The phrase “think outside the box” is a cliché that has been abused by a lot of people who just say it without even understanding what it means. However, thinking outside the box is still relevant advice for business owners and leaders. This is because thinking outside the box gives you a different and often better perspective about things. Therefore, you have to know how to think outside the box.
If you are someone who is just starting a business, you may have been told countless times to “think outside the box”.
But no one ever tells you how to do it.
So, it is not surprising that you are wondering what you need to do to think outside the box.
Thankfully, this article has been written to help you understand things better.
Here, 12 practical tips that will help you to start thinking outside the box will be discussed.
But first, let’s take a look at the meaning of this phrase, as well as, other important things to ensure you understand all that will be discussed in this article.
What Does It Mean to Think Outside the Box – How to Think Outside the Box
To think outside the box means to think differently or from another perspective.
It means being able to consider several methods and solutions to solve a problem or reach a goal.
Thinking outside the box means being innovative and creative.
When you think outside the box, you would take a different often unconventional path to solve a problem or reach a goal.
This means that you won’t apply the same approach that every other person has applied.
Instead, you would approach the problem/goal from a new and creative perspective.
Reasons You Should Think Outside the Box – How to Think Outside the Box
Thinking outside the box is sort of cliché in the business world.
It is almost like everywhere you turn; you are being told to think outside the box.
But have you ever paused to think why?
Have you ever wondered why everyone in the business world is so concerned with thinking differently?
Well, there are so many reasons thinking differently is encouraged in the business world.
Being able to think outside the box can positively impact your business.
Let’s see some of the reasons why thinking outside the box is important and why you should do it too.
It Lets You Question Conventional Ideas
One of the best things about thinking outside the box is it allows you to explore other possibilities.
Thinking outside the box makes people question conventional ideas and the status quo.
And this is a great thing because it encourages innovation and improvement.
Imagine if no one ever challenged the way things are done.
In such a world, there would be no development or improvement.
Everything would remain stagnant because nobody will think of questioning how things are done.
When you think outside the box, you won’t be limited to the status quo.
You will be able to challenge things and come up with a better way to get them done.
You Will Come Up with Creative Ways to Solve Problems
Thinking outside the box makes you free to explore endless opportunities and possibilities.
This way, your ability to come up with creative solutions to problems will significantly increase.
Supports Growth and Success – How to Think Outside the Box
When you are not limited in your thinking, you tend to grow faster than those who are.
If you think exactly like everyone else, you will have a limited approach to things.
You most likely won’t be different from every other person.
Because just like them, there’s also a limit on your achievement since you have a limited number of approaches to get things done.
But when you have several means of getting something done, you will get to your goals faster.
While others are still trying to use the conventional approach, you would have thought of a better and faster approach to reach your goals.
You also get to stand out from the crowd.
That in itself will help you become more successful than your peers.
Visit here to learn other ways to make your business stand out.
Wider Perspective – How to Think Outside the Box
Despite how big the world is, it can start to look small if you do not open your mind.
But when you think outside the box, your worldview will become broader.
This will give you a wider and better perspective that will change everything for you.
You will no longer be limited in your thoughts.
You’d be able to see things from several viewpoints.
It Makes it Easier for You to Adapt to Changes
Change is one thing is will always be constant in life.
You cannot avoid change regardless of what you do or the kind of business you run.
At one point or the other, change will come and how you react to it will determine whether your business will survive the change or not.
If you can’t adapt to change, your business might be badly affected.
But if you adapt to the change, you will thrive even when others are going under.
This is why being able to think outside the box is important.
When you think differently, it will be easier for you to adapt to changes.
Because you’ll have a wide perspective and you won’t have a close mind to new things and ideas, you’d be able to navigate the change better.
Being different may be scary and all, but it comes with several benefits.
So, you should not be scared or timid to be different.
12 Easy Yet Effective Tips on How to Think Outside the Box
The following are some easy and effective tips that can help you think outside the box so that you reach your full potential.
1. Let Go of Your Fear
It may be hard for you to start thinking outside the box because it will make you question a lot of your current beliefs.
This is especially true if you are the kind of person that finds it difficult to let go of old habits.
You may be afraid or shy to leave your comfort zone.
The thought of going down an unfamiliar road may send shivers down your spine.
However, as you have seen in the section above, thinking outside the box is very beneficial.
The last thing you want to do is deprive yourself of these benefits just because you are scared.
Yes, you may fail, get rejected, and encounter several obstacles and setbacks as you go down this path.
But these are merely stepping stones to success.
If you keep at it, you will eventually achieve your goals.
It is better to try out something new than stay stagnant in your comfort zone.
2. Study Another Industry
You can think outside the box by studying an industry different from yours.
Remember, seeking different perspectives is the whole point of thinking outside the box.
You never can tell what piece of information you can pick from somewhere else.
Other industries may have problems that are similar to what you face in your industry.
But they may have different approaches and solutions to these problems.
Who knows, you might find something you can finetune and use to do things differently in your industry.
Sometimes, you may even discover a link between your industry and the other one.
This can lead to partnerships that no one else has thought of.
And just like that, you can become a pacesetter in two industries.
3. See Things from a Different Angle – How to Think Outside the Box
Try to see things from a different angle at all times; try to reconceptualize things and come up with new strategies and plans.
There are so many ways to reconceptualize.
For instance, you can turn something upside down.
You can do this either figuratively or literally.
What does it mean to turn something upside down?
Okay, let’s say you have a picture and instead of looking at it the right way, you flip it upside down.
Now, with the picture turned upside down, you get to see the picture in a different light.
If you wanted to draw the picture, turning it upside down may make drawing it easier.
