Thinking Inside the Box


Today’s Affirmation:
Million dollar ideas are as common as grass. My million dollar idea is coming to me today.


How inventive are you? Do you see a roadblock or an opportunity when you encounter a challenge? When your million dollar idea comes along will you recognize it or dismiss it as crazy?

Innovation is not always miraculous. Sometimes it’s simplicity. It’s born of necessity and an otherwise ordinary idea meeting in the right time and place.

We’re all constantly told to “think outside the box” when we need to be creative. Sometimes, though, innovation requires us to think inside the box.

My friend Gerry passed along an e-mail she received about a recent Japanese innovation – square watermelons!

Japanese grocers had a problem. Their stores are much smaller than American stores and so space is limited. Watermelons take up a lot of room and they don’t stack neatly in a tight space.

A natural response would be to say that watermelons are round and that’s just the way it is. However, Japanese farmers decided that if the grocers needed square watermelons they would come up with a way to do it. As it turns out, watermelons will grow in the shape of a square when they are planted in a square box.

Japanese consumers, who also have smaller refrigerators, loved the new watermelons. Farmers were able to sell the melons at premium prices. Everyone won.

At the bottom of the e-mail, its originator offered some outstanding analysis that benefits all of us when confronting a challenging issue.

  • Don’t Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don’t even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don’t even realize that I’m making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.
  • Question habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you live your life. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. I have changed a large number of habits that I have had after taking the time to question them and continue to do so. Some of them I have know idea where they came from while others I can trace to certain people or instances in my life. It’s a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.
  • Be creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter water melons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your life will help you find solutions to many problems where others can’t see them. I am not a creative person, but I’ve found that the more that you look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It’s a learned art and builds upon itself.
  • Look for a better way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It’s impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. I try to ask if there is a better way of doing the things that I do and I constantly write down the things I wish I could do (but currently can’t) since these are usually hints about steps I need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, “Is there a better way I could be doing this?” and you will find there often is.
  • Impossibilities often aren’t: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error.   Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

The famed starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard once said, “Something is only impossible until it’s not.” Square watermelons are not impossible and neither, more than likely, is your challenge. You just need to look with a fresh pair of eyes. And whether in or out of the box, let your spirit of invention lead you to success.

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.

He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. This trilogy takes Ancient Aliens out of the past and into the present. An interstellar, interdimensional journey ensues with humanity’s future hanging in the balance.

The Positives of China’s Role in Tibet – The Affirmation Spot for Friday March 21, 2008

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Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free.There are no limits! Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I have access to stores of knowledge, stores of wisdom, and stores of strength within me that no obstacle can touch.” (repeats 4 times)
“You have access to stores of knowledge, stores of wisdom, and stores of strength within you that no obstacle can touch.” (repeats 4 times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


Today, since this is a blog of positive and empowered thinking, I decided to find all the positives about China’s role in Tibet and post them in one place.

Here is the complete list:

No, I’m not using a white font. It’s a very short list. China (the regime not the people), go home! Fifty years of brutal occupation, repression, and social re-engineering to bolster your unwarranted claim on the Tibetan plateau must end. The fact that western governments and businesses are too indebted and dependent on you to call your policies what they are, is of no consequence.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama  Tibetan Children  Tiananmen Square Tank Stand Off  

The Dalai Lama has more credibility in the hearts and minds of the people of this planet than your regime. That is why you have to resort to calling him names and spreading lies about him.

Dear, readers, who do you trust?

One of the Dalai Lama’s (Text of 1989 Nobel Peace Prize Speech) favorite quotes:

“As long as space remains,
as long as sentient beings remain,
may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world. “

The Chinese government’s actions in Tibet over the years:

Well, their actions speak for themselves. Religious and political repression, destruction of Tibetan culture, human rights violations, and a repopulation strategy designed to extinguish Tibetan identity. NICE!

The best measure of whether or not Tibet is part of China is the view of the Tibetan people. They don’t believe they are Chinese. I guess that settles it.

The Olympics are a great, global event. They embody sportsmanship, brotherhood, and peace. They are an opportunity for a nation to show itself in a favorable light. Another regime tried to polish its image when it hosted The Olympics in 1936.  The Olympics are a majestic and wonderful stage. However, they cannot hide the brutal face of an authoritarian regional hegemon oppressing its peaceful neighbor under the pretext of helping it.

