Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Box: Inside or Outside?
So my friend over at Thief of Words wrote a post today that reminded me of something I'd meant to post about awhile ago but didn't.
Her post is entitled "Thinking outside of the bloody stupid imaginary box."
I would think that most of us were raised, or at least taught in school, to think outside of the box and come up with ideas other than the obvious.
For the most part, I approve of this very much.
However, it seems to cause some problems when it comes to people, and people are generally the things that matter most.
So if I'm trying to either figure out the motivation behind a person's actions or guess what he/she will do next, I'm going to think outside of the box as well as inside of it, because that's what I've been taught to do.
Thinking outside of the box in terms of motivation and possible future actions is not a good idea, because then you end up picturing all of the most horrible scenarios, and even if you know X Y and Z aren't likely because they're way out there, they make M look tame, even though an inside-box thinker would understand that M isn't likely to be the case either.
Which leads to paranoia, unnecessary anxiety, and irrationality. All of which suck regardless of whether you're the perpetrator or the receptor.
But thinking outside of the box is such a good skill to have in pretty much every other instance, so it's definitely a good thing. It's just really annoying that you can't turn it off. Knowing it's a problem will help, of course, because you can tell yourself to stop worrying and explain exactly why the anxiety is stupid, but there's always that "Well, what if?"
Hopefully "if" wasn't after all, and hopefully things will work out and your paranoia didn't screw things up too much, but in the midst of things, there's no knowing. And that's not fun at all.