I can remember a time when I thought the phrase “think outside the box” meant something vastly different. Many moons ago, I believed to think outside the box meant you had to be drastically differently, it had to be so wild and out there, genius. At the same time I also held the belief that being different, thinking differently in any shape or form would lead to rejection, exile from my family, peers and community.
Witnessing my mother being treated unkindly simply for not living inside the box, drove me to deny and reject any notion of “outside the box”. My untrained, undeveloped mind could not embrace the beauty of thinking outside the box and what it truly meant to do so, I stifled any thought or idea that deviated from the norm or anything unconventional (by the status quo).
So how does one go from rejecting being different to embracing and living life thinking outside the box? First is understanding the definition of what it means to think outside the box.
Thinking outside the box is defined as, thinking creatively, exploring ideas, unusual, not limited to or controlled by rules and tradition; from a new perspective, unconventional thinking.The latter had the greatest impact keeping me in the box I unconsciously created, unconventional was my nemesis. So what changed? What shifted? It wasn’t magical or a big aha moment. For me the shift happened as I lived more mindfully, a gradual embracing of different, unusual. A realization that everything was limitless and it was safe for me to think and do things differently, the unconventional way. This was a game-changer for me, not only did I embrace thinking outside the box, I began to experience more success in my personal and business life.
Here’s how you can get to thinking outside the box mindfully and experiencing more success in your life.
There is a saying that noticing is the richest form of learning, which I found to be true. Living mindfully is about being completely present, which inevitably leads to noticing. First subtle differences but soon after I started to see differences everywhere and in everything. The awareness allowed for embracing the differences being observed externally as well as within.
Being open to different outcomes from the one anticipated is a form of embracing being different. This for me has been a game-changer and something I am still working on embracing. Letting go of an outcome and accepting that it could and probably will be different leads to not only success but increased happiness.
Notice, let go of expectations, be open to a different result.
I used to believe that thinking outside the box had to be something out of this world, vastly different, radical even. However, thinking outside the box is not necessarily synonymous to any of these.
Thinking outside the box does not have to be far-fetched, vastly different or even radical; it can simply be seeing things from someone else’s perspective or as I like to say, borrowing someone else’s glasses and looking through their lens. An alternate view or thinking about things from another angle is just as impactful
See things from someone else’s perspective, look at things through another pair of lens
To think outside the box is easier than you think using any or all of these practical steps.
- Take a walk
By taking a walk in nature, being full present, noticing your surroundings, you practice present awareness. This helps to clear the mind, cultivate inner calm and expands your thought process.
- Rest to gain a fresh perspective
We underestimate and neglect the power of rest. Our thinking, judgement, productivity and moods are negatively affected back lack of rest. By taking time to rest you allow yourself the opportunity to give your mind a chance to pause and refresh, so it works more efficiently, think creatively, explore ideas and innovate.
- Journaling – Writing
Journaling is a therapeutic activity, a way to explore and expand unconventional thoughts and ideas. I like to think of journaling as doing a brain dump and find the practice very helpful in coming up with solutions and exploring ideas. Also, journaling can develop your thinking ability deeper and lead to more quality ideas. As you write you are using words which help to train your thinking. My favorite reason for this recommendation is that it helps to simplify your thoughts, sometimes to think outside the box you need to stop overthinking, get out of that tangled web of thoughts. You can simplify your thoughts critique them individually, add to those, ditch what you want or expand upon them.
Declutter your mind, walk rest, write.
Whether it is a business or personal goal you want to achieve, an issue you are stuck on resolving, embrace and take steps to think outside the box. Until next time, whatever you do, make a difference in you own way!