Friday, 28 April 2017

Thinking Outside the Box.

by Harry Leggett



It is said that at Oxford university some students were taking their final exam for a philosophy degree. There last 3 years of hard work, late nights and book reading had come down to this. The nerves running through the students were very much present. The students sat down for their two-hour exam when the examiner declared “you may start” a rustle of papers sounded as all the students flicked the page to see what questions there were. However much to the amazement of the students, there was just one question followed by pages of line paper. The question read this “What is courage?”. Now I'm sure many of the students answered this with pages of deep philosophical analysis much like they had been taught in their lectures, however one young student wrote: “This is”. The student closed their paper and left the exam. The student went on to receive a first and an award for their ingenious thinking under extreme pressure. 

Why am I telling this story? I believe personally that thinking outside the box is not commended as well as it has been in the past. We in this modern day go so far to try and put people on the same page and not discriminate or leave out (often a very good thing) however occasionally I believe this is taken too far. For example, the reason for exams is to attempt to put all students on a level playing field so that when they come out with a result we can compare the students. However, there are still issues with this and it is very hard to actually put human life in a comparable way. 

Do not get me wrong I believe that the education that a child receives up until the age of 18 is vital and the subjects we learn, maths science English a language, an art, all are very important. However, it is proven that a human's brain is not fully developed until the age of 21. This means that I believe the young people of today's society should be targeted and filled with interesting ideas while they are still growing, because if they are to pursue and interest they may come to love it more and more however if they were not to they are still young and have time to change. 

If we are to look at all of the great innovators of late. Steve Jobs, Edison, Tesla, and Franklin are just some of the most incredible innovators of their time. Now many people have asked why is it that they were so special, study after study has been done to analyse every part of their lives, what school they went to, what kind of upbringing they had, how many hours a day they did of work. All of these things are interesting pieces of data however I feel there is something that cannot be recorded that all of these people had. The ability to have an open mind. If you've ever seen the film inception you will be familiar with the concept of planting a seed into someone's mind. This is used in the film to show that once you tell someone an idea, then they cannot remove it from their memory and often it can take over their lives. I believe all people have these creative ideas, sometimes they are just a seed which has been planted in their mind, sometimes these develop into a plant and they become successful ideas, however sometimes just sometimes these seeds develop into a fruitful and beautiful flower which benefits everyone. 


Thinking outside the box is thinking about something that no one has ever done. These great developers and innovators all created something that no one had ever done. They failed and failed until they finally succeeded and their perseverance was and is till this day rewarded. 


I believe all of the greatest innovators had and have a wonderful talent to be able to see what society wants and transfer that into making society think they need it. At the start of 2007 no one on the entire earth owned an iPhone, in 2016 Apple celebrated selling one billion iPhones. If that is not revolutionising the industry and thinking outside the box then I do not know what is.

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