Think outside the box

Think outside the box.

Let’s talk about this idea we have about out-of-the-box thinking. You know, there’s this myth floating around that it’s only for the ‘special’ few. The Da Vincis of the world, the born geniuses. And then there’s the rest of us, too stuck in our ways, too ‘ordinary’ to ever think differently.

But here’s the twist – it’s not about whether we can think outside the box. Of course, we can. 

The real stumper is, why are we so scared to try? What’s holding us back from stepping out of those neatly drawn lines and exploring a bit? 

It’s not a lack of ability, that’s for sure. It’s more about facing that fear of the unknown, of the not-so-ordinary. It’s about asking ourselves, ‘What if?’ and then daring to find the answer.

Think outside the box

The Box Isn’t Safe

Let’s dive a bit deeper into this. Imagine for a second the impact of these misconceptions on our careers, our roles as leaders, and the way we learn. 

It’s like walking through a maze with blinders on. We keep missing turns that could lead to incredible places. We stick to what we know, and sure, it’s comfortable, but think of all the opportunities we’re walking past.

In our careers, when we box ourselves in, we’re not just playing it safe – we’re playing it small. There’s a whole playground of ideas out there. And we’re sitting on the bench because we think we don’t belong in the game. 

Leadership? It’s the same story. Leaders who don’t step out of the box are like captains steering a ship in circles. They’re not exploring new territories, not discovering new lands. They’re just keeping the boat afloat.

And then there’s learning. If we’re not thinking outside the box, we’re just reinforcing what we already know. We’re not expanding, not growing. We’re like a book that never adds new pages.

Here’s a thought that might rattle some cages: Creativity isn’t a special club for the ‘gifted.’ It’s a muscle, and like any muscle, it grows stronger with use. 

You don’t have to be born a Da Vinci. You just have to be willing to see the world a little differently, to ask ‘why not?’ instead of ‘why?’ 

That’s where the magic happens, where we find the paths less traveled, the ideas that change the game. It’s not about being a genius; it’s about being open, curious, and brave enough to try something new. 

That’s where real growth happens, both personally and professionally.

What do we really mean by ‘thinking outside the box’? 

Thinking outside the box is not a fancy phrase for being different. It’s about looking at things from a fresh perspective, questioning the usual way of doing things, and daring to try new approaches. It’s the kind of thinking that doesn’t just accept ‘that’s how it’s always been done’ as a good enough reason.

History is littered with out-of-the-box thinkers. 

Take the Wright brothers, for example. People thought flying was a wild, impossible dream. But they looked beyond what was accepted, tinkered away in their workshop, and guess what? They flew! 

Or consider someone like Steve Jobs. He reimagined what technology could do and how it could fit into our lives.

Now, let’s bring this into the workplace. 

Think about a time when someone suggested a completely new approach to a problem that’s been bugging your team for ages. Maybe it was a different way to organize the office, a unique marketing strategy, or a fresh angle on customer service. These out-of-the-box ideas often lead to breakthroughs, big and small.

And the benefits? 

They’re huge. 

People who think outside the box tend to be more adaptable, more innovative, and often more successful. They’re the ones who don’t just adapt to change; they lead it. They’re not afraid to take risks, and sometimes, those risks pay off in ways nobody could have imagined.

Out-of-the-box thinking isn’t just about being different for the sake of it. It’s about being open to new possibilities, willing to question the status quo, and brave enough to act on your ideas. It drives progress, sparks innovation, and changes the world, one idea at a time.

How to Be Creative in a Boxed Company

You’re in an organization where out-of-the-box thinking isn’t just undervalued; it’s unheard of. Your boss is all about the tried-and-tested, the safe, the predictable. 

What do you do in a place like that?

First, don’t lose your spark. Just because the environment isn’t encouraging doesn’t mean your ideas aren’t valuable. Keep that creative engine running. Jot down your ideas, play with them in your head, or share them with like-minded colleagues. You never know when the opportunity to present them might arise.

Now, here’s a bit of strategy. Start small. 

Introduce your out-of-the-box ideas in bite-sized pieces that don’t sound too radical or overwhelming. Show how these little tweaks can make a big difference. It’s like adding a pinch of new spice to a familiar recipe – not enough to change the dish entirely, but enough to make people notice the improvement.

And then, there’s the art of persuasion. 

Learn to speak the language of your boss. How do your ideas align with the organization’s goals? How can they improve efficiency, customer satisfaction, or the bottom line? Frame your ideas in a way that resonates with what your boss values.

But what if, despite all this, your ideas still hit a wall? 

Well, that’s when you have a decision to make. You can either stay and continue to try to make small changes. Or you can look for an environment that values and nurtures out-of-the-box thinking. The bravest idea is realizing when it’s time to move on to a place where your creativity can truly flourish.

Remember, the world needs out-of-the-box thinkers, even in places where the box seems pretty tightly sealed. 

Your ideas have power. They have value. And whether it’s in your current job or the next one, they have the potential to make a real impact. 

Keep thinking, keep challenging, keep innovating – that’s how change happens.

Start thinking outside the box.

It’s time to stretch those creative muscles, step out of your comfort zone, and see what you’re really capable of. This isn’t just about shaking things up for the sake of it. It’s about discovering new solutions, new ways of doing things, and maybe even a new you.

How do you start? Begin by questioning everything. Why are things done the way they are? Is there a better, faster, more efficient way? Don’t just take the world as it is; imagine how it could be.

Next, surround yourself with inspiration. Read books that challenge your thinking. Talk to people with different perspectives. Dive into areas you know nothing about. The more diverse your inputs, the more creative your outputs.

Then, give yourself permission to fail. Yep, you heard that right. Out-of-the-box thinking means taking risks, and sometimes, those risks won’t pay off. And that’s okay. Every failure is a lesson, a stepping stone to the next great idea.

Here’s something practical: set aside time each week just to think creatively. No distractions, no limitations, just you and your thoughts. It could be as simple as a walk in the park or a quiet hour with a notebook. Use this time to let your mind wander, to explore ideas without the pressure of immediate results.

And finally, act on your ideas. It’s one thing to think creatively, but it’s another to put those thoughts into action. Start with small, manageable projects. Build on them. Learn from them. Grow with them.

Challenge yourself to step out of that box and into a world of possibilities. It’s not just about being different; it’s about making a difference. So go ahead, think outside, around, above, and beyond the box. Who knows what you might discover?

Read: Think Inside the Box