Think Outside The Box – Cultivate Your Inner Voice

Thinking outside the box comes in lots of different sizes – from the smallest to the really big, sweeping, high leverage things. And while the really big, important changes that occur get the most attention, and are the most sought after, the sum total of all the little changes and habits of thought that happen every day are what lead to the really big stuff. And that’s where our inner voices play such a big role in helping us think outside our boxes.

A story on myself that occurred in the last week – titled:

The Faucet and the Headlight

The Faucet: For some time, the kitchen faucet had been leaking, A pain in the butt. I replaced the whole unit about a year ago and here it was – once more – leaking and causing problems. The only solution was to go to Home Depot, get the repair kit, disassemble the faucet and correct the problem. That was on my to – do list for weeks – the faucet only leaked while in use so I kept a towel wrapped around it to absorb the leakage. Yesterday, my inner voice said ” Andy, before going to Home Depot, take another look. Could it be something else?” I did – it was. The fitting for the flexible hose was leaking – a few turns with a pliers to tighten it – no more leak.

The Headlight: My wife’s car was repaired after a front end collision. The right low beam headlight began to go out intermittently. I took it back to the repair shop – they said it was a loose connection, and fixed it. Not. So I checked the connection. I pushed the connector in as hard as I could into the headlight socket – and it worked – for a little while. The next step was to take it to the dealer to get it fixed – and probably replaced. I took another look. I had been pushing the connector into the socket as hard as I could. My inner voice said ” Andy, how about pulling on the connector rather than pushing it in as hard as you can?” I did, I heard and felt a little click – and the headlight now works fine.

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How often do we let a particular course of action become the only way to do something – even when outcomes are telling us it’s not working? How often do we become so focused on a particular solution that we don’t seek out the little adjustments that can make the difference between success and frustration? How often do we become convinced of the rightness of our ways and not seek help from outside our little self – made fortresses? If you’re like me, that happens a lot. And most times it’s OK, but thank goodness my inner voice called to me about The Faucet and the Headlight – my inner voice saved me time, money and energy.

Cultivating our inner voice – listening to it in the little things, creates a habit of thought that helps us use that skill in the big things as well. Being able to step back – define alternatives – take a different look – ask for and accept input from others – ask the “What If’s” and the “Something Else’s” – trust our inner voice – are the behaviors of successful people.

I’ll bet you can think of your own Faucet and Headlight stories. If you’re like me I smile and shake my head and use what I’ve learned from them to keep reminding me to stay open to possibilities – on all levels.

In addition, I’m feeling pretty good right now – no faucet leak and no trip to the repair shop. Life’s just a little bit better – thanks, inner voice.