Frankly, if people who claim to "think outside the box" actually could,
they could come up with a different metaphor.
tregowith: Outside the box
Actually drunkenmonkey's co worker is right! If you've ever Jerry rigged, used Yankee ingenuity or done something so something awe-inspiringly impressive, usually after a long period of frustration and maybe shouted There is no spoon! then you have positively thought outside the box. It's done by taking a perceived weakness and turning it into an advantage. Everyone has the capacity to come up with a clever solution to a problem and are capable of thinking out side of the box. I am sure all people have out of the box thinking moments. It simply means to think creatively, even within the limits of reality. To let thoughts be free from the confines of solid walls, rigid barriers or anything that may limit the scope of the imagination, unconventional thinking would work as well to describe the idiomatic phrase.
Sometimes my family competes with tales of their out of the box thoughts at the family reunions. Great-grandfather was thinking outside the box when too tired to pick up his hat after a hard day plowing the fields when he tied the four corners of his handkerchief together and put it on his bald head to keep the flies from bothering him, Grandfather was thinking outside the box when he warned Cousin Ricky one Tuesday morning during milking that the hornets in his barn only sting on Tuesdays. Dad was thinking outside the box when the pick up died suddenly in the middle of the desert. Knowing it was vapor lock he spit on the fuel line to cool it down and get the truck stated again. Dad also licks the envelope instead of the stamp because he doesn't like the taste of the glue. ah well We were happy when the post office finally came out with their peel and stick stamps . On a camping trip the formula for Number One Son was cold from the ice chest, so wrapping it in a towel and setting it on top of car engine to warm it up we soon had a happy camper and my sister not having a plumb line was thinking outside the box at two in the morning when she took the dust from the bottom of a bag of Cheetos and rubbed it on a kite string then used it to snap a straight line on her kitchen wall so her wall paper would hang straight.
From Jack Kilby who addressed the basic problem of large quantities of components in elaborate circuits. He decided the only thing a semiconductor house could make cost effectively was a semiconductor. Kilby realized that, since all of the components could be made of a single material, at first used germanium, then later silicon, lead the way to the reducing size and increased capacity of computer chip technology. There are animals who think out side the box too, like champanzees using sticks to lure termites out of their mounds.
It's a children's well-known mathematical puzzle called the Nine Dots Puzzle that is the most likely source for this phrase.
What you see:
- Nine dots on a field of paper
- The first row has three dots
- The middle row three dots directly underneath
- The bottom row three dots lined up with the others
- Here is the pattern like this:
. . .
. . .
. . .
What that infernal puzzle maker wants you to do:
- Copy it on a piece of paper
- Connect all nine dots
- Use only four straight lines
- No lifting your pencil from the surface of the paper
- No tracing over any of the lines you already have
- But! Lines may cross.
A professor from the College of DuPage, Daniel Kies explains on his web site:
"When most of us look at the field of nine dots, we imagine a boundary around the edge of the dot array. In doing so, we limit ourselves to trying solutions to the puzzle that only link the dots inside the imaginary border. The result is futility. We can only solve the puzzle if we realize that there is no border."
The solution in a write up by m_turner
, but give it a try first:. Hey it's a childs' play, so no peeking until you try!
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