Thinking Outside the Box
As online marketers (and humans), we are often presented with what feels like impossible problems or tasks. Maybe it’s a family problem, such as dealing with an elderly parent, or a business problem, such as trying to discover a way to drive traffic to your website. Whatever the case may be, these problems often appear larger than life, and the solutions seem unattainable.
Even if a solution is attainable, it may not be ideal. It might be full of compromises, hiccups and backtracks. This is everything we don’t want out of a decision, and yet we make these types of decisions every day.
I recently emailed my subscribers with a slideshow presentation on this very topic. Throughout the presentation, a daughter is faced with an impossible decision, and her father’s fate is dependent on that decision.
If you have not seen the presentation, I encourage you to watch it above, and for those of you who haven’t watched it, I’m going to provide you with a basic overview.
The True Secret to Success – The Presentation
A man owes a lender money that he can’t pay. He has two options. He can go to debtor’s prison, where he’ll likely squander away, or he can allow the lender to marry his daughter.
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The daughter doesn’t want to marry the lender, but the father cannot pay the money. The lender comes up with a solution. He’ll put one white pebble and one black pebble into a bag. If the girl draws a black pebble, she’ll marry the lender and free her father. If she draws a white pebble, both she and her father will be free. That, of course, would be the ideal outcome!
The lender reaches down to the pebble-filled ground and picks up two rocks. The girl notices that both pebbles are black, meaning the lender cheated! No matter which pebble she draws, she’ll have to marry the lender.
Now, she’s faced with what seems like an impossible problem. Initially, it appears that she has three options.
- First, she could call the lender out for cheating, but that won’t solve the problem. Her father will surely go to debtor’s prison.
- Second, she could refuse to draw a rock, but that won’t solve the problem either. If she doesn’t draw a pebble, her father will have to go to prison.
- Third, she could go ahead and draw the rock, free her father and marry the man. Again, this is not something that she wants to do.
Instead of going with one of the obvious options, she thinks outside of the box and comes up with a great solution. She draws a pebble and drops it onto the ground. It mixes with the other pebbles, so no one knows which pebble she drew.
The lender has a black rock left in his bag, so he has to either admit that he cheated or claim that the girl drew a white pebble. He, of course, claims that the girl drew a white pebble, and thus frees the girl and her father.
We can learn so much as humans and marketers from this story.
First, we have to look at problems from all angles. The obvious answers are rarely the right answers. We can’t just look to the road most traveled when searching for solutions. We must look at every angle, and use the solution that works best for our particular problems. It might be a solution that has never been used before, but we have to move forward without fear. Just like the girl thought outside of the box and freed her father, we have to think outside of the box and free ourselves.
Second, we can find solutions that don’t require compromise. In the beginning of the story, it appeared as if the girl would have to compromise in order to move forward, but she quickly proved that wrong. You don’t have to compromise, but you do have to be able to acclimate yourself to new situations quickly. Click Here to Tweet this post.
Third, we cannot let other people’s behaviors impact our outcomes in a negative way. Instead of letting other people hold us back, we need to find a way to rise up above them. Just as the girl didn’t let a cheating lender take her father, we must not let business associates, customers, family or friends hold us back. We must do what is right for us, despite what others say. There will be people who try to derail us, but we have to power forward and keep our eyes on the prize!
My Challenge to You
I’m urging my readers to think outside of the box. Instead of going with what seems like the obvious solution, try something different in both your personal and professional lives. Don’t look for the easy or familiar solution. Look at the situation with clear eyes, and make a calculated move.
When you find a way to turn the impossible into the possible, you’ll find the road to success. Each road is different, but one thing remains the same. The true road to success is located on the path less traveled, so you have to think outside of the box to get there.
See another valuable post called Revisiting the Four Keys to Success
*Note: One of my subscribers complained after I sent that first email of appreciation, saying: “I need money, not pictures!” While I can empathize with her situation, sadly she missed the entire meaning behind it. Maybe she’ll read this post and open her mind – here’s hopin’! I hope to have encouraged you today.
I’d love to hear your thoughts below.