How to Think Outside the Box and From the Crowd

5 advanced strategies that help you stand out from the crowd.


Harish Maddukuri

3 years ago | 4 min read

I often talk about the crowd thinking and how they are addicted to the common way of thinking and to the plans decided at the table by other people.

Often these ways of saying and thinking prevent us from properly and sensibly exploiting our brain.

However, there are countermeasures to get out of the herd and be able to have a different point of view, perhaps higher, thanks to reasoning.

Here are 5 strategies to learn how to think outside the box and stand out from the crowd.

1. Check your Foundation

When it comes to knowledge, one must necessarily rely on sources.

If we tell something to a friend we are using one or more sources: perhaps something that has been told to us by another person or that we have heard on the news.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Speaking of news, I want to try to ask you a little off-topic question: Do you think the news programs want to give you information, or do they want to entertain you?

Sources are also very important when we rely our actions on facts that are not verified or that do not come from a reliable source, often giving rise to a limiting belief.

Always remember not to base your actions on a false certainty that you have never verified, always check your foundation.

To think outside the box it is important to question your sources and look for others that can shake the former.

The more a source, idea, or thought resists attack the more likely it is to be a good source.

2. Think Backwards

Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.
—Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Thinking backward is a great way to think outside the box: to better explain the concept let’s see a very short riddle.

A lake plant doubles its previous size every day. If after 30 days it fills the whole lake, after how many days does it fill half the lake?

Have you figured out how to solve this riddle in 10 seconds?

Obviously, you have to do reverse reasoning: I wait for your solution in the comments.

If you want to know different types of thinking, please check the below article which also includes the answer to the above riddle and a couple of riddles like that(hope you’ll not cheat by thinking backward ;-).

3. Unpleasant Awareness

In our life, we ​​are influenced and conditioned by what surrounds us, often in bad faith.

For example, as you know, fashions are decided in marketing offices around the world, so we can’t even say with certainty that we like a shirt of a certain color because maybe we have been conditioned without our knowledge by TV, advertising or celebrities.

In short, when we buy something we think we like, we do so most likely by virtue of skilled marketers rather than by a free choice from within.

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

Unfortunately, it must be acknowledged that free thinking is not so easy to exercise.

To try to free yourself from this forced and often malicious entanglement, you have to ask yourself regularly:

Does it make sense what I’m doing? Do I really want this item?

Try to think about it carefully and you’ll see that sometimes you may realize that the object you were going to buy was not so essential or that what you thought you had to do was perhaps a constraint from the outside.

4. Stop lining up with the herd

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Normally everyone evaluates what they buy only on the basis of the price. If something costs more it is probably worth more and vice versa.

Most of the time price is the only parameter we use when buying something.

On the other hand, people who think outside the box will evaluate the price based on what the product can do for them.

For example, you can buy a pair of cheap shoes and break your knee, or invest in a more suitable pair of shoes to avoid possible injuries and have a product that lasts longer.

This reasoning also applies to freelancers, teachers, and anyone in paid work.

If what you offer is of great value, do not align with the market price, evaluate yourself for what you offer.

5. Focus on what is Important

It will be my feeling but I see the mass concentrated more and more on one thing: to look.

I am not particularly interested in ethics because it seems to me as a sort of mental chain, but there is a form of behavior that is much more useful and stimulating than simply appearing: to be.

Think more about who you want to be than what you want to have or look like.

We are all focused on looking better with exaggerated photo retouching on social networks or with forced 126-teeth smiles.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I am not saying that this attitude is to be completely avoided nor do I condemn those who stick to this line of thinking.

I think that if we used 25% of the energy we consume (note well, I did not say waste) to look and direct them to be, each of us would gain more satisfaction, skills, and abilities that we do not even dream of.

More tips for thinking outside the box

Let’s see some other tips for learning to think outside the box

  • Listen to your intuitions, they are often correct
  • Try to have a little ambition, it will be one of your most powerful fuels
  • Make fewer predictions and more experimentations
  • Always look around and think about all possibilities
  • Remember that unique is better than best
  • Raise your standards in personal and professional life
  • Learn mostly by doing rather than reading
  • Ask yourself more why? and less how?
  • Develop lateral thinking
  • Do not lock yourself in your kingdom try to open yourself to discussions
  • Don’t be deaf to the knowledge of others

As you will have understood, thinking outside the box is a lonely road that takes us away from the crowd. In fact, it means going out of the herd to embrace unconventional systems of reasoning.

Going alone is not easy and it is not for everyone, but it can give you great satisfaction.


Created by

Harish Maddukuri

MSc. in Renewable Energy Engineering and a researcher in Offshore renewables. Mainly interested in technology and psychology.







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