What Walls Will You Run Into?

You wake up from the sunlight. It shines right into your face.

You open your eyes and realize: you’re in a box. A square, plastic box, just large enough for you to stand in. You get up and look around. It’s dark, except from above. Some kind of hatch’s been opened, so sunlight can fall in.

Suddenly, the box starts to rise. Like an elevator. It moves closer to the light. And closer. And closer. Now, you’re in the open. Still in the box, but you can see nature all around you. Green canopy, animal sounds. A jungle of some kind? Whatever it is, it looks dangerous.

But, what’s that? Just outside the box, facing each of its four sides, about 10 feet away, there are four walls. Huge, towering, red-brick walls. You can barely see any green between them.

Sprawled across each wall in bright, white letters are your four biggest goals in life. How did they know? Who even is ‘they?’

Before you can ask more questions, a buzzer sounds. Your plastic prison falls apart, leaving you exposed. Whatever this game is, looks like it has begun.

So many questions, but only one that matters:

Which wall will you run for - and how fast can you reach it?

The biggest wall a painter can run into is not painting at all. That one’s a thousand feet long and equally as high. And it’s right in front of the painter’s nose. But as soon as she first swings the brush, it magically disappears.

The next one is a little further away. A little smaller. And a little easier to get around. Maybe, it’s not painting consistently, or using the wrong technique, or judging her work too early. But since she scaled that first wall, it’s another one she can handle.

Wherever you are in life, you have to work with what you’re given. Everything we have, our minds, our bodies, is part of the starting equipment inside that plastic box. Once you’re out of it, it’s on you to choose your walls - and use it as best as you can.

What are the biggest walls you could run into by overlooking them? Which ones really matter? And why are you afraid of tackling them?

Whatever this game is, I can assure you, it has already begun. So pick your walls - and then run for them.


About Thought Experiment Thursday: Einstein said we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking that created them. Science estimates we have about 35 thoughts per minute. That’s a lot of chances to change our thinking. So on Thursdays, that’s what we’ll practice.

A question opens the mind. A statement closes it. Let’s keep ours wide open.

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