S:0824 Principle: Thinking

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


“Outside the Box Thinking” is, and has been for way too long, a popular thought. The intent of the phrase seems to be to stimulate creative thought, that is, to let go of being constrained by what you have already learned, what you have already thought, and have new thoughts.

The problem with the phrase Outside the Box Thinking (other than its cliched status prevents it from being heard, thus having no effect) is that the emphasis is on Box and, somehow, getting out of it. It’s an inward focus which does little to expand creative thought. Focusing on Box promotes more awareness of Box.

Consider a new phrase — “Outside the Thinking Box” — where the emphasis is on Outside. This new phrase stimulates (at least for a little while until it, too, becomes cliche-y) by provoking questions such as:

‘What’s a Thinking Box?’

‘Can there be anything Outside of thinking?’

‘What does Outside look like?’

A Thinking Box is a hemmed-in place. Outside is boundary-less.

Inside a Thinking Box lives understanding. Outside lives knowing.

Box is cut-off-from. Outside is connected.

Box is safe. Outside can be unsettling (a perfect place for creativity!)


Coaching Point: Do you regularly get Outside the Thinking Box?


Copyright 2011 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.