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Chinedu Ozulumba: Before You Think Outside the Box, Think Inside It



If you’ve never ventured outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you’ll probably be stupid. – Christopher Peterson

I know you’re familiar with the cliché…

I’m certain you’ve used it tirelessly, well possibly on your team.

This cliché was adopted from the nine-dot puzzle where you’ll have to connect all the nine dots with four straight lines or a fewer without lifting the pen and tracing the same line more than once.

Certainly, ‘thinking outside the box’ connotes thinking differently and unconventionally.

You won’t also be mistaken by attributing breathtaking innovations we see today from this same cliché, at least someone thought to create the coffee dispenser. In 1908, Mellita Bentz invented the first coffee maker.  He must have considered how the old coffee pot worked and decided it would be better to see it improved.

Today companies like Keurig have improved on the coffee maker by adding a timer to save time and to also brew a variety of coffee as customers would prefer.

The “think outside the box” paradigm has overtaken the sphere of business, politics, technology, science and arts, it’s virtually used in driving new ideas.

But I think most users of this cliché have rather misunderstood its use, that they neglect the fundamental way of doing things.

The point is – There is an already existing box, why not check its contents first?

We just believe that ideas should come through unconventional or mystical means. Unfortunately this saying is rather overhyped as most users ignorantly forget the basics.

“Looking inside the box is the place to start before considering what’s off the box”.

Knowing what works is a guide to knowing what won’t work.

Acknowledging that gravity exist is in its proper perspective and would be a reasonable parameter for designing the next drone.

Writing off conventionality is just being unreasonable and dumb without acknowledging what works in the first place.

Understudying the new generation of IPhones, You’ll agree they were a chip of the old block. Tim Cook perhaps wouldn’t need to reinvent the entire operating system for the next IPhone.

I’ve never worked for Apple but I expect an upgrade in its previous version’s operating system, improved bodily design and a few extras to the new version.

It’s no use torturing oneself for the next breakthrough idea, look within, see your environment in a healthy perspective, brilliant Ideas would literally whisper its genuineness to you.

Know what works first before reaching for the unknown.

If you found this post helpful, kindly leave a comment and one more thing; spread the word.

Chinedu Ozulumba is a portfolio risk manager and content writer. He’s the founder of Aspire by Force Blog; For Aspiring Entrepreneurs & Business Owners. He believes desired results are born out of creative thinking. Visit for more resources.


  1. Egusi soup

    March 26, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Mellita Bentz was a woman. You referred to her as a man.


      March 27, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Oh, thanks for spotting that, would. Make the correction.

  2. Las

    March 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    There really isn’t any box.

    Thinking outside or inside the box is a form of limiting the mind. The universe is endless, so is the human mind. The only boxes present are those we build to restrict us in one form or another.


      March 27, 2017 at 8:19 am

      Thank you so much

  3. Dee

    March 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    This was absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much for this!!


      March 27, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Glad you found it helpful

  4. Saheed Oladele

    March 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Acknowledging what works is the secret to succeeding in this world. Some people struggle endlessly in the wrong direction, I hope readers utilize this. Thanks for sharing, Chinedu.


      March 27, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Thanks Saheed for visiting

  5. Emmanuel Ayeni

    March 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Nice writeup. The box itself is an idea, we are only limited or liberated by our paradigms and our perceptions.


      March 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks Emmanuel Ayeni


    March 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks Emmanuel Ayeni

  7. Chioma Alagboso

    March 27, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    ..know what works first before reaching the unknown.
    Nice post


      March 28, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Certainly true Chioma

  8. Ajibola

    March 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Good read! This is eye opening, good job!

  9. Pearl

    March 27, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    People may benefit from looking for opportunities even within their limitations.


      March 28, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Thanks Ajibola and Pearl

  10. Kenneth Nwakanma

    March 27, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    You can’t fight demons outside if you don’t stop the chaos inside good piece bro..


    March 28, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Absolutely Kenneth

  12. Maryanne Theodore

    March 29, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Most times we always want to reach out for the unknown and forgetting the known which they can use to get the unknown. It’s important to “know what works first before reaching out for the unknown” Nice piece

  13. Adebayo Folashade

    March 31, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Nice work sir. For there to be an outstanding performance there must be a marriage between thinking inside and thinking outside the box..

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