The Power Of Thinking Out Of The Box

The Power Of Thinking Out Of The Box


Thinking Out Of The Box

Thinking Out Of The Box

What’s the real difference between the possible and the impossible?

There are two alternative answers to the question, one correct and another incorrect. We will reveal the right one in this blog post, but let’s start with the wrong answer:

Something impossible you can’t achieve!

Of course, there exist impossible tasks like, “I want to be on the moon within one hour”, or crazy things like, “I need this river to be drinkable orange juice within 10 minutes”.

The observant reader could notice an important variable in both of the “impossible” tasks.

The time.

In the future, it will probably be possible to reach the moon in an hour’s time, and maybe also it will be possible to convert water into orange juice.

Thinking out of the box is something you have heard on several occasions, but more as something funny or even crazy. Try to find one single invention or entrepreneurial creation that didn’t have “thinking out of the box” as a daily working tool.

Such an ordinary thing as the wheel, imagine what the inventor had to go through before the wheel became something current and useful. A couple of hundred years ago, people were sentenced to death if they argued that the globe was round instead of flat.

As humans, we have a kind of built-in self-defense to reject automatically everything that is new. Call it fear or whatever you want, but generally, we react in a destructive way. How many protests around the world, mainly from driver unions, have you seen the last year against Uber, the new taxi system making it easier, safer and cheaper for people to take a cab ride?

All these inventions, new products, services or even explorations, have seen the daylight because somebody had the courage to do some “thinking out of the box.”

You need the courage to think out of the box,

as you very much have to fight against the stream.

In the early 90ths, I was the head of a multinational company’s branch for household appliances in Peru. To cut costs we had an assembly plant in the country, giving us certain tax advantages. Suddenly the country faced one of the most severe financial crises in their history and the country literally went bankrupt. From one day to another there were no U.S. dollars available to import the necessary parts for the production in our assembly plant. The authorities gave us permission continuing to import, but the Peruvian banks were not going to sell any dollars to make the import. In other words, we had to get currency from elsewhere. Forget about the headquarter. How to explain to the shareholders about a transaction to a country going bankrupt.

We had two choices:

1) Surrender and close down the company, which probably hadn’t been very difficult to explain to the headquarter – the “impossible” path, or

2) Find out a solution to get the indeed severe problem solved – the “possible” path.


Act As Shrimp

Thinking Out Of The Box

Thinking Out Of The Box

Have you ever noticed how a shrimp moves? Backwards!

With our plant going to be paralyzed within a couple of weeks, we had to go back to the drawing board and find out how to obtain the necessary U.S. currency to continue our operations. We did like the scrimp and started our “out of the box” process. It was a very simple four steps backwards formula, clearly identifying the different steps to take.

1.Obtaining dollars – 2.Export something – 3.Get paid in dollars – 4.Use the dollars to import parts for our assembly plant.

When we figured out that the formula was quite simple and also approvable by the authorities, we needed to find out what to export. Our thinking out of the box process was now focused on what to export instead of our core business in the home appliance segment of the market.

All possible products were listed, and we found out pretty fast that Peru was one of the largest producers of high-quality scallops and asparagus. A trading company was established, and an expert on the marketing of scallops and asparagus was hired. As we were in a hurry, the trading company was a high priority task and within a very short period of time we started to get in foreign currency from our food trading. Our assembly plant was secured, and we could continue our operations without any interruption due to the financial situation in the country. Later on, the food trading even became a very profitable business.

The lesson to learn from this is that thinking out of the box always will be useful if you narrow it down to a “backward” plan. Start with the desired outcome and progress upwards.

Without courage, it will be difficult to achieve the goal. How easy do you think it was to convince the headquarter that we as a home appliance company was going to start selling scallops and asparagus?

The difference between the possible and the impossible is only a question of time,

depending on the complexity of the task and as in our case the emergency.

With the experience from Peru as well as other similar cases, I have learned the beauty of thinking out of the box.

When coming to the awareness two years ago that the corporate world didn’t have more excitements for me and didn’t give me the freedom I always had missed in life, I did the same “shrimp-move” analysis and found the online business to be the solution.

It has been a tough journey as every “out of the box” adventure, but the plan and the courage have brought me to the position of an independent entrepreneur and digital marketer. Stuart Ross took me step-by-step through the whole process and the rest….


….it was all a matter of time.

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