Learning about life through metaphorical boxes


  1. If you think of a box as your environment, then everything in that environment will influence you.
  2. The problem arises when we get older and it’s up to us to get up and move boxes.
  3. Ask yourself, “what is my world? In which ways is the box I’m currently in constricting me? And how is it stifling my thoughts and ambitions? What are the kind of thoughts that will lead me out of this particular box?”

Alright, so it’s not exactly a chart, but a picture. But this picture is powerful: it captures how imagined realities can create real restrictions on our everyday lives. According to Dino Mihalopoulos of Permissionless Life, “each box can both define and constrain our life. We can grow by examining and changing boxes or we can stagnate by staying in our existing ones.”

In his post, Dino takes a look at life as a series of boxes which directly influence what we pay attention to. “We can stay in the comfortable boxes we know the best, even if they’re not right for us,” he writes. “We can also choose to take a leap of faith by jumping into new, but uncertain, boxes that may help us get closer to what we really want.”

While he doesn’t advocate for readers to dramatically shift their lifestyles or ecosystems, he does argue to “give yourself the option to move in those directions.” He finishes by quoting Tobi Lutke, CEO and Co-founder of Shopify:

Life is this really, really interesting series of entering a box, seeing what it is sort of made of, probing at it, analyzing, seeing how things work, seeing what way gravity is pushing you, and then sort of understanding it and feeling familiar. This is the nice part. Every time you reach there it becomes very comfortable. And then you might learn something that isn’t reconcilable with this world you think exists. That is the very thing that cracks it and you get into the next box. And you start it again. Again and again and again.

Learn More

  1. Permissionless Life
  2. Tobi Lütke, CEO, Shopify
  3. Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility by James Carse