Are You Stuck? Learn to Think Outside the Box!

by Deborah A. Bailey

Have you found yourself stuck, unsure how to find a solution to a problem? We’ve all had those experiences where we have to make a decision or find a way to resolve a situation, but we can’t figure out what action to take.

For one thing, we can have problems finding solutions because we don’t allow ourselves to see possibilities. If we base our future success on what happened in the past, we’ll stay stuck. Instead if we open our minds to opportunities we’ll be able to move past the things that appear to be blocking our progress.

Being able to think out of the box is a major entrepreneurial trait. It involves tapping into your creativity and staying open to new ideas. Just because you have no experience trying something doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. We can’t be innovative if we’re afraid to make leaps and try things that we’ve never done before.

So what are some ways to use outside-the-box thinking?

• When you’re stuck in a problem, make a list of possible actions you can take. Write down every idea without editing. Solutions can’t be found when our minds are closed or we’re in editing mode. Brainstorming involves considering all possibilities, not just the ones we usually think of.

• Be more creative. Engage in things like painting, sketching and photography. Learn to see your environment in a new way without pressuring yourself to adhere to specific guidelines.

• Try something new each week. Take a different route to go home, have tea instead of coffee, go for a walk instead of turning on the television. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just get out of your comfort zone if just for a little while.

• Create a “mind map” in order to spur your thinking and creativity. If you’re looking for a new product or service to add to your business – or a new career direction – start with one word and map out all of the words and phrases that come to mind. For instance, the word, “writer” can lead to “book,” “author,” “publisher,” “workshop,” etc. Then with each word you can map out other words and phrases until you’ve created your map of ideas.

• Put together a vision board. If you’re familiar with “The Secret” you may already be familiar with the concept of vision boards. Just put together pictures that appeal to you or that display things that you’d like to have or experience. Use your imagination and add pictures and items as you go. You can also do the same thing using a whiteboard and magnets or a cork board and pushpins. Don’t worry about making it look a certain way. Create a colorful and inspirational collage that will spur your imagination.

In order to think outside the box you have to be willing to release pre-conceived notions so that you can step outside of your regular habits. As an entrepreneur, that type of thinking will insure that you’ll continue to evolve and grow while you increase your opportunities for success.

Copyright © 2009 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.”

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