Boxes are comfortable

I am a great fan of Australian cartoonist Judy Horacek. For me, her cartoons hit the spot every time.

This month, she is featuring ‘ideas’ – thoughts, inspirations, some innovative and agile experiences and some failures. One of her cartoons features a girl inside a box. She’s thinking inside the box while a colleague assures her she has to think outside the box – everyone’s doing it.   Unmoved and unconvinced, the girl simply replies, “it’s nice in here”….


I kind of like to think I’m not this girl, but it might be time to get honest. When I do think about thinking outside the box I realise this is hard to do.  It requires superhuman mental strength to step beyond my beliefs, attitudes and habits of a lifetime.

Thinking inside the box reminds me of Schrodinger’s cat.  Schrodinger was an Austrian physicist.  He imagined taking a cat and placing it in a sealed box with a device that had a 50% chance of killing the cat within the next hour. At the end of that hour what is the state of the cat?  Alive or dead? Well, according to quantum physics, at the instant before the box is opened, the cat is equal parts alive and dead at the same time. It’s only when the box is opened that we see a single, definite state. Until then the cat is a blur or probability – half one thing, half the other.

OK, I’m going to stop at that point, because quantum physics gets seriously complex from here on in. All I’ll say is … maybe while I stay within my sealed box, thinking only within my box, I am neither dead nor alive. Half and half, so-so, yes-no, may be-could be, and so it goes.

I have days when I don’t want the box opened.  Thinking inside the box is so comfortable, so safe, so secure and so non-confronting.  But I know instinctively that these are the days when I’m not fully alive.  I’m not adventurous, not brave, not inquisitive, not seeking wonder, discovery or challenge. Forget the magic.

My box is nice. I like it in there. But inside my box I’m only half what I could be if I stepped outside the box and thought outside the box and embraced a world of new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Maybe it’s time to stretch the legs and leave the box behind?  After all, who wants to be a blur or probability all their life?  Definitely not me.

Thanks Judy Horacek – only I can see my box – but you got me thinking.