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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014

It's time to put phrase in a box

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isn't it funny how some minor issues simply bug the heck out of you? OK, so granted I get irritated and "bugged" by stupid political reasoning. I get "bugged" by cultural changes that are so blatantly ridiculous that it leaves you scratching your head. Heck, I could go endlessly into those everyday items that leave you rolling your eyes and saying, "Seriously?".

But enough is enough.

In short order this week, I heard a respected politician - if that's not an oxymoron - say we needed to "think outside the box." Followed by a baseball manager who said his team lineup was changed because he was "thinking outside the box." Followed still yet by a whole host of highly-touted educators who said they wanted their students to "think outside the box."

OK, I get it! We need to think outside the box - be creative, arrive at new solutions, stretch the limits of our thinking, etc. I get it!

So can we at long last agree it's time to retire "thinking outside of box" and come up with something - anything - that conveys the same sentiment without rolling out this tired, overused expression?

The phrase "thinking outside the box" was first embraced by the corporate community over 40 years ago. You can "Google" the origins and learn much more than you ever wanted to about the term.

Even the President himself - the great orator - is prone to use the phrase occasionally. But regardless of who spouts the tired and worn expression, it should clearly be banned.

In other words, thinking outside the box phrasing is so overused and trite, that it becomes the opposite of thinking outside the box. Using the term has become stale and, in some cases, downright amusing.

There are literally thousands of worn and tried phrases that somehow make their way into our social language and everyday life. Time erodes many of those seemingly clever words and they simply vanish into the shadows.

Thinking outside the box needs to join those forgotten words.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen