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.

Peace and the Global War Cult – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday March 25, 2008

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:

“My thoughts, my words, my actions really do create my world. That is why I think great thoughts, I say great words, and I take great actions.” (repeats 4 times)
“Your thoughts, your words, and your actions really do create your world. That is you think great thoughts, you say great words, and you take great actions.” (repeats four times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


Edwin Starr asked the question in his famous song. “War! Good God y’all, what is it good for?” Well, the answer is clear and has been for millenia. War is very good for board rooms and bottom lines. It is very good for politicians and self-proclaimed religious leaders wanting to make names for themselves. Afterall, who remembers the peace makers in history? It is conquerers and barbarians who go down as the great figures.

War is very good for uniting populaces and disconnecting their critical thinking skills. It is wonderful for obscuring agendas and pursuing policies a sober, empowered, and knowledgeable citizenry would never allow.

Viewed from the perspective of the global war cult, war is a very good thing and the only solution to problems in the world.

And so, war is presented to ordinary people on this planet wrapped only in the finest patriotic, religious, and safety-conscious garb as the only alternative to destruction of “our way of life”. You might call this the universal mantra of the war cult. “We must kill them before they kill us.” Like a bad joke we don’t get over and over and over again, we fall for its self-serving rhetoric time and again.

All the while, there is an alternative solution to the world’s problems. One that does not rain death and destruction on unsuspecting innocents. One that does not need to be wrapped in patriotism or religiosity like to make it pallatable.

That alernative is peace. Peace needs no emotional wrappings because it possesses its own instrinsic value. It is a virtue unto itself. Peace is the overlooked, underprivileged solution to the world’s problems.

Not surprisingly, the global war cult that benefits from killing people, breaking things, and stealing resources from others (as well as their millions of adherents who derive some sense of pride and self-esteem from being part of it) roundly mocks peace as unrealistic. They deride those who advocate peace as traitors and call their ideas sophistry.

The global war cult – whether it be powerful governments with massive military machines like China or the U.S. or ad-hoc wannabes like Osama bin Laden – have one very key characteristic in common. They have no capacity for “live and let live”. It’s not OK for those people over there to believe something different from them. It’s not OK for those people to have a resource they want and have the power to take from them. It’s not Ok for people to rule themselves in a land they greedily claimed by an agressor government or entity.

“Live and let live? Never,” says the war cult. “I will kill, I will take, and all the while claim God and justice are on my side. I will deny that peace is ever possible with ‘those people’. Afterall, ‘you can’t reason with them'”.

War and its mindset are a disease. The disease afflicts two-bit dictators and democratically elected leaders in $500 suits. It appeals to the masses when they are expertly convinced that “those people” are to blame for some ill in the world.

Peace is far less glamorous, far less profitable, far less interesting to cover on the nightly news. Yet the principles it embodies – live and let live, love thy neigbor as thyself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you – are the true measures spiritual development. They are the true test of enlightened leadership. They are the true hope for a humanity burdened and battered by the death and destruction wrought by the global war cult.

The time for peace is now. The global war cult has had 7,000 years of recorded human history to demonstrate the efficacy of its solution and it has utterly failed. The peaceful majority needs to stop being silent. It needs to stop revering these people as religious leaders and electing them to high office. We need to reach a point where the global war cult are the crazy men roaming the streets calling for death and destruction and NO ONE LISTENS.

That world is right there for us. We simply need to put our brains in gear and our fears in idle long enough to remove the spell cast upon humanity by the global war cult.

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

Your Purpose – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday March 18, 2008

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 am working consciously toward a greater opening of my heart and my mind.” (repeats 5 times)
“You are working consciously toward a greater opening of your heart and your mind.” (repeats 5 times)

Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Just a reminder that you are a brilliant and capable person. Your gifts and your destiny are your own. Not one other person in the world has the mission you are here to complete. It is unique to you.

A powerful engine can be silenced by one tiny valve not performing its function. Though your role may seem tiny and inconsequential in the big scheme of things, the perfection of the entire universe awaits your contribution.

No writer, philosopher, or poet can whisper that purpose into your ear. No love, friend, or colleague can, by persuasion, convince you to pursue it. No politician, employer, or religious leader can empower you to achieve it.

Only you can listen to the voice. Only you can persuade you. Only you can empower you.

The only dilemma is will you or won’t you?

