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Should You Think Inside the Box or Outside It?

For a long time, the phrase “think outside the box” has been a popular mantra intended to encourage people to think unconventionally, using new perspectives to bring about solutions and innovations. It requires employing every means possible, from daydreaming to brainstorming, to come up with creative solutions.

While this may work for people in core creative fields like Advertising, it may not be best for people in other non-creative professions that require some creativity nonetheless. In many professions, thinking inside the box is what is needed.

Here’s something you should try: if you’ve followed a pattern or used a method that has given you success, then keep using it. Simply put, when faced with a challenge, you should begin to search for ways that similar challenges have been solved in the past, either by you or by others, and use the same methods to resolve the present one.

In the legal profession, this is called the doctrine of precedent. Lawyers rely on this, referring to old cases to try and find solutions to existing ones. This is a great way to work smart, not hard.

It is pretty much like using a trusted recipe to get awesome results over and over again. Once you’re able to study and understand the methods and patterns that have worked in the past, you can harness them and apply them when the need arises.

So, next time you’re looking for something in Sokoto…you know where you just may find it!


About the writer: Joy Ehonwa is a writer, copy-editor and online proofreader who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a copy-editing, ghostwriting and transcription business, blogs at and, and tweets @JoyEhonwa

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Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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