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Chalk2Cheese, a Personality Development and enhancing soft skills Academy is more like a Grooming School. It helps you to become the best version of yourself.


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.   

We have all heard the saying “think outside the box”. But have you even stopped to consider the meaning behind this phrase and why it is something to aim for? And who is there to consider what outside the box thinking means for the world of learning and development?

The origin of the phrase “think outside the box” is commonly debated. Sometimes we can get pretty stuck in our ways. We just go through the motions, doing what we need to but no more. We can get scared to deviate from the set route and make our own paths. A lot of time we are not even really present in what we are doing, we are on auto pilot.

Researchers discovered that the anatomical structure of the brain has a built in auto pilot setting. They call this “default mode network”. This means that neuronal activity naturally switches to this resting date whenever there are no external influences on the brain.

In this respect, the brain is very efficient piece of kit. But it is all too easy to drift into this safe and steady mode a little too often. Ever arrived back from work and not been able to remember the drive home?

Simply put, thinking outside the box mean letting go of the mental constraints or default ways of reasoning we have boxed ourselves in and freezing ourselves to embrace new innovative ways of thinking.

Some research suggests that how creative you are depends on your genetic background. Others believe that it is a mix of genetics and experience. Regardless of which is true, if you have reached a mental block, there are a few things you can do to encourage your brain to think outside the box.

Studies have shown that taking a break to let your mind roam is great in this situation. It often leads to an “aha” moment and allows you to overcome an impasse. Another thing you can do is simply observe others. Learning from others can often be a valuable source of inspiration.

A recent study found that creative parents often have creative one-year-olds. If we watch someone get creative, we are likely to turn this social information into inspiration. Lastly, some good old fashioned research will often do the trick. It can be useful to see how others have approached a problem and how that resolved it.

You will often learn what you can do and what not to do. We are very lucky to live in a digital age. There is huge variety of media available for you to draw answers from.  

Thinking outside the box means approaching difficulties in different ways. If we think outside the box as often as we can, there are a multitude of benefits. These include a wider prospective, higher quality work and increased problem-solving abilities. These are great skills to have in your arsenal, especially in the workplace.

You should be ready to ‘think outside the box’ at any moment. You may be resistant to do so in corporate environment, but this is often the key to success. If we come across a really tricky problem, like a technical issue that we just cannot get our heads around, being stuck in a linear mindset can really set us back. We end up banging our heads against a brick wall hoping to find a way through. But that just leaves us with an almighty headache.

On the other hand, if we think outside the box and come at the problem from a different angle, we can often find the solution we have been looking for. It also helps to brainstorm ‘out there’ ideas with your colleagues. This can improve creativity by up to 50%. Nowadays, it is crucial for companies to think outside the box in order to differentiate themselves.

Learning is the process of acquiring new information, knowledge and skills. To achieve this goal, you will need to stick your head outside of your ‘box’, to take in the world around you.

Unfortunately, this is not always easy to do. As we have seen, embracing new approaches is difficult. Change is difficult. Life inside the box is warm and cozy. The outside world is full of potential dangers.  

This is one of the reasons why engagement with your training programme may be low. Your learners are busy. How do you solve this problem? Well, by thinking outside the box, of course!       

First of all, you should embrace online learning and blended solutions that provide your learners with the flexibility they need. You need to be laser-focused on engaging your attention, change their behavior and improve performance.

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