Thursday, 28 June 2012

THINKING (NOT STANDING) OUTSIDE THE BOX

A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.  ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
The expression “change is the most constant thing in life” ranks up there as one of those expressions that do not have any effect on me whatsoever any longer. Don’t get me wrong, the statement has an indubitable intrinsic value, but the statement has been so much overused in different situations and in varying contexts to the point where you cannot fathom what it actually preaches:

A man dumps his wife for no tangible reason      - Change is the most constant thing in life
A preacher tries to proselytize to a sinner              - Change is the most constant thing in life
A wife wants to change her skin colour                  - Change is the most constant thing in life
A company wants to lay-off 1000 employees        - Change is the most constant thing in life
A footballer wants to leave a club for another       - Change is the most constant thing in life
US decides to drop bombs in Iraq                           - Change is the most constant thing in life

From the laughable, to the innocuous, to the mundane, to the tragic, the expression comes in handy. It has been used to the point of becoming a cliché. Because we constantly use the expression in contexts which are in direct opposition to each other, it has become trite and doesn’t achieve the desired effect any longer. And you can directly link this fact to the reality that Nigeria keeps changing, but in effect, Nigeria keeps fixating on a spot.

Unfortunately, this is also happening to an expression which is relevant and cogent to our progress as a nation – “thinking out of the box.” That expression is as popular nowadays as Osas is as popular in Benin City. From Boardrooms, to Classrooms, to the Mass Media, even to Football Viewing Centres, what you hear nowadays is “… think outside the box.” Connotatively, this means approaching problems in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently; and understanding one’s position in relation to any particular situation in a way one would never have thought of before; it is to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. This expression, in summary, refers to novel or creative thinking. But here we are – are we really thinking out of the box?

Smiling in nostalgia, I vividly remember another expression I have grown accustomed to over my years of skipping from one Multi-national company to another – No one measures efforts, only results. Unfortunately, this holds true in almost all facets of life, and if we have to apply this maxim to “thinking out of the box”, we can all admit we have only been putting the efforts, because the results cannot justify our having turned the expression into a mantra. Just take a look around and do a reality-check – are there really any products that you can pin-point as products of people thinking out of the box? Are we really thinking out of the box or are we just moving around in circles?

Alarmingly, I fear for the future of the country when I interact with the youths who have been bequeathed the unenviable task of leading the nation in the nearest future. Take Twitter for instance, youths are more interested in “setting P”, “famzing celebrities”, “subbing each other” and “twitfighting”; only a few employ Twitter for the purpose of networking with like minds’ sharing knowledge, and promoting growth. Is it not ironic that Mark Zuckerberg did not splash his wedding picture on Facebook? And Badoo is an on-the-go whorehouse. I read somewhere that “as phones become smarter, humans seem to become stupider”, and I somehow agree. Such is the direness of our situation. People can think fast but that is to come up with a weirder response to a dirty curse. The world has become a global village, and we are here exuding pseudo-happiness and exporting what? Nothing tangible. Shame!!! Of course, I am not moralizing here, I am only pointing out a trend which has erroneously made the whole world to consistently label Nigerians the happiest on Earth; we are not the happiest, but we usually forget that we have a cankerworm eating deep into the flesh of our nation every day. Are we really thinking outside the box, or just standing outside the box, or  just jumping on a spot? Honestly, there are a lot of people trying and justifying their efforts, but the oddity is they are just filling gaps, not focusing on the nation’s necessary areas of development. But who are we to blame them?
After doing a lot of thinking (outside the box) about this trend, I have come up with a scenario and a solution. At the moment we are all claiming to think outside the box because we consider that to be the in-thing, I already envisage a time when everybody will be outside the box and no one will be left in the box; the box will be empty and the outside will be filled and valueless because we are all there standing (not necessarily thinking); but we cannot all “sleep and face the same direction”, thus some group of like-minded individuals who still see progress as a necessity will come together and form small circles, and evolve theories and ideas which will be the basis for finding solutions to the nation’s problems.

Nigeria needs ideas. These ideas will come from Nigerians. But not Nigerians who just stand outside the box, claiming to be thinking outside the box; but the aggregate of Nigerians who think “in small circles” while also standing outside the box like every other Nigerian.


Thank You!
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!



Twitter: @SirRash

Facebook: Rasheed SirRash Adewusi

4 comments:

  1. Sir Rash,

    Thanks for this. I must appreciate the use of concrete nouns and would appreciate this better if the last paragraph (which I think says the way-forward)is more concrete than abstract. Remember, a large percentage of the audience reading this are Nigerians who may not read-stop-reason-read-re-read to understand the subject matter.

    Well done!

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    1. Thanks!!! I had a good look at it again and I realised it is kind of abstract in providing the way forward. I will work on it, and keep it for a befitting time when the youths will need reminding again.

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