The ability to think outside the box is more than just a skill—it’s a transformative power that can lead to greater productivity and innovation in our personal and professional lives. I’ve been reading up on this topic and have found several truly interesting resources to share. Below are three different perspectives on thinking out of the box. Drawing from these articles, let’s explore ways to dismantle the ‘walls’ of traditional thinking and kindle an environment where creativity and groundbreaking ideas can thrive.
The Walls of Conventional Thought
Traditional thinking can box us in with invisible walls. I found it helpful that a Forbes article took the tact of naming those walls after characteristics which limit our potential: blame, complaints, defensiveness, and closed-mindedness. It’s helpful to see each of these in the context of 4 walls to a box that you want to break free from.
Recognize The Barriers
The first step is to recognize these barriers. The article defines each to help you do so. Then the work is to consciously strive to release those qualities. You can do this by writing down just 2 or 3 simple changes you can make to get to the productivity and upliftment that await you beyond them. For example, they suggest these four practical starters. Look for how you can:
- Transform blame into a sense of ownership. Owning it is actually good news, because you have the most power here to do something positive about it.
- Pivot from dwelling on problems to devising solutions. Looking for how to solve problems you’re in, with even the smallest positive steps forward, will feel incredibly freeing – and release a lot of energy you may not realize was keeping you down.
- Replace defensiveness with openness to accountability. Again, the best thing for progress is if the ball is in your court. You can gain respect for being accountable, and admiration for being willing to make something better. Defensiveness shuts doors to opportunity and connection.
- Exchange closed-mindedness for a curiosity that welcomes new and diverse perspectives. Innovation relies on being open minded. Curiosity is a great way to test a concept or brainstorm… and it’s THE way great ideas happen.
“Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.” Deepak Chopra
Imagination and Fractal Changes
Venturing outside the box also calls for a ‘radical imagination,’ a concept focused on in a Harvard Business Review article. It’s about challenging the status quo with ‘wonder questions’. Again, the benefits of getting curious. Try frequently asking “I wonder why…”
They introduce fractal changes – the subtle yet impactful shifts in our approach and mindset that impact the big picture. It’s a new perspective that is both simple and radically out of the box!. The article suggests that by focusing on consciously making micro-changes in both our behavior and thought processes, we create a ripple effect that can reshape the larger systems in play.
Thinking outside the box isn’t just a cliché; it’s a vital edge strategy for today’s rapidly changing world. It involves breaking free from traditional patterns, and embracing both radical imagination and impactful fractal changes.
As covered in last month’s blog, the journey of innovative thinking starts with a single step beyond conventional boundaries. If you’re poised to embark on this transformative journey, let’s connect and explore the possibilities together.