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40+ Quotes That Inspire Thinking Outside The Box

What does think outside the box mean?

Imagine you have a neat, little box.

Inside it is all the normal rules, standards, thoughts, practices, or routine ways of doing something. They might operate perfectly fine, but there is also the opportunity for improvement or growth.   

The phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ means to consider other possibilities and different perspectives. It’s a challenge to expand your thinking towards whatever’s in this ‘box’.  

And the possibilities can be amazing. For job opportunities, personal growth, relationships and entrepenurialship. 

What is an example of thinking outside the box?

A popular question during job interviews, is when the interviewer asks ‘What’s an example of a time you have thought outside the box to solve a problem’ – or some such variation.

Innovative employers want to know that you are a critical thinker, you can take initiative, you’re proactive and a problem solver. This type of thinking also shows you have a growth mindset more than a fixed mindset, which is an essential skill for innovative, growing organizations.

When finding examples of thinking outside the box, consider situations where you have challenged the norm, noticed areas for improvement, considered diverse perspectives and coped well with change.

Think Outside The Box Quotes

To be able to think outside the box, we need to consider various skills and abilities such as creativity, change, growth, and the ability to consider different opinions and possibilities. The following collection of quotes all represent these abilities, in order to encourage an innovative thought process:


“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” Fran Lebowitz


“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” Dan Stevens


“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” George S. Patton


“It is difficult to think outside the box because the thinking IS the box.” Michael Braun


“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” Charles Mingus


“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.” Germany Kent


“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer


“The most important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Sir William Bragg


“If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe it is the box that needs fixing.” Malcolm Gladwell


“The most important thing about intellectual property vs. creative expression is that copyright law was created not to stifle creativity but to encourage creativity.” Shepard Fairey


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


“Always think outside the box and embrace opportunities that appear, wherever they might be.” Lakshmi Mittal


“The greatest of faults… is to be conscious of none.” Thomas Carlyle


“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso


“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs


“The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’” David Suzuki


“Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” Elon Musk


“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard


“There’s one thing worse than change and that’s the status quo.” John le Carre


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin


“Make no mistake about it. Bad habits are called ‘bad’ for a reason. They kill our productivity and creativity. They slow us down. They hold us back from achieving our goals. And they’re detrimental to our health.” John Rampton


“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” Edwin Land


“Young children remind us how to see.” Wayne Gerard Trotman


“I’m good at thinking outside the box, so much that you realise it’s not a box to begin with.” Will.i.am


“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” Gloria Steinem


“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl


“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” Roy T. Bennett


“Big ideas come from forward thinking people who challenge the norm, think outside the box, and invent the world they see inside rather than submitting to the limitations of current dilemmas.” T. D. Jakes


“There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!” Friedrich Nietzsche


“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin


“It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.” Tim Ferriss


“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” Brene Brown


“The biggest handicap in research is an ability to think outside the box. The handicap is being encumbered by all the conventional wisdom in a given field.” Aubrey de Grey


“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” Margaret Heffernan


“I discovered that searching can be as interesting as finding.” Paulo Coelho


“We live in an age of innovation, where digital technology is providing solutions to problems before we’ve even realised we needed them. We see it every day as we find new ways to travel, eat and shop.” David Lidington


“If you don’t think outside of the box, you may just get stuck inside of a cubicle.” Eric Vance Walton


“You can’t force creatives into a box. If you try, they’ll no longer be creative. And no one will want your box.” Ryan Lilly


“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” Steven Johnson


“Somebody took the same situation that you’re complaining about and won with it.” Germany Kent


“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will have truly defeated age.” Sophia Loren


These quotes about thinking outside the box encourage different perspectives, new ideas, creativity, innovation and growth. We hope that you found at least a few quotes that resonated with you. Looking for more inspiring quotes on similar topics? Be sure to check out:

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