How To Get Outside The Box

“Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a sharp knife to it.”

–Banksy (Wall & Piece)

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the axiom, “think outside the box”. I don’t particularly like clichés but they sometimes are exemplary to illustrate a concept. For example, what does it mean, “think outside the box”? This is one you hear constantly, irrespective of field or expertise.

When I hear, “think outside the box”, I interpret this as the pursuit of original thought, creative discourse, or innovative strategy. These are all worthwhile goals! In fact, I believe these to be crucial to personal growth. As we previously discussed here on the Sunday Surgical Scrub with Constant Change (August 2016) and Agents of Change (January 2017), one must change or pay the heavy price for staying the same.

Banksy, the infamous social artist articulates and extends this concept one step further with our introductory quote. He feels that thinking outside the box is not enough; you need to shred and destroy the box – thereby eliminating boundaries – to appreciate your full creative potential. I like this!


But how do we go about getting outside the boxes that constraint our deliberations and decisions? There are two strategies that are central to getting outside the box.

1. Grow your capacity for self-awareness. Pursue self-enquiry and probe the degree of self-awareness you currently occupy. Do you constantly revisit your ability to look inward? This is challenging and difficult but, your ability to get out of the box and escape its boundaries, relies on your ability to be self-aware. Only when you recognize your comforts and conveniences can you eclipse them. The knife you need to cut this box into pieces is your degree of self-awareness. Sharpen it often!

2. Invite conflict. Akin to your degree of self-awareness is your desire to invite conflict in your life. Note, I do not mean to invite melodrama or perfunctory argument. Invite genuine conflict into your ideas. Invite conflict so as to challenge your strategies. You will find the resultant solutions are wonderful elaborations rather than products of simple linear thinking. Having conflict need not create a discordant song but rather allows for a symphony with rich notes and rhythms.

So, next time you are faced with dilemma or decision, get out of the box, stomp on the box, cut up the box, and realize that you need not be confined to its boundaries. Instead, use self-enquiry and self-awareness to invite conflict as a means for the creative expression of innovative solutions and strategies.


MEDICINE & MACULA: Thanks to everyone for all the support and interest in my new book, Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination.

It is a now an Amazon best seller in multiple categories and countries!

My sincere thanks!

You can find the book here. 


GRATIS: “Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.” -Deepak Chopra


My best to you,

David Almeida



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