Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it?

We recognize this need to know people more deeply when we take time to think about it. But the average American mind is simply too busy to go exploring. Only when someone does something we consider outstanding – positive or negative – do we consider them beyond what has become comfortable to us.

We have said this before, but it deserves repeating: Humans are generally lazy with their thinking. We have to force ourselves – or be forced by external stimuli – to think rigorously. Our minds prefer to “go with the flow”.

It would do us and our organizations a lot of good to resist this human tendency – to begin intentionally and proactively exploring the heart, mind and soul of people in our spheres of influence. This includes our subordinates, peers and superiors.

As leaders in the workplace, we should be encouraging each other to explore beyond our comfort zones. Relationships are that important! The investment of time and energy will be greatly rewarded.

Let’s commit ourselves to more diligence.

There is, of course, no better place for rigorous and diligent “outside the box” thinking than with the LORD God Almighty. He is the foundation, cover and center of all other relationships. It is impossible to truly understand another person without first exploring the One Who created them.

Sadly, most Christians spend less time and energy thinking about God than they do other people. Our limited interaction with God constrains our understanding of Him (and the people around us). We know Him only as far as we allow Him into our day-to-day lives. For so many, this amounts to Sunday morning and quick rote prayers before a meal.

Even those serious about their walk with the Lord have difficulty making time to explore the Persons of the Godhead. This has been my challenge. Recently, I have begun asking Them for help.

God loves talking to His children. He just wants us to be still.

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10

God has helped me – particularly through a book by A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy. In the process, I have discovered that considering God’s limitlessness – His infinitude – is a mentally dizzying exercise, and a gloriously mind-renewing experience.

As Ransom discovered in C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, exposure to the vastness of God can be a frightening experience. Perhaps it should be; something touching on the fear of the LORD. That is something we all need.

It appears that our time is up, so let me close by encouraging you to receive the blessing of time that God has given – to be still and know Him beyond your comfort.

God bless you with transformation, by the renewing of your mind.

Humbly yours and forever His,