Thinking Outside the Box

Outside the Box

“You don’t just think outside the box, you don’t even know there is a box!” Madam Secretary (TV Series 2014 – )


“Thinking outside the box” is not a cliché in my opinion. Nor is it a buzzword, a platitude, a bromide, a truism, a catchphrase, or many other more names it has been called. The misusage or overuse of this metaphor might have triggered its depreciation.

Outside the Box Thinking can make the difference in a business situation, like in any other life situation. I am still not sure if thinking beyond the box is something you can train or if you are ‘genetically programmed’ to enjoy lateral thinking. Children are however the best example of outside the box thinkers. Ask a child for advice whenever you face an apparently dead-end situation and you will be amazed by the fresh perspective it brings into the equation! Since all children seem to genuinely think outside the box, I tend to believe that for some of us something went wrong along the way to maturity … a strict education, a tight framework, a rigid family, an over severe school, a stiff entourage, other constraints … you name it …

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” Roger Lewin

As a consequence, I cannot tell to what extent further life happenings teaches one to re-empower his creative thinking and unconventional approach. But I definitely hope that some skills can be re-acquired, developed or willingly trained.

You may now want to take a reading break and solve the “nine dots” puzzle, which has originated the ‘outside the box thinking’ term back in the 70s and 80s.

Thinking Outside The Box


Outside the Box Thinking relates well to:

  • Thinking beyond obvious things
  • Considering a new perspective
  • Lateral thinking
  • Creative solutions
  • Brainstorming
  • Challenging yourself
  • Daydreaming
  • Embracing team ideas
  • Working backwards
  • Getting unstuck
  • Exploring
  • Re-conceptualizing a problem
  • Considering a worst case scenario

Outside the Box Thinking does NOT mean:

  • Taking uncalculated risks
  • Making assumptions
  • Dismissing others’ opinions
  • Boldly embracing change of plans
  • Blindly innovating
  • Improvising
  • Breaking rules
  • Encouraging rebel behaviors
  • Making wasteful investments
  • Getting defensive

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” Henri-Louis Bergson

Featured photographer & copyright: Geraldine Aresteanu

Posted in Fun(tastic), Knowledge and tagged , .

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