Have you ever heard the saying, “Think outside the box?” Of course you have! It’s a saying that has been thrown around at work and in countless self-help books. Thinking outside the box usually creates unique solutions to the most unusual of problems, but it's not as easy as it sounds.
We are all creative, but it can be difficult to tap into the creativity within us if our minds are constrained by pressures, time, or judgment. For this reason, some of us may have difficulty thinking differently since it involves going outside of our snug comfort zones.
Leaving the Familiar Path Right now, you might be stuck in a maze of confined thinking because we are all trained from a young age to think and act a certain way. Thinking outside the box means you’re leaving the realm of familiarity by going beyond what you have established as your boundary. When you do this, you'll unlock new ways of thinking and create unique solutions to nagging problems. Others may look at your ideas with skepticism or disbelief because the ideas are outside of their comfort zones, as well.
So how do you leave that familiar path and think outside the box? You do it by expanding your comfort zone.You can learn how to develop the desire to be, think and act differently than everyone else, but it requires you to do things you may be uncomfortable doing. For example, speaking up in a crowd, going against common wisdom, or asking questions that no one else asks. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s the only way to expand your comfort zone and see things in a new way. The key lesson here is that if something doesn’t work, you may have to think about it from another angle. Turn the page upside down if you have to! Always remember that you can test and tweak things until it’s just right. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail because failure is necessary for significant growth and improvement.
Characteristics of Thought There are certain characteristics associated with thinking outside the box. This includes:
Listening to and evaluating new perspectives
Thinking about and discussing topics with substance
Envisioning the value of unpredictable or outlandish ideas
Always striving to create new, improved ways to get things done
Respecting the opinions and ideas of others
It may be a challenge to see the world in a whole new way, but it’s not impossible. You may be required to recognize a good idea and be able to act upon it immediately. You also have to know 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 the box.