Chris with his hands in the air overlooking a cliff with a big wave crashing in front

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Here’s one think outside the box quote you won’t find anywhere…

“Follow along, don’t take risks, just keep your head down and work, and you’ll achieve your dreams.”

Nobody Ever

…But for some reason that’s how we’re wired to want to act.

Not everyone, though. Not the leaders, philosophers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and authors behind these quotes about living and thinking outside the box.

Hopefully their words will inspire you to follow their words and blaze your own trail, too.

Inspirational Think Outside the Box Quotes

Be Curious

“Once you have figured out the right question to ask, you are halfway to the right answer.”

Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise

“[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”

NY Times writer David Brooks

“A creative solution is the response to a creative problem”

J.W. Getzels, Problem Finding: a Theoretical Note

“The success of a culture hinges on whether or not that culture remains endlessly curious. If we are a culture that thinks we know everything we are destined for failure. But if we remain endlessly curious we’re going to be ok.”

Donald Miller in podcast with Adam Savage

“People believe thinking outside the box takes intelligence and creativity, but it’s mostly about independence. When you simply ignore the box and build your reasoning from scratch, whether you’re brilliant or not, you end up with a unique conclusion—one that may or may not fall within the box.”

Tim Urban, The Cook and The Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce

“The deeper the problems found and posed (and in due course solved) the greater the human achievement”

J.W. Getzels, Problem Finding: a Theoretical Note

Be Different to Be Successful

“Only is better than best.”

Srinivas Rao

“It is impossible to produce superior performance unless you do something different.”

John Templeton

“The beginning of greatness is to be different, and the beginning of failure is to be the same.”

Roy Whittier

“There’s a benefit to being naive about the norms of the world—deciding from scratch what seems like the right thing to do, instead of just doing what others do.”

Derek Sivers, Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur

“…the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits.”

Isaac Asimov

“Escape competition through authenticity. When you’re competing with people it’s because you’re copying them. The more authentic you are the less competition you’re going to have.”

Naval Ravikant on his Naval podcast

“You can’t be normal and expect abnormal returns.”

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Now’s the Time

“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Muhammed Ali

“If what you’ve done over the past 5 years hasn’t worked for you, then change what you’re doing or the next 5 years will be the same”

John Carlton, The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Your Shit Together

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Jim Rohn

“There’s one thing worse than change and that’s the status quo.”

John le Carre

“The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo.”

Bob Iger

“You have tried to be superior in an ordinary realm. Now you must learn to be ordinary in a superior realm.”

Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.”

Tony Robbins

Think Outside the Box to Change the World

“I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

“The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.”

Fritjof Nansen

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw

“In the quest for happiness, many of us choose to enjoy the world as it is. Originals embrace the uphill battle, striving to make the world what it could be.”

Adam Grant, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

“You can gauge the limitations of a person’s life by the size of the problems that get him or her down. You can measure the impact a person’s life has by the size of the problems he or she solves.”

Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness

Don’t Fear Failure or What Others Think

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

George Addair

“He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.”

Jean-Luc Godard

“Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely. That’s the thing people don’t get.”

Larry Page

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable.

Isaac Asimov

“The status quo feels comfortable and steady because much of the choice has been squeezed out.”

Chip and Dan Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

“It didn’t take guts to follow the crowd, that courage and intelligence lay in being willing to be different.”

Jackie Robinson

“Becoming original is not the easiest path in the pursuit of happiness, but it leaves us perfectly poised for the happiness of pursuit.”

Adam Grant, Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World

“Operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter”

Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown.

“You see what is possible, but imitators just see what you have done.”

Brad Smith, The Birth of a Brand

“When something goes wrong in your life just yell ‘PLOT TWIST’, and move on.”

Molly Weiss

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”

Vincent Van Gogh

You Have the Power

“There’s no cell type that geniuses have that the rest of us don’t.”

Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise

“We can create our own potential.”

Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise

“If you can’t change the status quo, make the status quo, change.”

Royce White

“Great creators don’t necessarily have the deepest expertise but rather seek out the broadest perspectives.”

Adam Grant, Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World

“The odds of producing an influential or successful idea are a positive function of the total number of ideas generated.”


“A genius is the one most like himself.”

Thelonious Monk

One Final Thought

This is my all-time favorite think outside the box quote, and one I try to live by every day:

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”

Oscar Wilde


Which of these think outside the box quotes resonates most with you? Or do you have a quote that’s not on this list?

Share it with the rest of us in the comments below!

Then get there and put those words into action.

And for outside the box ideas, see this list and join our unconventional newsletter for a new one every month:

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