Thinking Outside of the Box
When we are able to release our minds from the confines of the norm, we are able to be innovative- to find creative solutions. It is possible to change the way that our brains think and learning to think outside that proverbial box is possible to do!
T. Elmore (2015) explains that, "In short, boxes represent conventional thinking: They are assumptions that confine our creativity and ability to see new options. Of course, some assumptions are necessary. We can’t make it through a day without assuming the traffic light will turn green or that our desk chair will support us when we sit down. But when assumptions become rigid (or, like a box, closed), they can keep us from seeing new possibilities or perspectives."
Elmore (2015) wrote a blog for Psychology Today with an eye on businesses but we can apply those same techniques to free our own creativity:
1. Find mentors outside of your industry
Again, he is looking at this from a business approach. But we can twist this advice to suit our own needs! Find mentors who have different skills or interests than you do. Is there something you don't understand? Find someone who does. They are not confined by the same boxes that you are so they can help you to see from a new perspective.
2. Question everything
We all have routines and things we don't even think about- it's just the norm for us. Question them. Why do you do it? Do you need to? What are some other ways you could accomplish the same thing? Some may seem silly to question but why not? Be silly :)
3. Read books outside your normal field of interest
You might learn something new and discover you even like it.
4. Learn something new everyday
To be successful in anything we need to be teachable. Curious. Open to learning. Intentionally seek new knowledge!
5. Do something strange
"I realize this sounds crazy—but sometimes doing something out of the ordinary can get you out of the box. When Dr. Seuss got stuck while writing, he would go to a secret closet filled with hundreds of hats and wear them till words came" (Elmore, 2015).
6. Learn to combine unrelated ideas
This is the essence of innovation. Can we take two seemingly unrelated things and make a new idea? Elmore suggests trying this exercie: take two unrelated items and come up with ways they can be related. It will help your mind to move in the right direction.
7. Attempt a goal that’s big and different
Challenge yourself. Push yourself beyond the box you've formed around yourself! Think you can't do it? Have you tried? Try again!
Elmore, T. 7 great leaders climb out of the box so how do we climb out of our box?. (2015, April 16). Retrieved April 26, 2015 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/artificial-maturity/201504/7-ways-great-leaders-climb-out-the-box