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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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.

The Affirmation Spot.com

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I Think I Can, I Know I Can – The Affirmation Spot for Friday March 14, 2008

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:

“It is not the mountain I conquer, but myself. I am reaching for the top of the mountain and my day in the sun is here.”
Hear an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.


The Little Engine That Could (a Platt and Munk Classic)Many of you are familiar with famous 20th century children’s story The Little Engine That Could.According to Wikipedia, it is unclear who originally wrote the story, but it appeared in the publication Wellsprings for Young People in 1906 under the title “Thinking One Can”.  Four years later the story was published by The Daughters of the American Revolution. That same year, 1910, a version titled The Pony Engine written by Mary C. Jacobs appeared in The Kindergarten Review. (source wikipedia)

As with much of the literature I was exposed to in my early years, I first read the book at my grandmother’s house. Although I had no clue what an underdog was then, I was loved the idea that someone who was told they could not do something did it.

For those not familiar with the story, a long train has to be pulled over a large hill. Several anthropomorphized large engines refuse the task because they believe it impossible. However, one little engine volunteers to attempt. As the little engine builds steam going up the hill, it begins saying, “I think I can….I think I can….I think I can.” Finally, reaching the crest of the hill The Little Engine begins saying, “I know I can…I know I can…I know I can.” The Little Engine succeeds demonstrating the benefits of thinking positively.

This story is simple and childlike. Most wisdom is.

Look around and realize that every human-made thing you see began with an idea and the statement, “I think I can.” Very little has ever been accomplished by someone saying to themselves, “I don’t think I can.” Oh, occasionally a pessimist may succeed at something; proving the statement that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

By and large, though, if you want to succeed in life – live your dreams, accomplish great things, build something, write something, leave your mark – you must attain the mindset, “I think I can.” You won’t have it every minute of every day. Doubt is part of life.  However, if you can get that mindset most of the time, success follows. As success grows on success, your “I think I can” mindset transitions into an “I know I can mindset”. When you get to that point you’re off to the races.

Now that you have children or grandchildren don’t forget this classic. Do what you can to instill in them an optimistic outlook on life. By helping them now, you prevent them from having to build it from scratch later in life.

Be peaceful Be prosperous Be positive!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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Quitting is the Answer – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday December 13, 2007



Today’s affirmation:

“Today I am ready to convert my perseverance into success.”

Quitting is the answer to your dilemma. You know you want to give up. So, do it. You have a dream, but it is just pie-in-the-sky nonsense. What are you thinking? Are you crazy?

Do you really believe you could be the next great childrens author. Are you really visualizing yourself sitting on Oprah’s couch discussing your latest best seller? YOU??? Come on! Get real. You’ve sent 20 manuscripts out and how many rejection letters? That’s right. 20.

And you, thinking you are the next great country music star. You’ve made five demo records and not one call back. You’ve been at this for three years now. When are you going to face reality?

Oh, and Mr. basketball, you have dreams of a major college scholarship and then the NBA? Yeah right! You play three minutes a game on your high school team. The coach barely knows your name. And you think you’re the next Michael Jordan? Face it, my friend, basketball is a dead end for you.

Do you ever have thoughts like these? Do you ever hear those around you say things like this because they “care about you”? There’s always someone around to shoot down your dreams, if you are not already doing it. In some cases, it’s even an expert – an editor, a coach, or record producer. I mean they know what they are talking about, right?

The next time you have these kinds of thoughts I want you remember the following.

His sophomore year in high school, Michael Jordan didn’t even know he was the next Michael Jordan.

Michael JordanHe was cut from his high school basketball team. I don’t know if that high school basketball team was unbelievably talented or the coach just wasn’t a very good judge of ability. Can you imagine arguably the greatest basketball player ever cut from his basketball team? The coach was presumedly an expert.

Michael could have taken the expert’s word and given up. He could have taken up the vilolin or given up on school activities all together. Instead, he worked harder; became more determined. Three years later he was starting for one of the top college programs in the country and on his way to a Hall of Fame NBA career and six NBA championships.

What if Michael Jordan had accepted the judgment of an expert and quit? The man revitalized a sport, gave a city with a reputation for losing the opportunity to be champions, inspired millions of young athletes, and gave every fan a highlight film that will run in their minds forever.

