Can you think outside the box?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Sandpoint SP36782

Think outside the box.

You have heard the phrase “think outside the box”; This metaphor means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new and fresh perspective.  I love thinking outside the box.  In real estate sometimes creative solutions are the only way to bring our clients to a successful end.  Sometimes the most impossible scenarios are easily made possible with a little creativity.

The phrase was used heavily in the business world since the 70’s to inspire creative thinking. If you think about it most great accomplishments, innovations and inventions would have never come to pass without new and creative “outside-the-box” thinking.

The origin of “thinking outside the box”, traces back to the 1960s and the use of the “9 dots” puzzle, which was originally published in 1914 in a book called the Cyclopedia of Puzzles by Sam Lloyd. The puzzle entitled Columbus’ egg puzzle consisted of the following diagram and the instructions: Link all 9 dots using four straight lines or fewer, without lifting the pen and without tracing the same line more than once.

think outside the box

Go ahead and print that out and give it a try. What you’ll eventually is that you’re going to have to think “outside the box” to come up with a solution. You can see one common solution below.

Even though there’s no instruction to stay within the box, most minds immediately tend to build a box, which instantly puts a constraint in place. Thinking outside the box, meanwhile, removes as many constraints as possible -- leading to the most original and innovative solutions.

Thinking outside the box is an incredibly powerful and useful tool.  Out of the box thinking may feel a bit foreign but it is a  key that can open countless doors:

  • It allows you to generate more possibilities.
  • It helps you step outside your comfort zone.
  • It inspires others, helping them step out of their comfort zone.
  • It creates tremendous learning opportunities.
  • It opens doors to unforeseen results.
  • It forces you to ask questions
  • It inspires critical thinking skills.
  • It allows you to stand out from the crowd.

If you tend to struggle with outside-the-box thinking, the next time you’re faced with a problem, approach it from a different perspective. There’s more than one way from point A to point B. Think wide, think differently, or maybe, your overthinking it and the idea is to not think at all.


9 dots solution

This is one solution but it’s not the only solution.  See what you come up with.


Now that you mastered it with 4 lines can you do it with only 3?  If you can post in the comments below. 

Posted by

Rain Silverhawk



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Rain Silverhawk Realtor
Keller Williams  Realty Coeur d' alene Sandpoint Idaho
120 S. Second Ave. |  Sandpoint, ID. 83864
Phone (208)  610-0011  



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Todaro 03/10/2020 01:58 AM
Just for Fun
Keller Williams
Keller Williams Realty Active Rain Bloggers
Coeur d'Alene and the Inland Northwest
Inspiration Station
thinking outside the box
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9 dot puzzle

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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Rain Silverhawk THAT'S NEAT.... and there is always more than one way to skin the cat.... 

Mar 10, 2020 01:57 AM #1
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Rain. Sometimes creativity is necessary to find a solution. Enjoy your day! 

Mar 10, 2020 04:09 AM #2
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Rain Silverhawk sometimes it okay to think outside the box. 

Mar 10, 2020 02:33 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Rain- I've very familiar with this and what a wonderful illustration you've given of thinking outside the box. One of the things I admire most about my husband is his ability to think outside the box!!!

Mar 10, 2020 06:59 PM #4
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Rain,  Creativity is a great skill to have.  Some of us are blessed with more than others.  We all see things with a slightly different perspective.   Thanks for sharing this.

Mar 10, 2020 08:21 PM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Mar 14, 2020 06:33 PM #6
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I LOVE this post! My brain doesn't normally work this way with graphs, but when I see it it's such an aha moment for me! This was great. 

Mar 15, 2020 05:43 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I totally agree. I'd actually done this years ago (having been part of the 70's "outside the box" thinking) and remembered it! Doing things differently can present some amazing solutions. Great post.

Mar 15, 2020 06:37 AM #8
Christine Wade - Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Support Needs

I was a general manager for an aquatics life support systems manufacturer for about 7 years, and when presented with manufacturing issues in the shop, I would often come up with different ways to solve problems that the guys hadn't thought of...which was  affectionately dubbed my "mom-gineering" skills.  Great post - we all have our own unique perspectives to bring to the table.

Mar 15, 2020 09:44 AM #9
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Rain Silverhawk - indeed we have used that term many times before.  In these challenging days we are challenged to do it again.

Mar 15, 2020 11:36 AM #10
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

That's a good one and having seen the solutions first, I am convinced I would have never gotten it in three moves!  Thanks.  This shows that coloring outside the lines can actually get a better picture in the end! Ha

Mar 15, 2020 01:51 PM #11
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Rain Silverhawk ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-Ha" moments for the week. We are definitely presented with thinking outside of the box in the world we live in right now!

Mar 16, 2020 06:01 AM #14
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Rain:

I remember this from years past, Great reminder about being creative and not sticking to the same old thinking and problem solving.


Mar 16, 2020 08:35 AM #15
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's a good one and point well taken!  Sometimes it's a real stretch to think outside the box.

Mar 17, 2020 08:48 PM #16
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

No wonder we are friends loved this post and I agree with the message 100 per cent, BTW I remember this question as well as the answer a hundred years ago:)) Endre

Mar 18, 2020 09:48 PM #17
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Love your post.  In fact I had a similar conversation yesterday with a seller who was practically hyper ventilating over the task of selling and buying.  I walked her through an exercise I do to help people in that scenario.  Think big not small!

Mar 20, 2020 09:57 AM #18
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Didn't know the origin of that phrase--thanks!  I do use it often though

Mar 20, 2020 03:26 PM #19
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208-610-0011 Sandpoint Idaho Real Estate Realtor
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