I went to quite a few “summer camps” during my corporate career. These were multi-day seminars most often in the summer to teach me one thing or another about how to do my job better. They were rah rah sessions to keep me excited about what I was doing. Some of them were worthwhile, some were just boring. But since the company paid all the expenses and they were a welcome change from the day-to-day office.
One of the summer camps I remember most vividly was about discovery. The cubes below stick with me almost thirty years later:
- Obviously you know what you know. These are things that stick with you for periods of time. For instance you know your birth date and some of us even know our wedding anniversary. These are things that we know and we know that we know. Some are essential to our lives.
- Then there are things that you know that you don’t know. For instance I know that I don’t know much of anything about nuclear physics or biology. These types of things I trust other to know so I don’t need to.
- The third category is the one that most often gets us in trouble. Some these things we think we know but we really don’t. These include many of the reasons for our various prejudices. We think all people of color are to be avoided. Our knowledge in this cube is faulty due to our limited exposure to the topic or maybe an ingrained belief drilled into us by others.
- The fourth cube is where discovery, creativity and insight come from. We just don’t know what we don’t know. For some that is as far as it goes. But for others it is a realization that we have much to learn. The way to turn this cube into a positive is to be open to possibilities that we have never been exposed to. It means actively thinking outside the box. I pride myself in keeping box number 4 front and center in my daily life. I am open to possibilities I never knew existed.
Unfortunately there are some that absolutely refuse to even consider cube four exists. They are stuck in their current circumstances and refuse to acknowledge any other possibilities. Most often their lives are dark and often negative. They are anti almost everything unknown to them.
Question everything and always think outside your box.