Friday, November 16, 2012

Life Lessons—Stop Thinking Outside the Box

by Reba J Hoffman, PhD

Is it just me or do you get tired of hearing people say, “think outside the box”? I personally think that’s very poor advice. Here’s why. Thinking outside the box interjects that confining cube into your life when it never was part of the dĂ©cor in the first place!

You wouldn’t have to worry about that if you never had a box, now would you? That whole concept is entirely limiting. Think about it. You only have two options. Either you think inside the box or your think outside it. Right? Are you feeling a bit claustrophobic? Yeah, me too.

Stop thinking outside the box. The human mind wasn’t designed that way. Especially writers. You were crafted with limitless creativity and potential. God created the heavens and the earth without a blueprint. Neither of them came in a box. He just conjured them up in his created mind and made it happen.

We were made in His image. I guarantee you there are no boxes in Heaven. Neither should there be in your life or writing career. So stop thinking outside the box and start thinking. Period.

Here’s how:
  • Wander. Let your mind wander wherever it wishes. You’ll look back having created magnificent masterpieces that transcend time. Don’t believe me? Well, look how long the heavens have hung around. 
  • Be original. Don’t ask whether any writer has ever done this. Doesn’t matter. Think your own thoughts.
  • Know your geometry. As soon as you see a cube in your life, remove that confining thing. Your life has no place for the box!

Our world needs you and your creative brilliance to change our hearts, lives and beliefs. What’s more, we won’t be the same if you neglect to do this.  Show us what you’ve got. Eliminate cookie cut box thinking today. You’ll be glad you did.

Have you put a box into your life and thinking habits? How is that working for you? Share it here!

Reba J. Hoffman is the founder and president of Magellan Life Coaching ( She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling and is a natural encourager. She serves as Member Care Coach for My Book Therapy and is the author of Dare to Dream, A Writer’s Journal. You can connect with Reba through her motivational blog, Finding True North, or by email at You can also follow her on Twitter at @RebaJHoffman.


  1. Thanks for sharing your post and reminding us not to limit our creativity, but to let it soar.
    Deborah H.

  2. What an original way of looking at how we unknowingly limit ourselves and what to do about it. Thanks for your perspective, Reba.

  3. Great advice, Reba. It's amazing how much we limit ourselves, and God, too.

  4. Deborah, isn't it wonderful to know that we can allow our creativity to soar?

  5. Ellen and Pat, I soooooo get frustrated with I see others limit themselves. Or even me for that matter. That's not who God intended us to be.

  6. We sure are creative about limiting ourselves, aren't we? Now, to use that creativity in a more creative way. Love this perspective, Reba. Makes me think ... outside the box. Hehehe. Just kidding.

  7. I couldn't agree more! Thanks for your thoughts. Just one thing: as a fellow Christian, I cringed at your description of God "conjuring" up creation. To conjure means to produce as if my magic; to call upon a devil or demon. The last time I read Genesis, Satan had nothing to do with creation directly or indirectly by magic. Maybe a better word would have been "spoke." He spoke and it all came into creation.

  8. You're really funny Kim! Glad you're thinking outside the box. ROFL

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  10. Hi Candi, it's a GREAT thing that we all know the truth about God and His infinite ability to create something entirely magnificent and wholly perfect without using a blueprint, a map, or instructions. Good comment.

  11. Hey Reba. I like your way of looking at the world. So many times I have to turn things upside-down to make any sense out of it...sort of like standing on my head and looking from a different perspective. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  12. I'm way behind reading blogs so I just read this today. I so agree with your post. I've realized that, every time I feel like I have to think outside the box, it's because I've put God in one! If I don't restrict His work, there's no such thing as a box!