Certainly at times my job requires me to do, but when it becomes an inflexible habit in your life, you have withdrawn from adventures and are not being a risk taker.

We can see historically many thinkers who were proponents of thinking inside the box and how dangerous they were.

J Edgar Hoover, the first director the FBI in the USA, believed that those who did not share his philosophies were dangerous communists. He believed that people should be prosecuted for their political beliefs. He was an inside-the-box thinker and sociopath who illegally spied on people fired agents that he thought looked like truck drivers.

Adolf Hitler, the supreme ruler of Germany during the Second World War, created boxes for people to fit into to satisfy his own psychopathology. He deemed that black, gay, Jewish people practicing various religions and disabled people were inferior human beings. Under the Nuremberg Laws enacted in 1935 his political party prescribed racial purism and determined that non-Arian people were not allowed to be German citizens.

In China, Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese revolution, founder of the People’s Republic of China, and leader of the Communist Party for many years, brought in the Cultural Revolution for 1966 – 1976. It destroyed much of Chinese culture. Art, dance, theatre were seen as bourgeois and antisocialist unless they were about the installation and maintenance of socialism. Everyone had to think inside the communist party box.

There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently about a group of doctors and scientists calling themselves ‘Friends of Science’ who announced they think universities should not teach traditional medicine and complementary therapies.

This disregards that the isolation of aspirin came from a herb that does not have the side effects of aspirin.

This ignores the fact that for many years naturopaths have been talking about Vitamin D deficiency and now mass osteoporosis in western populations proves the theory.

This takes no note of how nutritionists have been talking about using probiotics, which gastroenterologists have now adopted.

Sometimes thinking inside the box is driven by financial gain and the desire to protect market share of an income stream.

In many places in the world at the moment men are thinking inside the box and not allowing women to fully contribute to society.

In Afghanistan women have only just been allowed to go to back school and be part of government. In Saudi Arabia, at the time of writing this, women still may not drive. In Australia, which can be a deeply sexist country at times, there are fewer women in parliament than in Afghanistan. Sexism and genderism of all kinds is thinking dangerously inside the box.

I remember being at university and challenging a tutor about some information that was being taught on my course. The information was incorrect but, rather than making an amendment, the tutor still continued to teach it because it was the required curriculum. He was unable to think outside his mindset box.

Creating restrictive mental boxes, thinking inside those boxes and the boxes created by others can be very dangerous intellectually to your life and the life of others.

Sometimes taking a risk and thinking outside the box to solve problems is the right thing because thinking inside the box cannot give good answers.


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