Go home and let the Tibetan people have their culture. What a concept (President Bush, are you listening?) in a world where global powers attack others “for their own good.”

The Olympics have given China the world stage. And the world is watching.

Be peaceful Be prosperous Be positive!

Ray

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Affirmation Spot News – Positive Outlook Reduces Heart Attack Risks

Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. What do you think? Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgDownload 2 Affirmations, Get 1 Free!

Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free.There are no limits! Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I live my life full of joy, full of happiness. Without fear without anxiety; my life is one happy experience after another.”
Download an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


A new study from Duke University finds the people with a positive outlook were half as likely to die of heart disease as those with a negative outlook. Doctors followed 2800 patients and found that positive thinkers had far better results even after the severity of the patient’s condition.

Watch the ABC News Story (video) – 5 min 35 sec

Read news article from CBC.

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Bhutto Assassination Proof of Work to Be Done – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 27, 2007

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Enjoy today’s post. 




‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell on such thoughts will never be free from hate or find peace within.

‘He offended me, he hurt me, he owes me, he took what was mine.’ Those who dwell not on such thoughts shall be free from hate and find peace within.

For hate only feeds on itself; but love overcomes hate. This is an Eternal Law.

Few know that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony. Those who become aware of this cease their quarrels immediately.

~ Buddha (Dhammpada Chapter 1, verses 3-6)


benazir_bhutto.jpg‘The Buddha’s words are extremely timely today.

The news from Pakistan this morning is dire. Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This nuclear-armed nation is about to be thrown into chaos and turmoil. Many on both sides will likely call for armed conflict.

Unfornately, 2500 years after these words were uttered too many human beings still don’t “get it”. Our leaders don’t “get it”. Our media certainly does not “get it”. Our arms dealers don’t “get it”.  We clamor for war. We clamor for revenge. We support leaders as “strong” who feed our desire for revenge and war.

The “it” is that violence is the birth of hatred and chaos, not the solution to it.

Even in the western nations, we extoll the virtues of our military prowess and take pride in the fact that we are better able than others to wreak havoc on our enemies. We honor the warrior above the peacemaker and so we get more of what we reward.

Most of all, we promise with a straight face that we will stop killing “them” right after they stop killing “us”. It’s circular logic because there are two sides to the “we” and “them” equation and both sides promise to stop the killing as soon as the other side does. And thus, the killing never ends.

In these few simple verses (and others like them in many sacred texts), rests the solution to the problem. But, we must be willing to take the medicine, if we are to be healed. 

We are reminded incessantly by the purveyors of war and vengeance that this is “unrealistic”.  “Neville Chamberlain, Neville Chamberlain,” they shout. “Peacefulness is weakness.” “We must be strong or our enemies will destroy us.”

The “kill them before they kill us” method has enjoyed a 10,000 year trial run in human civilization. It has utterly failed to solve our problems, but it does line pockets and create jobs. No other product or idea has failed so miserably and yet lasted so long. It survives because it plays on our lowest instincts such as fear and selfishness.

Pakistan is a perfect look into our own future, if we fail to take the medicine. If we fail to understand, as the Buddha says, “that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony.” If we fail to grasp that the vengeance mindset that counts every offense against us and ignores our own faults, is a mindset dooming us to destruction; then we are sealing our fate.

The expiration date on that mindset is fast approaching. The weapons of mass destruction genie is out of the bottle and we are, in a very few decades, going to be faced with a stark choice. Adversaries the world over are going to stand nose-to-nose with nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponry.

The question is will we choose to change or race down the fast track to destruction? The force of habit is hard to stop. We are a world addicted to violence. Sometimes an addict cannot stop himself even at the cost of self-destruction.

Here is the challenge for those of us who “get it” in 2008. We must increase our efforts bring positive change in the world. We must first convince our fellow human beings that a better world is possible. Shockingly, many don’t believe that it is.

  • We must “be the change we want to see in the world.” We must work on our own thoughts and actions to stay positive and focused on a better future. 
  • We must make intelligent, self-interested arguments that counter fear-based and selfishness-based arguments by capitalizing on positive core human instincts.
  • We must be patient with our fellow human beings. They have been conditioned to accept this nonsense for a long time and it is going to take time for them to change. 
  • We must recognize that help is not coming any time soon from our leaders and media who thrive and profit on the conflict. These institutions will probably be the last to change. We will have to force the change by changing hearts and minds.
  • We must see through arguments, even highly emotional ones, that rest on logical fallacies.
  • We must call attention to those logical fallacies and challenge their validity at every turn.
  • We must create a clear vision of what the world will look like without the conflict.

