What does it mean to think outside the box? Thinking outside the box means that you cast off the atmosphere that envelops you, step out of the box, leave all your experiences, mindsets and attitudes behind and start to view things from a completely different perspective: outside of the box; unfiltered, unbiased, open to suggestions, willing to empathize with others opinions, but also ready to swim against the flood and to think what no one else has ever thought of. It also means that you leave everything behind you thought you would know and start to approach specific situations and problems from a completely different point of view than you did before. Unconventional thinking leads to incredible new possibilities
The ability to think outside the box requires above all one thing: creativity. Especially creative people have discovered the approach to “think outside the box” as an immense advantage for various facets of their lives, often as a characteristic that helps them to earn a living.
How then do you think outside the box?
- Slip into a new role
Thinking outside the box is all about changing your perspective and slipping into the role of another person can support you thereby. You don’t necessarily have to slip into the role of your parents, friends, colleagues and neighbors, as most of them might have pretty similar knowledge and opinions about the world as you have.
By slipping into a new role you can change your perspective and the way you think about things drastically. You can feel free to take yourself some minutes to let your gaze wander through your environment and to discover all the new things you didn’t even notice before. If you are sitting in your living room you could pick up whatever looks interesting to you and discover the item all over again. You might even notice something about this item that you haven’t known until this moment.
- Take another route
Creativity is an essential aspect of thinking outside the box as it allows you to come up with completely different solutions to address a problem. The following exercise will help you to stimulate your creativity and encourage you to find another solution to accomplish a task:
- Take out a piece of paper
- Write down a challenging task
- Write down precisely how you intent to accomplish the task
Thinking outside the box, however, means that you do not follow given instructions and mandatory paths, which is why you will have to accomplish your challenging task without doing what you intended to do. An altered version of this task would be to set yourself a challenging task and then to try to come up with as many different solutions to accomplish it. Try to push yourself whenever you are being stuck during this exercise to find some more solutions.
- Step into another world
Stepping into another world is one of the most efficient ways to change your perspective and to discover insights that remained completely unknown to you.
Find a new hobby
Meet new people
Gather knowledge about topics that interest you
Study a new language etc.
There are so many ways to step into a completely different world, for example by going to a library. Not only that the environment of a library is completely different from our hectic business environment, but you can also gather so much knowledge on a variety of different topics. Stepping into another world, in general, allows you to look at problems differently, which will also increase the possible solutions that start to come up.
- Ask your child
Children are wonderful, especially as they are often used to think outside the box, as they haven’t even heard of the possible solution, which forces them to come up with their own ideas before someone shows them how it is done. Just give it a try by simplifying a problem and get inspired by the creativeness of their thoughts. However, a child will not be able to solve your problem, but it can be the source of inspiration and give you some valuable ideas that you will have to enhance.
Reframing can also help you to step out of your box and to view things outside of the box; from another perspective. Don’t think in routines, Reframing gives you the possibility to change the meaning of a situation, task or problem. In general: it allows you to choose what it means for you, which gives you the freedom to change your point of view.
- Question things
Start to question things and do not accept these as predetermined straight away. Don’t take the facts your teachers, professors, and experts present you as ultimately correct or the one and only truth. Make it a habit of questioning things and discovering new and even better solutions or facts about things.
- Trial and Error
The willingness to try things out does not only require courage but also the inner readiness to fail and to make a mistake. Whenever you are ready to search for the solution of a problem you have the chance to discover a way to solve whatever problem you face. However, if you are not willing to try you won’t find a solution, never. Mistakes are another great way to view things from another perspective, in fact: recognizing a mistake as an opportunity you can learn from in order to avoid it the next time is nothing else than outside of the box thinking. So many mistakes have helped people in many different ways, whenever they were ready to view it from another perspective. The next time you make a mistake, approach it positively: you can gain some new experiences, avoid similar mistakes the next time and you know what works not.