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Unstuck 1.1: That Damned Box

A steady diet of helpful homilies qualifies as one of the reliably better ways to stay stuck. Go ahead, think outside the damned box and see what that gets you, really. Make a freakin’ ASS out of U and ME, assume yourself into a coma if you can. Nobody ever assumed them selves out of any coma.

Stuck’s tenacity thrives on ‘all ya gotta dos;’ the more uplifting, the more encumbering. ‘All ya gotta do’ easily transforms into ‘you really shoulda already,’ and the stuckness hugs even harder.

You might more productively peek outside the box than think outside it. At least peeking might yield a clue about how you might act outside the box, move away from the box. Thinking about thinking outside the box won’t get you any further than thinking outside the box might. Acting outside of it might actually end up making a difference.

We live in a time where thinking —harder, smarter, different-er— gets prescribed as the antidote for gosh-darned near every malady. Now, if we only had a clue about what constitutes thinking, we’d really be somewhere. Thoughting serves as a popular surrogate. Thoughting, where we quote, footnote, or qualify by reference without coming up with a single original idea. We insist upon demonstrating just how smart we are, most often out-smarting our stuck selves.

Wittgenstein advised, “Stop thinking, look.” His nephew Heintz von Foerster added, “If you want to see, act.” Neither thinking nor thoughting qualifies as action, and action separates the man from his box. So peek out over the top, consider what you see, then DO something, anything besides trying to think yourself into transformation. Anything at all.

Thinking Outside The Box belongs to the class of pseudo solutions, while boxed in stuckness never really qualifies as a problem. It would be bad enough chasing a problem with a pseudo solution, but chasing stuckness with a pseudo solution as if stuck was a problem just compounds the suction—or is that ‘stuck-tion.’ Stuckness doesn’t need solving, but difference. And usually only the tiniest little bit of that.

Take off your treasured thinking cap. It’s not helping and it’s leaving the very worst imaginable kind of hat hair. Accept the humbling suggestion that you don’t know how to resolve this particular current stuckness, and no amount of diligent library research can do anything more than delay action. Nobody knows ... yet.

Being unable to think yourself out of any box might perfectly qualify you for getting unstuck. If mere thinking ... or, gulp, thoughting ... could work, we might mistake this box as the edge of possibility. What’s the tiniest possible action that might disrupt this stasis?

If you want to see, act.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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