Being a creative person is a must for success in any field. Whether you are an entrepreneur, writer, artist or even a scientist, you will always require creativity to come up with new ideas, solve problems, and create unique solutions. However, it can be challenging to be creative day-in and day-out without a proper framework or process. In this article, we will discuss how to be more creative by thinking outside the box.
What does thinking outside the box mean?
Thinking outside the box means to think in an unconventional way or to approach a problem from a different angle. This term was coined from a 9-dot puzzle that required drawing four straight lines to connect all the dots without lifting the pencil. The term gained popularity as a metaphor for thinking creatively and breaking down the limitations of the conventional or known patterns of thinking.
What can thinking outside the box help you with?
Thinking outside the box can help you to solve problems creatively, come up with unique products, create new business ideas, plan projects effectively, set goals, and organize events. It can improve your ability to brainstorm new ideas for products and services, and even help you with household repairs.
Steps to thinking outside the box
You can follow the steps mentioned below to start thinking outside the box.
1. Turn off your filter
Our internal filter often filters our ideas and the thought process even before they see the light of day. When you are trying to think creatively, turn off the filter and let your mind wander freely. This will help you to come up with more ideas without self-judgment.
2. Create now, criticize later
Don’t judge the quality of your ideas while you are creating them. This will limit your thinking and restrict your creativity. Instead, make a list of all your ideas first and then filter them later.
3. Go off on tangents
Let your creative process go where it needs to go. If you start thinking about new business ideas while trying to come up with solutions for a personal problem, let it go. Sometimes, the path less traveled may lead to the best ideas.
4. Create time and space for creating
Make sure to set aside a specific time to think creatively. This will help you focus better and channel your creativity in the right direction. If necessary, schedule a meeting with a group to brainstorm ideas together.
5. Start with a focal point
Have some focus and perspective on the problem, project or business idea you are working on. This will help your mind to stay focused and generate ideas that are more relevant and useful.
6. Create ideas for a set amount of time
Set a timer for 5-25 minutes and generate as many ideas as you can within that time frame. This will help you to stay focused and productive.
7. Take a small break
Take a break after generating ideas to clear your mind and recharge your creativity.
8. Critique and Organize
After generating ideas, filter them and organize them based on their relevance and usefulness. Critique them to identify the most viable ideas and start working on them.
Tools to help you think outside the box
There are several tools you can use to help you think outside the box, including mind-mapping software, outlining tools, paper and pens, and a whiteboard with erasable markers.
Dealing with Criticism
Criticism is a part of the creative process. It helps us to refine our ideas and identify strengths and weaknesses. However, criticism can also be a demotivating factor if not dealt with properly. Here are some tips to deal with criticism:
1. Write down the criticism separately
When you have an idea and want to criticize it, write down the idea and the criticism on separate papers. This will help you to free your mind from any negative feedback, as well as keep the idea for later consideration.
2. Have a creative thinking leader
Choose someone to lead the creative thinking process and keep the criticism in check. This person will help to guide the process and keep everyone focused on generating new ideas, rather than critiquing them.
3. Keep the idea on the back burner
If criticism is too harsh, put the idea on the “back-burner” and come back to it later. If it still seems like a bad idea, discard it and move on with a new one.
To wrap up
Thinking outside the box is important for anyone who wants to be successful in their chosen field. By following the above steps, you can generate creative ideas and solve complex problems with ease. Remember, creativity is not limited to any one field – it is essential for any entrepreneur and knowledge worker, artist and anyone looking for growth or success.