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Published:January 22nd, 2008 16:18 EST
Brilliance Exists Inside the Box

Brilliance Exists Inside the Box

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)


The next time someone tells you to "think outside of the box," I want you to shoot them. Not literally, of course. I mean it figuratively. Give them that old familiar stare that says, "You're kidding, right?"

Why? Because I want you to forget about what is outside "the box" and focus instead on what is inside "the box."

Now I will be the first to admit that I've said "think outside the box" plenty of times because I heard others saying it. It seemed to be the cool catchphrase of the last decade. Then one day I thought, "Just because everyone else is saying it doesn't mean it's right." And when I began to question the wisdom of the concept and people looked at me with that "screen-saver stare," I knew I had to step back and do some research to find out more.

As you know, "research" for a hyper-busy professional who didn't earn a Ph.D. is just a few clicks away at With a little digging, I discovered the incredible research of Professor Andrew Hargadon at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California. According to Hargadon, "the term 'out-of-the-box thinking' came from solutions to the so-called 'nine dot problem' - where there are three rows of three dots and the problem is to connect all the dots with just four lines. The solution lies in drawing a line that goes outside the imaginary 'box' formed by those nine dots. 'Thinking out of the box' has come to mean thinking of a solution that is somehow outside of what you already know and do, coming up with something wholly new."

Okay, I know what you're doing right now... you just took out a pen and some paper to try this exercise. When I read Hargadon's quote, I know I did. What was simply an empty statement before finally made sense. At the same time, I realized that - like so many other things in life - we've taken this idea of thinking outside the box to the extreme.

The notion that we have to look outside of ourselves to find something fresh, creative or remarkable is quite simply an untruth! It minimizes our innate genius and discounts all the learning, wisdom and experience we've gained through hard work, trial and error, and past experiences. I say all the time, "Everything you need to succeed is already inside of you." Of course we occasionally need to look for solutions outside the realm of our current knowingness, but to disregard our known internal brilliance is like turning our backs on acres of diamonds buried in our own backyards. (If you're not familiar with that phrase, I encourage you to read R.H. Conwell's magical little book Acres of Diamonds.)

Ladies and gentlemen, today I invite you to ask yourself, "What do I already know based on my past experiences? What have I already seen working somewhere else? What are my current talents, skills and unique abilities?" Then, based on your answers, step forward and ask, "How does that fit into my current box?" I am crossing my fingers that the stares will change to smiles... or at least head nods of agreement.

Simon Believes... Brilliance emerges when you look inside instead of outside.

Exciting Announcements for 2008!

January 30, 2008 is special date! Stay tuned to find out how to receive free incentives and gifts when you buy Release Your Brilliance: 4 Steps to Transforming Your Life and Revealing Your Genius to the World.

• Visit the completely updated and expanded Check out our facelift and let me know what you think.

• Visit our all new site - the website for the revised hardcover edition of Release Your Brilliance. You’ll find all kinds of free resources and information. Let me know what you think!

• Sign up for my new blog at

• Through our new teleseminars, we are reaching thousands of people around the world. I’d like to connect with you on a monthly basis. Join me for our next teleseminar on February 18, 2008, from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM EST (Eastern Standard Time). Sign up here.

• Coming soon - two new powerful and profound books to help you release your brilliance: Meditate on Your Professional Brilliance and Meditate on Your Personal Brilliance.

• This year I’m going to teach you the 12 qualities that Brilliant Geniuses have in common. Some of these lessons will be featured in Brilliant Carats and some will be reserved for the Brillianaire Community. This promises to be an exciting teaching series that will change you, charge you up and challenge you to be brilliant every day in every way.

• As many of you know, I am an avid reader and love good books. This year I will be recommending a few select books that will empower you and help you grow both personally and professionally.

Be Brilliant,

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