It’s often said that in order to become better at solving problems or be more creative, we have to be willing to think outside the box.
What this means is sometimes our usual way of thinking may not get us to the result or solution we are looking for, so we have to do things we don’t normally do.
Thinking “inside the box” refers to a predictable way of evaluating things. When we are thinking inside the box, it can stifle our creativity, delay the completion of tasks or projects, and fail to generate new ideas.
On the other hand, thinking outside the box can:
- Lead to new innovative ideas or solutions.
- Generate new levels of excitement or enthusiasm.
- Accelerate the achievement of goals.
- Develop higher levels of confidence.
- Help us become better problem solvers.
If thinking outside the box has many advantages, how do we it?
Here’s a good example of thinking outside the box that was published in the Huffington Post. A young college graduate, with a degree in marketing, did not have success looking for a job the conventional way, which was to send a cover letter and a copy of his resume when applying for jobs.
In order to change his luck, he went to a train station and stood inside holding a sign stating his qualifications and to ask for his resume. He gave copies of his resume to those that requested one and it didn’t take long before he was able to find a job that he was looking for.
As a way of paying back, he went back to the train station months later and held up a sign that said, “Now I’m hiring.” He did that to give hope to those who were in a similar situation as he was only months earlier. Thinking outside the box can often lead to unexpected discoveries or opportunities.
5 Ways to Think Outside the Box in Order to be More Creative
- Read publications from other industries. A good way to generate new ideas is to find out what’s the latest news in other industries. Oftentimes, those in other industries or professions may have had unique challenges and it’s always interesting to find out how they dealt and overcame those challenges.
- Enrol in a class that’s not related to anything you do. In order to gain new perspectives, we have to generate new experiences. For example, if someone has a business challenge, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be thinking about enrolling in a cooking class or taking music lessons. However, being in those environments can trigger new thoughts, which can lead to solutions to their challenges.
- Ask someone for advice that you wouldn’t normally. A common mistake people make is think that no one will or can understand what they’re going through. There’s a good chance that no matter what we’re facing, someone has already been through something similar. Sometimes asking a young child or teenager can provide new, unexpected ideas, which can end up being extremely beneficial to us.
- Be spontaneous and trust your intuition. Creativity is always available to us if we put ourselves in a position to become aware of it. Rather than doing things the way we would normally do, sometimes it’s good to break up the routine and just follow what we’re inspired to do. Listening to the quiet voice within can often lead to unexpected but pleasant surprises.
- Volunteer your time or expertise. It’s often said that those who give the most, gain the most. Whenever we’re willing to help those who may not be as fortunate as us, something magical always happens. It can be in a conversation with someone or it can be something we see as we’re helping out. Volunteering will also connect us to people who can provide ideas that can spark our creativity.
There is a saying, “If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten.” In order to generate new ideas, spark new innovation or creativity, and achieve new results, we have to be willing to try different things. The ideas suggested above will help us think differently and get us to where we want to be faster and more effectively.
Question: What is another way for us to think outside the box?
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