Two questions for you:
1. Are you an out-of-the-box thinker?
2. Are you surrounded by people who are not out-of-the-box thinkers?
If you said “Yes” to the first question, there is a good chance that the second question becomes a rhetorical question. If the answer to the second question is a “No,” you are saying that everyone around you is also an out-of-the-box thinker and that would mean that you are all within a different kind of box. Exceptions apply.
The Classic Dilemma of Out-of-the-Box Thinkers
The fact that you are an out-of-the-box thinker is that you have to co-exist happily with those that are not. As you can see, if out-of-the-box thinking is practiced by minority of the people, then it’s obvious that majority of the people are within-the-box thinkers.
The classic dilemma for you will be that you have to get majority of the people who don’t think like you to support your idea. That is not going to be easy because you are not thinking like them and not everyone likes people who are not thinking like them.
Add to that any out-of-the-box thinking is not something that’s tried and tested (otherwise, it wouldn’t be out-of-the-box thinking) and it would simply mean that others have to take a bigger leap of faith on you.
Think about them: You are not one of them, you don’t think like them and they need to take a bigger leap of faith . I can go on but you get the idea.
What Definitely Won’t Work
What will definitely not work is you behaving like a genius or you treating others like they are idiots. In other words, you can’t win by brute force. Just because someone is NOT an out-of-the-box thinker does not mean they are not smart or in the same vein, just because someone is an out-of-the-box thinker does not mean that they are smart. If you are an out-of-the-box thinker, the magic still lies in how you apply that thinking to add value. In most cases, you are the one who NEEDS them more than they NEED you.
An Out-of-the-Box Solution
So, how do you get out of the dilemma?
Here is something to consider:
1. Fix your Mindset first: Even if your thinking is totally out-of-the-box, that doesn’t make you special until you have taken that out-of-the-box thinking, applied it and produced valuable accomplishments. Nothing gets accomplished just because you think different. Your mindset should be focused on creating valuable accomplishments and not rest your laurels on coming up with great ideas. Out-of-the-box thinking is not a license to show off.
2. Start listening: Have respect for ideas that are not out-of-the-box. First, there are pretty good ideas that are not out-of-the-box and second, you need to respect others for what they bring and only then you can expect others to respect for what you bring. Reciprocation is not a one-way street.
3. Be one of them: I doubt that you think out-of-the-box from morning till evening. This means that your thinking is similar to the others most of them time. So, there is more in common with others than the “uncommon” parts. use that commonality to connect with them and start being one of them. If they like you, there is a better chance that they will be open to listening.
4. Bake in the implementation details: Your out-of-the-box ideas that are not implementable are as good as dead. Don’t stop at thinking. Dig deeper into the details of implementation. When presenting your idea, if you bake in the implementation details, they will be more open to listening.
5. Learn to tell a great story: Unfortunately, this is not taught in school and you have to invest in yourself to get better at it. It takes more time for you to craft a great story about your idea but it’s totally worth it. More than your idea, it’s the story around your idea that will seduce others to pay attention.
6. Have patience: Not everyone can see the depth of your idea as fast as you can see it. Their backgrounds are different, their world views are different and their approaches are different. Unless you have the patience to win their minds, you will alienate them fast and lose them forever.
7. Don’t be emotionally attached to your idea: If you have an out-of-the-box idea, you are capable of coming up with another out-of-the-box idea. Your world does not end if someone does not accept your out-of-the-box idea. It should only increase your resolve to do all the above steps with renewed energy. Like anything else in life, you will get better at something the more you do it. The process of coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, getting others to believe in them, gaining support, implementing and creating valuable accomplishments is no different.
Have a great day!