You’ve heard the phrase from countless teachers, lecturers, and business leaders: to succeed in this world, you must “think outside the box”. But what does it actually mean to apply that principle to your daily life? What does it mean to be an innovator in terms of confidence, creativity, and productivity?
This list will help you on your own personal journey towards confidence and creativity–to carve your own path, you must find your tools to do so, and these 15 tips should be just the tools you need for the job.
Imagine a better world. One where you follow your deepest impulses and passions. That’s what you get when you think outside the box–total creative freedom.
15 Ways To Think Outside the Box
1. Follow Your Intuition
Do you ever have that feeling in your gut, like something is very wrong and you just cannot pinpoint it?
When your instincts tell you something, you must listen to their advice, and this is especially true when it comes to the creative process. Your intuition is a guide that will help you figure out where to go with your creative endeavors. It can also be a tool to help you gain confidence in your work and in yourself–the more you listen to your inner voice, the easier it is to hear.
2. Give Yourself a Stretch Goal
What would you achieve if you know that you would not fail? These words are the backbone of an existence lived outside of the box.
Give yourself the highest of goals to stretch towards–whether it’s writing a book in a month or losing one hundred pounds in a year, your goal itself does not matter.
When you set a stretch goal, your mind will come up with every possible solution, and even if you don’t accomplish it at first, you’ll be a long way from where you started.
3. Visualize Your Dreams
If you ask star athletes what they do to set themselves up for perfection, you’ll notice that the most successful of those have visualized winning from the very beginning. When you pull up the images of your dreams for the future and give them color and life, you’re setting yourself up for the best possible shot at making that dream a reality.
Spend a few minutes every day visualizing what accomplishing your goals will look like and you’ll find it happening far sooner than you expected.
4. Collaborate on Passion Projects
It’s said that “true genius” comes not from looking through a conventional lens but rather by combining different viewpoints. And what better what to think outside the box and help your friends than to collaborate on their passion!
You never know when holding a socket wrench might lead to an idea for a story, or while designing a website for a friend, you may find yourself applying your artistic drive. The easiest way to enhance your creativity is to expose yourself to different viewpoints and different ways of looking at life.
5. Practice Affirmations
Our words are incredibly important and usually we discount their incredible power. One way to gain confidence and give your own words more power is to practice affirmations.
Affirmations can also be based around your goals or around problems that you wish to tackle in your everyday life.
Spend a few moments each day saying your affirmations aloud and watch how your thoughts change.
Ways to Think Outside the Box More Often
6. Meditate During Your Commute
Instead of your commute being a stressful time, full of anxiety and road rage, turn it into your own personal meditation time.
Even if you’re driving, try to bring mindfulness to your actions. Be aware of your heart racing as someone cuts you off and allow yourself to let go of the fear that it gave rise to within you. Your morning commute shouldn’t be stressful–use that time more wisely.
7. Start An Accomplishment Journal
You’ve heard of a gratitude journal–this is an out-of-the-box spin on that wonderful idea. Each evening, take some time to write down your greatest accomplishments for that particular day. When you’re feeling down, your accomplishment journal is a great resource to come back to when you need to be reminded of your victories.
8. Know Your Strengths (And Your Weaknesses)
You’ve heard the phrase “play to your strengths”, but an innovative way of twisting that idea is to know your weaknesses and continually challenge them.
Say, for instance, you’re a great organizer but you’re not the best at focusing. Instead of spending your time organizing and producing shallow feelings of productivity, force yourself to work in the other direction. Force yourself to focus.
When you challenge yourself, that’s when you truly see progress.
9. Track Your Progress
Goal-tracking is a life-changing practice. A meta-analysis of 138 studies on goal-tracking showed that, “prompting participants to monitor their progress toward a goal increased the likelihood that the participants would achieve that goal”.
Don’t just go after your dreams; track your progress and watch your success in real-time.
10. Get to Know the Science
One of the best ways to get to the forefront of innovation in confidence and creativity is to follow the science behind it. Don’t just read the classics and think your life will improve–keep up with what works and what doesn’t, according to the hard science, so you don’t have to waste your time on unproven techniques.
More Ways to Think Outside the Box
11. Analyze the Data
Analysis is not just a scientific practice–it can also help you to gain confidence in your own experiences. In our data-driven world, there’s so many ways to analyze our actions and find better solutions.
If you feel nervous at gatherings but feel better when there’s a dog around, think about bringing your own pet with you to calm your nerves. Look at what works and what doesn’t and move forward from there.
12. Pay Attention To Your Mistakes
Your mistakes are not just accidents. They are your teachers, your guides towards right action in the future. Don’t allow mistakes to lead to giving up–instead, using them as learning experiences.
13. Always Be Learning
Even if you’re not making mistakes, use every experience in life as a learning experience. Say you struck out with a crush. Don’t let that get you down. Turn it into an educational experience in reading signals from others or rushing into things. Use your experiences, your triumphs and failures, as the textbook of life.
14. Practice Powerful Poses
One easy and innovative way to increase your confidence is to practice “powerful” postures. First identified by Amy Cuddy, these postures will help you feel like you can conquer the world just by changing your body language.
15. Go Your Own Way
Your journey towards confidence and creativity may not look like everyone else’s, and that’s okay. Everyone has their own path, their own road to follow. Live your creative life in your own authentic style and you’ll find that you’re labeled an innovator just for being yourself.
Think Outside the Box and Make Your Dreams a Reality
Gaining confidence and creativity is no easy feat, especially in a world that is so hyper-focused on social media and celebrity culture. Instead of giving in to the norm and going with the will of the crowd, think outside the box.
When you have the power to be authentically you and to bring the world your new and interesting ideas using these tools, you’ll feel like you can conquer the world.