stuck20under20bridge.jpgIn this 21st Century, the century of the knowledge worker, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking is all the vogue. Yet it is more easily said than done.

There’s the story of a semi truck becoming stuck while trying to sneak through an underpass that was just too tight a fit. Concrete overpass rammed deeply into crumpled metal and the truck was firmly wedged under the ungiving cement. Veteran police officers diverted traffic as emergency workers prepared their powerful “Jaws of Life” cutters and debated the best angles from which to tackle the further demolition of the truck. The debate centered on whether it was safe to work unsupported on the top of the truck, or to erect scaffolding, or to simply belay the workers down with ropes and a safety harness. Supervisors were consulted, safety experts conferred, insurance companies were called, even engineers and lawyers were involved.

A young lad from the neighborhood, barely old enough to attend school, watched the unfolding events with intense fascination. Finally he could contain himself no longer. He walked up to the nearest officer of the law and tugged on his shirt sleeve. “Sir? Excuse me? Why don’t you just let the air out of the truck’s tires?”

For a child shall lead them…

The ability to retain a “beginner’s mind,” the talent to step outside one’s experience and see a situation with new eyes and a fresh perspective is an incredibly valuable ability. I find that traveling, seeing new places, and experiencing new cultures, helps me obtain new perspectives. Reading extensively is another way I attempt to keep my mind exposed to new and different approaches.

What ways do you have to expose yourself to new ideas, fresh perspectives, and different paradigms? Over the last five years, have you had five years of experience? Or experienced the same year five times?

Closing Quote: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes