“Think Outside the Box!” Worn Out Buzzwords or Clarion Call for Sanity?

“Think Outside the Box!” Worn Out Buzzwords or Clarion Call for Sanity?

When it’s done right, we experience prosperity and resurgence. When sabotaged or ill conceived, we endure depression and calamity. The word is TRAINING.

L. Ron Hubbard wrote a detailed article called “GROUP SANITY” (14 December 1970), in which he delineates the eleven points of the SANITY SCALE. The point we will focus on is the second and is described herein:

“The points of success and failure, the make and break items of an organization are:



What do Mark Zuckerberg, David Geffen, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison and Bill Gates all have in common? Is it that they all became billionaires? Well, yes. But all of them dropped out of college.1, 2

What is the lesson? Is education useless? Quite the contrary. To say that education isn’t valuable is erroneous and suspect. But one would do well to examine the PURPOSE and QUALITY of education and training, as Mr. Hubbard did:

“Data taught is being taught less well. Less data is being taught. School and college unrest reflect this. Confirmation is the deteriorated basic education found in teenagers such as writing. Older technologies are being lost in modern rewrites.”

Recent reports indicate that gym class, recess, shop class, home economics, are dying or dead in American public schools.3, 4, 5

And what are kids and teens doing instead?

According to one British study, children aged five to sixteen spend an average of six and a half hours per day in front of a screen (television, tablet, game console, smart phone, etc.).6

The image of a generation of youth connected to virtual-reality goggles, seldom going outside, oblivious to the real world, isn’t a future dystopian nightmare but a potential reality in the present.

None of this bodes well for the work force.

Gym and sports provide health benefits and vital team skills. The abilities once learned in shop are applicable to a myriad of trades. Home economics prepared children for adulthood. But instead of pining for the past, the smart decision would be to look at our current resources and build our future.

We often hear the buzzwords “outside-the-box thinking” in job interviews or in reference to maverick entrepreneurs (like those mentioned above), but what does this mean exactly? Mr. Hubbard wrote:

“The idea that it takes 12 years to make a mud pie maker is false. TIME in training does not determine quality of training. Amount of data learned that can be applied and skills successfully drilled determine training.”

“The ability to learn and apply the data is the end product of training. Not old age.” 

Not everyone will go through universities to be doctors, lawyers, architects and scientists.

With the specter of $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt hovering over the United States,7 perhaps some authentic outside-the-box thinking is in order.

Fortunately, there are countless alternatives to the routine of sitting in a classroom (the proverbial box), watching excessive television (the literal box), and burying oneself in debt for a degree that one doesn’t use.

One education website lists a full fifty different alternative approaches to learning.8 From vocational training to expeditionary learning, and from personalized classes to flexible education, the possibilities go far beyond the cookie-cutter system.

Vocational schools and programs teach welding, carpentry, firefighting, aviation, mechanics, seafaring and countless other skills. Art programs run the gamut from preschool to PhD. The largest after-school music program in the United States is called the School of Rock, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. What could be more outside the box than a rock star?

These innovative ways of teaching and learning are the key to finding the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg in professions that one would never expect to find them.



  1. Goldman, Leah. “The 15 Richest People Who Didn’t Graduate from College.” BusinessInsider.com. Business Insider, 29 Nov. 2010. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  2. Isaac, Cheryl. “Forbes 400: The Self-Made Billionaire Entrepreneurs Who Said No to College.” Forbes.com. Forbes Media, 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  3. Rochman, Bonnie. “Childhood Obesity: Most U.S. Schools Don’t Require P.E. Class or Recess.” Healthland.time.com. Time Inc., 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  4. Brown, Tara Tiger. “The Death of Shop Class and America’s Skilled Workforce.” Forbes.com. Forbes Media, 30 May 2012. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  5. Dyas, Brie. “Who Killed Home Ec? Here’s the Real Story behind Its Demise.” The Huffington Post.com, Inc., 29 Sept. 2014. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  6. Wakefield, Jane. “Children Spend Six Hours or More a Day on Screens.” BBC.com. BBC, 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  7. Berman, Jillian. “America’s Growing Student-Loan-Debt Crisis.” MarketWatch.com. Dow Jones & Co., 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.
  8. Chesser, Lisa. “A World of Knowledge: 50 Different Views of Education.” InformED. OpenColleges.edu.au. Open Colleges, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 5 Jan. 2017.




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Issue: 17031401INT

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