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Inside the Box Thinking

Many people don’t see much beyond the nose on their face. They have limited vision and their thinking conforms to the “norm”- established by others. This type of thinking restricts them from realizing the larger expanded picture of potential opportunity.

As a result, average people will expect and accept average results. But successful people accept and expect extraordinary results. That is one of the main traits that distinguishes them from the ordinary masses, and it is one of the primary reasons that they succeed where others do not.


Thinking in a unique way and seeing the world from a rare perspective frees one from the confines of mediocre vision, and that’s why we call it “out of the box” thinking. If you learn to think beyond the scope of the ordinary and see details in the broader scheme of things that others miss, you’ll capture opportunities that others don’t even recognize or consider.


Expand the window you look through and you’ll see more open skies of possibility and a vast landscape of opportunity – while doors of opportunity will also be multiplied and enlarged.


The average person is not usually considered an out of the box thinker. If you consider most people as average – which is really the technical definition of average – then it is safe to say that the vast majority of us keep our thinking inside the box.


Most people accept the status quo. They don’t look further or deeper into situations. “In the box” thinkers don’t ask many questions. They lack the curiosity to inquire “What if?” and just go on with their daily routine, participating in the giant hamster wheel of life.


But because they won’t question ideas, problems, or situations, they rarely see the opportunities that surround them. They fail to recognize the rare quality of unique ideas and opportunities. Plus they can be pessimistic and stubborn when presented with something new, even if the new way is easier than their way, because it threatens their familiar way of thinking and behaving. They rarely invest the effort needed to transform an average solution into an extraordinary solution or to stop and think that maybe – just maybe – there is more than one way to solve a problem or perform a task. 

Be careful when you are around the negative in the box thinkers because they can drain the enthusiasm and motivation of creative people. Beware of people who say things like: “I’ll be surprise if that works,” “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” or “Don’t question why; this is how we’ve always done it and that’s good enough for me.”


Those people didn’t start out that way, mind you. They were conditioned early in life and perhaps “institutionalized” later in life to think that way. They were well trained to conform, not paint outside the lines, and not question authority.

Doing the same thing, day-in and day-out, trained them to accept the status quo and not question what they know. Even highly creative people with a great deal of motivation can be turned into in the box thinkers who exhibit little enthusiasm or imagination. This transformation often happens, for example, when a dramatic failure occurs or when one just stops trying and surrenders to their role in the system. They become like indifferent worker bees in society or cogs in the wheel of a machine everyone resents but nobody dares to challenge.


I heard a story of a man who was the Director of the US Patent Office during the early part of the 1900’s. The fellow was rumored to have said “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Whether the story is true or just an urban myth, that mindset totally exemplifies in the box thinking.

Meanwhile if you know how to think outside the box the chances are you have already experienced and learned from thinking inside the box.


Albert Einstein gave us new ways of thinking about physics because he had already mastered conventional physics but had the genius to realize that it was a limited way of looking at the universe. So he ventured into territory that others could not imagine and that’s why he is regarded as the greatest scientific mind. Even as a child he asked “Why?” and was not satisfied with ordinary answers. When he held a drinking glass as a little kid he wanted to know why the orange juice didn’t leak through the glass. That led to a study of atomic structure, while the rest of the kids his age just drank the juice. That is truly the definition of “out of the box” thinking.


Most, if not all, successful people are out of the box thinkers. They seize opportunity, while the inside the box thinkers add more missed opportunities to their list.


You will drastically reduce your chances to discover, create and take advantage of opportunities if you stay inside your comfortable little box.

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