One way to survive and thrive in these times is to think more, think deep and think differently. There are so many distractions these days that we find it extremely difficult to think. Henry Ford described thinking as the hardest job to do. With the multitude of problems and questions around us, the world is looking for people who have solutions and answers. Are you aware that some people are paid to think up ideas? Consultants are paid to think. They sell ideas – products of their thoughts.
Thinking-Outside-The-Box simply means thinking differently, creatively or welcoming new ideas.The box is a metaphor – directly represents (In-the –box thinking) the current, and often unnoticed, assumptions about a situation. Creative thinking acknowledges and rejects the accepted paradigm to come up with new ideas.
As I researched this concept, I came across an article with insights. The article states 10 things you must do to think outside the box as follows;
1. Determine what the box is – Your “box” is your normal way of doing and looking at things. Most times, we simply accept the status quo. We have to identify the ‘box’, adopt a mind-set to always look for a better way in everything and to believe that one exists.
2. Challenge assumptions – Assumption is the lowest level of knowledge. Consciously look at things differently. Be aware of what you take for granted and open up to new ideas.
3. Avoid being in a routine – Maintain an active open mind. Look for how to break away from a predictable, monotonous way of doing things. Takes personal discipline.
4. Focus on the value of finding new ideas – Dismiss the idea that “there’s really nothing new under the sun.” On the contrary, the world changes daily. Looking for and finding new ideas are not a waste of time. Rather, it can serve as the creative catalyst to enhance your life with new possibilities and new solutions as an entrepreneur.
5. Don’t be afraid – Fear, apathy and indifference can turn a creative person into an in-the-box thinker. It takes courage to test your assumptions and apply your imagination to expand how you look at things.
6. Explore that ‘strange ‘idea’ – Go ahead; execute your unusual ideas after you have done a feasibility study, not a test of popular opinion. Whether it works or not, you would have learnt a valuable lesson.
7. Listen to others – Listen well to others to tap into the feedback, ideas, suggestions, and possible solutions. Listening does not mean agreeing. Diversity inspires creativity. This also implies reading relevant books written by great minds; Bill Gates’ Business@The Speed of Thought, Les Brown’s Live Your Dreams, Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity (An autobiography). When you listen to great minds or read books written by them, you are bound to receive inspired ideas for your own life or business.
8. Accept more than one solution – In reality, most situations and problems can have more than one solution. Too many people believe that THEIR solution is THE only solution to a particular set of circumstances. Most situations, however, involve a multiplicity of issues, rather than a single problem and, likewise, entail a multiplicity of potential solutions. Having an open mind, being creative, and recasting a specific problem in a variety of ways can lead to a number of possible solutions – all of which can be helpful.
9. Use your brain – To think outside the box, you must be a critical thinker. You shouldn’t do something in a particular way just because that’s the way you’ve always done it or the way everybody else does it. To solve problems, consider new information, or process new ideas. Let your brain sweat. Make mental efforts.
10. Make time to be creative – Although everyday creative people tend to create as a matter of course, most individuals who opt to be creative need to make a conscious effort to see the world in new ways and need to be open to do things differently. Such an effort requires a commitment of both energy and time. If you can afford it, travel outside Nigeria, out of Africa, if possible to Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and Asia to see the way people think and express themselves. Watch movies with a sense of learning curiosity.