I love stories that help us understand ourselves better, and create a different way of thinking to initiate change within ourselves or with others.

Here’s another lovely one:

A man is walking down the street wearing a hat and a jacket.

The sun and the wind got into an argument: which one of them would be able to take his hat and jacket off of him? The wind thought that she would be able to do that without a shadow of a doubt, whilst the sun were sure she will be the one to succeed.

After debating back and forth they decided that the wind will be the first to try.

So the wind started to whistle loudly and to blow fiercely but the man held tight to his hat and jacket. The wind continued to storm and the man just help even more tightly to his hat in one hand and to his jacket with the other.

After a few unsuccessful trials by the wind, it’s the sun’s turn.

She gently and softly sent her warm rays toward the man. Slowly but surely, the man started to feel warmer, than hotter, and then he started to sweat. He took his hat off, and after a while his jacket as well.

 There’s a lot to be said about the power of thinking outside the box when it comes to creating a change. 

When we want to achieve something we all have a tendency to do more of the same thing. There’s no wonder about why we do that, it’s very clear. After all we have been practicing exactly that since we were born, and it worked wonderfully until now. When we learned to walk, we stood and fell many times, but we always got up and tried again and again until we managed to step. And after we managed to step a few steps we fell down. But that did not discourage us. No no. We got up and tried again until we could not only walk but run freely. 

This process repeated itself in each and every area of our life: learning to ride a bike, learning to talk, read, write, mastering math etc. Each time we wanted to improve on any skill, we stuck to it, and did more of the same thing until we mastered it (or at least could do it well enough…). 

So when the time comes for trying to change our situation, or trying to defuse a conflict with another, we act in the same manner.

And the same manner usually means to push even harder, blew even stronger -- act like the wind. 

If for instance we are upset with our spouse for not bring us flowers for Shabbat, we most probably continue to sour-face him in hopes of him coming to the realization that he did something wrong and work hard and diligently to fix it. Something he most probably used to do in the first years of the relationship... Well, it worked then, there’s no reason why it won’t work now as well, right?

But like the wind we will try even harder more of the same thing.  

We’ll frown more, we’ll be less nice, we’ll get very upset with him.

And like the man in the story, so will our spouse, only tighten his position. He won’t understand what’s going on, but he won’t make any effort to change it, because he is also upset and is waiting for you to do the same you are expecting him to do. 

We have to act like the sun. Try with love, not with harshness.
We have to think outside the box.

We have to do something totally different from what we are used to do.
Not more of the same thing, but a different thing.
Totally different thing for us!

If up until today we used to frown, sour-face and give the silent treatment, thinking outside the box would most probably means doing something that is not as comfortable for us. After all we are not used to it.

It’ll probably mean to be soft, smile and talk: let him know you would like to get flowers for Shabbat, and even do “the unthinkable” and text to remind him.


You will get so much more:

  1.    You’ll have flowers for Shabbat.
  2.    You won’t be angry anymore.
  3.    You’ll have a good mood.
  4.    Your spouse won’t be upset anymore.
  5.    Your spouse will have a good mood.
  6.    Your relationship would improve tremendously.
  7.    You learned a new skill (that works much better).

Can you think of more?


Now that we understand a little better the concept of thinking outside the box, here’s a challenge: Connect all of the 9 dots in one continuance line without lifting your pencil off the paper.

Send me your answer via email to smadarprager@gmail.com, and I’ll send you the solution in return.