This is because your brain would now process it based on its makings and not what is actually there.
You can do this same thing figuratively; in your mind.
Let’s say you want to solve a problem.
Instead of addressing it the normal way, work backward to solve it.
For instance, instead of thinking of the steps to solve a problem, consider the best solution to the problem.
When you have the solution, you can then think of the steps that would lead you to it.
Flipping things upside down or working backward makes your brain see other subtle parts of a thing that it would have otherwise ignored.
4. Learn Something New – How to Think Outside the Box
When you learn something new, you don’t just gather new facts, you also learn new aspects of the world that you did not know.
You will have new knowledge about the world, society, and regular everyday life.
This will broaden your perspective and make you aware of new ways to do things.
So, start that online course you have always wanted to start.
Take a class.
Read about something you never knew.
Do anything you can to keep broadening your knowledge.
5. Study Another Religious/ Learn the Beliefs of Others – How to Think Outside the Box
For most people, religion is not just a means of connecting with a supernatural being.
It is also a way people organize their relationships with other people.
When you know the religion and beliefs of other people, you can understand how they relate with both the world and the people around them.
Another benefit you can derive from studying another religion is mental flexibility.
Your eyes and mind will open up to the different ways other people see the world.
You may realize how limited your knowledge has been so far.
Other aspects of your life can also benefit from this eye-opening experience.
Daydreaming may seem like something unproductive people use to waste their time.
But do you know that you can think differently by daydreaming?
It may come as a shock to you but your mind can recall information and form new patterns when you daydream.
When you daydream, you open your mind to several possibilities.
It can help you see new approaches that you otherwise would not have thought of.
Some people even conceive their best ideas when they daydream.
When daydreaming, do not allow any distractions; switch off your TV, phone, and computer.
Taking away these distractions will make it a lot easier to rest your brain and relax in your thoughts.
The most ideal time to daydream is before you leave your bed in the morning or before you to sleep at night.
You can also take a walk or shower when daydreaming.
7. Change Your Routine
If you are finding it difficult to think outside the box, then maybe it’s time for you to switch it up a bit.
For some people, routines tend to hold back their creativity.
So, getting away from your routines can be what you need to produce more creative juice.
Leave your comfort zone and do something new.
Do things differently so that you can think differently.
Alternatively, you can come up with a creativity ritual.
This means something you do to boost your ability to think creatively.
For instance, you can decide to go for a walk or take a shower.
There’s said to be a link between these two activities and increased creativity.
So, whenever you feel stuck and you need to get your creativity up and running, consider doing any of these activities (or even both).
Another thing you can do is to create a psychological boundary between your everyday routine and your creativity time.
You can use a simple activity to set this boundary.
After doing your everyday routine, do this activity to psychologically distance yourself from that aspect of your day, so you can get into your creative time.
8. Eliminate Negativity – How to Think Outside the Box
If you are being negative, you won’t be able to think outside the box.
Your mindset goes a long way in determining what you can and can’t do.
If you think you cannot think creatively, you won’t.
Likewise, if you keep condemning all the ideas you come up with, they would never be good enough.
So, instead of being negative, try to eliminate negative thoughts from your mind.
Instead of thinking “I can’t”, think “I can and I will”.
Replace negative ideas and thoughts with positive ones.
Do not be the person to bring yourself down, instead be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself every step of the way.
9. Talk to a Child – How to Think Outside the Box
Children are the best at thinking outside the box.
Because of this, they may speak in a way that can be helpful to you.
So, speak to a child when you have a problem you can’t figure out.
Explain the problem to them in a way they would understand and ask them what they would do in this scenario.
The idea behind this tip is not to do exactly what the kid tells you.
The essence of doing this is to kickstart your thoughts so that you can be more creative and unconventional with them.
10. Spend Time with Creative People – How to Think Outside the Box
Another way you can make yourself think creatively is to spend time with creative people.
The people you spend time with often contribute to the kind of person you are.
If you want to think outside the box, hang out with people who think outside the box.
With time, their thinking pattern will rub off on you and you’d start to think like them too.
11. Be Attentive to the Ideas of Other People
As you try to come up with your ideas, it might also help to listen to that of others.
When you do this, you will be able to see things in a different light and think differently.
You will have places to draw motivation from when working on your problems.
This is because you will learn the other person’s thinking pattern and how they approach problems.
When observing another person’s idea, do not be judgmental but curious.
You’re not observing the idea to be the judge of it but to learn from it.
You can also learn from the mistakes of other innovators.
Study their ideas and see which ones were successful and which ones failed.
Consider the practices they used to encourage themselves to think outside the box.
12. Stay Sharp
Once you develop the ability to think outside the box, you also need to maintain it.
If you don’t, you may lose the skill.
So, do things to maintain your creativity even when no situation or problem requires creative thinking.
This way, when you suddenly have a problem and you need to think outside the box, it won’t be too hard for you to do so.
Things like alphabetizing words can help you keep your brain in shape.
Alphabetizing words simply means rearranging the letters in a word alphabetically.
So, the word OUTSIDE will become D-E-I-O-S-T-U.
This exercise is great for keeping your creativity top-notch because it allows you to do something different with all the given information.
Conclusion on How to Think Outside the Box
Being able to think outside the box is something every business owner should be capable of.
This is because it opens ways to new possibilities and opportunities that can be used to push a business forward.
While some business owners have the inherent ability to think creatively and differently, others do not.
Those that fall into the second category have to learn how to think outside the box.
And even those that have the inherent ability to do this also need to brush up their creative-thinking skills occasionally.
Luckily, both groups can apply the various techniques in this article to achieve their goals.