There is hope. There is possibility. There is opportunity. The world need not suffer constant chaos and violence.  For that to come about, though, enough people must believe.

Think about it today. Do you believe a better world is possible or have you bought into the assumption that nothing more is possible and so you accept what is?

I hear people say things like, “I don’t like war, but there has always been war.” “I know our leaders are corrupt, but leaders have always been corrupt.” We need not accept these as immutable truths.

John F. Kennedy quoted George Bernard Shaw in his inaugural address in 1961, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?”

Today as the chaos heats up in Pakistan and elsewhere around our tiny marble of a world. I’m asking you to think about a better world and ask, “Why not?”

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray 

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A Little Christmas Inspiration – The Affirmation Spot for Christmas Day 2007

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Today’s affirmation is:

“My dreams, however big I make them, belong to me. No force on earth can keep me from achieving them.”

I was looking for an inspirational story for the Christmas Day post and I found one closer to home than I expected. Dreams and pursuing them are a frequent topic on this blog. Belief and confidence are powerful companions when pursuing dreams, but they are empty without action.

Sometimes we need a reminder, even from an eleven-year-old, that the best way to catch a dream is to stop talking and do something about it. The eleven year old, in this case, is my nephew, Dakota Zinn. He has a dream and he is taking action on it.

How about you? The new year is coming. What are your dreams for the new year? Are you willing to take action on yours the way Dakota has.

The following article and photo are copyright The Lawrence Journal-World. Article by Kristi Johnson and photo by Nick Krug.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.

Dakota Zinn, 11, of Lawrence, is a fan of the Topeka RoadRunners hockey team and is so inspired by the sport that he is working to try to get a ice rink built in Lawrence.


What’s a boy to do when he wants to play hockey in Lawrence?He could go to Overland Park, where Kansas University’s ice hockey club plays. Or, if the weather would stay cold enough, long enough, he could play on a frozen pond.But, if he’s like 11-year-old Dakota Zinn, he might try to get an arena built here in town. Dakota, a sixth-grader at Langston Hughes School, envisions an ice arena where youths and adults could play ice hockey and where KU’s hockey team could play. He also would want to offer open skating hours for the community and facilities for parties.And Dakota’s adamant on one point: No alcohol allowed. He has seen fans act up at Topeka RoadRunners hockey games and he wouldn’t want to see the same at his arena.“I’d rather be safe than have people there being crazy,” Dakota said.And just because Dakota is 11, don’t let that fool you. He’s taking this idea seriously.“He’s making business cards and he’s making T-shirts for all his friends,” Dakota’s dad, Rod Zinn, said. “He’s already got businesses calling him up.”Dakota thinks his age actually helps him. When adults pitch an idea, he said, it’s easy to ignore them. But when a kid has an idea, he said people take notice.

“When kids do it, they say, aw, it’s so cute,” Dakota said.

Dakota’s plan to build the Extreme Ice arena has become a family affair. He has drawn up building plans with the help of his dad, who works for Landplan Engineering. Dakota also has written surveys and fliers to get the word out. Some of the help there has come from his mom.

“We’re behind him and we’re along for the ride,” Rod Zinn said.

Dakota and his dad estimate that the arena would cost about $3 million, a cost the family’s not planning to cover alone. So Dakota also has been working to attract donors. He has even worked out different tiers for donors. For instance, a donation between $1 and $50 would get a donor a free puck signed by a hockey player.

Dakota’s dream of an ice arena has consumed much of his time the past few weeks, Zinn said. He said Dakota was sick last week, which he attributed to late nights spent working on ice arena plans.

Dakota became a fan of hockey only recently, and he doesn’t even play the sport yet. He has played other sports, such as football and baseball. But he got hooked on hockey when his dad got tickets for the Topeka RoadRunners’ home opener in September.

They had so much fun that his dad wrote a letter to the team’s owner, Mary Magdalene Lorang. She was so touched by the letter, Zinn said, that she gave his family season tickets.

And now, Dakota wants to play hockey. But he doesn’t want to leave town to do so.

He thinks having an ice arena or some other youth sports center in town is essential to attracting families with children.

“I think it’s going to become a city for older people to retire unless we get more stuff for kids,” Dakota said.

Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/dec/25/boy_looks_score_ice_rink/

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

 

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