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How to Think Outside Your Box

Have you ever allowed your imagination to take over so you could think outside the box?

When I was a child, I pretended I was a spaceman. I’m sure my backyard adventures were inspired by watching the exploits of Flash Gordon on the TV series in the 1950's.

I would collect a couple cardboard boxes and build a space ship. I would crawl inside the biggest box and slouch down to begin my space travels as I closed the lid over my head.

While inside the box, I would imagine outside the box, traveling to unknown planets among the stars. I was just being a kid, thinking and imagining without boundaries.

Boy in box dressed like superhero to show how to think outside your box.

Much has been written about thinking outside the box from a business management and success standpoint. This phrase is used to indicate creatively thinking about a problem from a different perspective and doing so without boundaries. Brainstorming is a tool often used to gather ideas outside the box.

Outside Your Personal Box

In reality, thinking outside the box is thinking outside your personal box, outside your mindset at the time. The term “mindset” indicates our minds have set patterns, ways of thinking formed over the years. Mindsets are inherently limiting.

Be a personal brainstormer open to new ideas.

When sitting in a brainstorming session in a business environment, we can participate easily in the free flow of ideas from associates. But thinking and brainstorming outside your personal box is more challenging. Ironically, developing a mindset of thinking outside your box is needed.

Adopting an Open Mindset

To think outside your box, you need to adopt a mindset of unlimited possibilities embracing an openness to whole new experiences. Be a mental and emotional brain stormer open to new ideas, and unwilling to automatically discard ideas.

Enhance this mindset by getting comfortable with the unexpected, doing new things, and experiencing new people and places. Eliminate the internal or external naysayers that always advise caution.

Implications for Setting Goals

This way of thinking has implications for the way you approach goalsetting. Setting goals and objectives is inherently creating a box within which certain actions take place. The key phrase to remember is “mindful flexibility,” the ability to always be alert in the present to consider new and different ways to accomplish the same goals as things change.

Spiritual Implications

There are spiritual implications to this way of thinking. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament that foretold parts of Jesus’ life, leaves no doubt Jesus not only acted outside the box, he created a whole new box, a gift box of eternal proportions that revolutionized the world.

Like the cardboard box I slouched in as a child that allowed me to imagine boundless possibilities, the box each of us can claim, and act upon as believers, is only bound by God’s boundless riches.

Additional reading:

Listen to God’s Words

I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. (1 Kings 3:12)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)

Also read: Luke 1:37, Romans 2:1, 1 Corinthians 3:18

In the Words of Others

“Big ideas come from forward thinking people who challenge the norm, think outside the box, and invent the world they see inside rather than submitting to the limitations of current dilemmas.” J. D. Jakes

“It’s easier to think outside the box if you don’t draw one around yourself.” Jason Kravits

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem

Think About It

  • Recall when you thought outside your box. What process did you follow? How did you become a personal brain stormer?

  • Think of times when you tried to be creative and your internal naysayer started naysaying. Recall your self-talk.

  • Have there been times when you prayed for a solution and things unexpectedly worked out? Were you also brainstorming yourself at the time? How did you feel about that?

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