Why You Need to Think Outside the Box
You’ve undoubtedly heard that it’s a good thing to think outside the box. But what exactly does that mean, why is it a good thing and how can it benefit your career?
Thinking outside the box simply means that you’re willing to consider different solutions and methods for reaching your desired outcome. That is to say: You want to get from point A to point B, but you don’t necessarily need or want to take the tried and true route to get there.
Thinking differently can have a powerful and positive effect on your career. As an entrepreneur, here’s why you need to think outside the box and how it can help you get ahead:
Questioning the status quo is a good thing.
If everyone just accepted things the way they are, then there would never be any innovation or improvement in the world. If Thomas Edison had shrugged and figured things were good enough the way they were with gas lamps, light bulbs and the electricity to power them might never have been developed. If he hadn’t thought outside the box, the world could be a very dim (literally) place.
If you view things as unchangeable, then nothing will ever change for the better. By thinking outside the box and questioning the status quo, you’ll constantly be considering how you could improve an experience, product or service. This allows you to keep growing -- and can lead to intelligent and forward-thinking decisions in business.
The world can become very small if you’re close-minded. Thinking outside the box can expand your worldview, allowing you to have greater perspective on the events and happenings in your career (and in life). When you’re willing to consider alternative points of view and ways of doing things, you’ll be more open to a variety of different points of view and potential solutions.
A greater perspective can make you more receptive to different ideas, which means that you won’t be limited by a small worldview. When you’re open to limitless possibilities, the possibilities are endless!
Super-successful companies have a different approach to company culture. For instance, consider the fashion retailer Zappos. It offers employee perks like free food, complimentary wellness services and even an on-site shoeshine service.
On the one hand, it would be easy to dismiss these things as a waste of money and a threat to the company’s bottom line. However, they take the long view. They see that by offering these benefits and perks, they attract and retain better employees. Happy and healthy employees tend to be more productive, loyal and harder-working.
By thinking outside the box with their company culture, they ultimately get a better caliber of employee and work, which makes it well worth the expenditure they put out with these offerings.
More creative problem-solving.
When you’re thinking in the box as opposed to outside of it, your career growth can be stunted. When there are a finite number of ways that things can be done also means that there is a limit to what you can achieve.
Alternatively, when you think outside the box, suddenly there are many more possibilities and opportunities. When you allow for any and every possible solution, you may in fact end up coming up with more creative ways to solve problems.
Consider Netflix, for instance. By dreaming up an alternative to the standard video store template with rentals and late fees, they were able to create a worldwide sensation. What creative solutions could you come up with if you think outside the box?
It helps you stand out.
Why be a face in the crowd when you were born to stand out? When you are able to approach your business and career from an out-of-the-box point of view, you are in essence allowing yourself to think differently.
The ability to think outside the box can be an asset to you as an individual or as a business. Professional leaders and pioneering companies know this very well. One famous example? Behemoth tech company Apple, which has built its career on this key principle: “Think different."
Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to be different, because it can separate you from competitors and help you stand out in a good way.
Whether you’re a writer, a trader or the founder of a food truck, one thing is certain: Your career will change over time. Technology, people’s tastes and all sorts of other factors are constantly evolving, and you’ll need to be able to change in kind to remain relevant.
For example, as a teacher, I have to constantly keep evolving to remain current. If I didn’t evaluate and alter my techniques with the changing times, I’d quickly become a dinosaur in my field.
Perhaps one of the most profound effects of thinking outside the box is that it will help you stay adaptable. Your mind won’t be closed off to new ideas or solutions or situations, and therefore you’ll be better able to navigate the ever changing landscape of business.