Back in the 1920s there was an unknown cartoonist from the midwest shopping his idea for an animated cartoon featuring a mouse. Walt Disney made two cartoons featuring Mickey Mouse that were rejected by distributors. Then timing and adaptability intervened.

disney.jpgDisney latched on to the new sound technology in Hollywood and created a third Mickey Mouse film with sound called Steamboat Willie which debuted in New York on November 18, 1928.

The mouse and Walt went on to do quite well for themselves. A major media empire and the world’s number one tourist destination bear the name Disney because he believed in his idea and he did not stop at “no”.

Had Disney quit generations would have been deprived of the eternal childhood represented by Disney message.

A retired motel and restaurant owner in his 70s spent two years driving the country pitching his secret recipe for fried chicken to restaurant owners. The story goes that Harland Sanders heard no over 1000 times before someone finally said, “yes”.

Today Kentucky Fried Chicken is served in more than 80 countries around the world. Everyone knows about “The Colonel’s secret recipe.”

What is the common element here? Belief? Yes. Commitment. Sure. The real common element here is perserverence converted into success. These people pushed through their own doubts and the opinions of others to achieve their goals.

They also didn’t listen to the experts who said it couldn’t be done. The experts thought the train, the automobile, the airplane, radio, television, and the Internet would never succeed. Experts are always learned people about “what is”. They are entrenched in “what is”. Experts are weak at seeing what “can be.”

That takes a visionary. Find a visionary who believes in you and what you are trying to accomplish. That restaurant owner who finally said yes to Colonel Sanders was a visionary.

The world would have been worse off if any of these men had given up. What will the world be missing out on if you quit on your dream?

So how about it? Are you up for that 21st manuscript submission? Are you ready to make another demo and make this cut the one that gets noticed? Are you ready to give a little extra at practice today and let the coach really see what you can do?

If you are inspired to keep going, continue visualizing Oprah. If you are motivated to take Nashville by storm, keep seeing yourself accepting your award as newcomer of the year in country music. If you are ready to take the court with a new purpose and determination, then keep dreaming of the NBA.

Others are going to call you crazy. “They” called Jordan, Disney, and Sanders crazy too. “They” called the Wright Brothers and Edison and Leonardo Da Vinci crazy.

You might have another bout of you calling yourself crazy. That’s normal. Just don’t give up on your talent, don’t give up on your passion, don’t give up on the promise of your dreams.

Start right now by restating your dream to the universe and your commitment to achieving it. I’d be honored if you began by leaving a comment on this blog.

Quitting is an answer. It is just not the right answer when it comes to your dreams.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray

The Affirmation Spot

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The Promise of New Life – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday December 11, 2007

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grass_through_snow.jpgToday’s affirmation is:

 

“Difficulities are doorways to something better than I had planned.”

“The entire cosmos is made up of clashing forces and polarities, yet without this seeming conflict, the universe itself could not exist. Life is a dance of opposites that involves destruction, rebirth, pain, and joy.”

~ David Fideler

The powerful symbology is important in Fideler’s quote. We have many of familiar aphorisms that confirm this idea such as, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn,” or even that famous gym affirmation “no pain, no gain.”

It is certainly a very old and very common human concept that out of pain, difficulty, and death comes new life. The Hindus recognize this interplay in their personification of Shiva, “The God of Destruction,” who is also recognized as the “Bringer of New Birth.” The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh talks about the cycle of the beautiful rose that dies, becomes garbage, and then can be used as fertilizer to grow a new rose.

For whatever reason, adversity is often the birthplace of the best things in our lives. Think about your own past. Even though you dread the pain and struggle that comes with tough times, were those times not the seeds of some of your greatest triumphs?

So, am I extolling the virtues of pain and suffering? Suggesting that you should go looking for difficulty as a kind of initiation experience leading the greater joy? No.

As the saying goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” We all face the proverbial winter in our lives. Things seem bleak, lifeless, maybe even hopeless. Yet, even on the coldest day of winter, the signs of new life are only inches below the surface waiting to emerge.

This is just a reminder – in case you are experiencing one of those times right now or for when you experience it in the future – to always be looking for the spring sprouts of new life. You can count on them always being there, if only you look closely enough.  For as surely as the seasons come and go in nature, they come and go in our lives.

Hope everyone is enjoying spring in their lives today, but if not be looking for its signs.

Be peaceful Be prosperous

Ray
The Affirmation Spot

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