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 is frequently thrown around the workplace, and oft-mentioned in self-help books. Thinking outside of the box usually can often create unique solutions to some of our most common problems. But, it is not always as easy as it may sound.
Each of us is creative in our own way, but it can be difficult to tap into this creativity within if our minds are constrained by the pressures of life, time, or judgments. For this reason, some people may have difficulty thinking outside the box because it involves going outside of our snug and comfortable comfort zones.
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 previously set as your boundaries. When you do this, you will begin to unlock new ways of thinking and unique solutions to some of those nagging issues that plague you. 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 self-imposed 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 is not 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 begin to dismantle some of your 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 “conventional wisdom,” or asking some of those 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 light.
Do you think that Albert Einstein or Alexander Graham Bell stuck to conventional thinking? Of course not! They took their thinking to entirely new levels in order to discover theories and bring to life their inventions that changed the course of the world.
The key lesson here is that if something does not work well, you need to keep your mind open to thinking about it from another, different angle. Turn the page upside down if you have to! You have the ability to test and tweak most things until it is just the right fit and feel for you. Stop beating yourself up at every misstep! Mistakes and failures, as long as we learn from them, are necessary parts of 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 and depth
- Envisioning the value of some far-out ideas
- Pushing to create new, improved ways of getting things done
- Always, always, always showing respect for the opinions and ideas of others
It may be a challenge in the beginning to see the world in a new sort of way, but it is far from impossible.
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 your proverbial box.