Learning to “Think Outside the Box”

By Martina McGowan | Small Business

Learning to “Think Outside the Box” image 3119555690 8bcf69cb67Learning to “Think Outside the Box”

Don’t think outside the box;

think like there is no box!


Have you ever heard the saying, “Think outside the box?” Of course you have. It is a saying that has been thrown around in the workplace and in countless self-help books. Thinking outside of the box usually can often create unique solutions to the most unusual of problems, but it is not always as easy as it may sound. Every person is creative, but it can be difficult to tap into the creativity within you if their minds are constrained by the pressures of life, time, or judgments. For this reason, some people may have difficulty thinking outside the box since it involves going outside of their snug and comfortable comfort zone.

Stepping off the familiar path

Thinking outside of the box means that you are leaving the realm of familiarity by going beyond what you have established as your boundaries. When you do this, you will begin to unlock new ways of thinking and unique solutions to some of those nagging problems. Other people may look at your ideas with a certain amount of skepticism or disbelief, but this is usually because it is also outside of their comfort zones as well! But that is all okay, because you are a trailblazer.

So how do you go about leaving the familiar path and stepping outside of the box to think? You do it by expanding your comfort zone. Right now, you are trapped in a labyrinth of confined thinking. This is because each of us has been trained from a young age to think and act in a particular way. In reality, there isn’t only one way to think about things. There are countless ways and avenues for getting things done! This is precisely why you need to keep an open mind and remove all barriers.

You can learn how to develop the desire to be, think and act differently than everyone else, but it will require that you to do some things that you may feel uncomfortable doing. Like what, for example? Speaking up in a crowd, going against common wisdom, or asking questions that no one else is willing to ask. It may feel a bit unnerving at first, but it is indeed the only way to expand your comfort zone and learn to begin to see things in a new way.

Do you think that Albert Einstein or Alexander Graham Bell stuck to conventional wisdom? Of course not! They took their thinking to entirely new levels in order to discover theories and bring to life their inventions that have changed the course of the world.

The key lesson here is that if something does not work well, you need to remain open to thinking about it from another angle. Turn the page upside down if you have to! Always keep in mind that you can test and tweak things until it is just the right fit and feel. Do not beat yourself up if you make a mis-step, because mistakes and failures are necessary for significant growth and improvement.

Characteristics of thinking in a new way

There are certain characteristics associated with thinking outside the box.

  • Listening to and making the time to evaluate new perspectives
  • Thinking about and discussing topics with more substance
  • Envisioning the value of far out ideas
  • Always pushing to create new, improved ways of getting things done
  • Always showing respect for the opinions and ideas of others

It may be a challenge in the beginning to see the world in a whole new way, but it is far from impossible. You need to remember that new ideas need to be nurtured and supported in order for them to flourish. By keeping these things in mind, you are well on your way to accepting the challenge to think and grow outside of the proverbial box.


Photo Credit: benleto via Compfight cc

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