Today I’m thankful for the metaphor of a shoebox diorama.
For some reason I still remember bits and pieces of an elementary school craft project I made a long time ago. I took a shoebox, built a scene using small toy dinosaurs and scenery made of construction paper and other materials, and put the scene inside the shoebox. After that I cut a large hole in the lid and covered the hole with colored tissue paper. I then cut a few holes in the sides of the box in random places. Once the holes were all cut I taped the lid on and the covered the box in construction paper – leaving the holes open and the tissue paper uncovered. The shoebox diorama was complete! I could then take a look in the box from one of the holes and then look at it again from another hole. While the scene inside was the same there were details that looked completely different from the new angle. Colors were different, the lighting changed, and it just looked slightly different and had new meaning. All these years later I still think back to how cool that was, so many different ways of looking at the same thing.
In one of his books, Jim Collins said that his books were all new holes cut into the box for different angles. All looking at the same thing, but from different perspectives. This metaphor was a new one to me and it was one that really made sense, it was one I could easily “see” in my brain. It has stuck ever since, but has recently started to take on new meaning.
The metaphor to me has really started to sink in as I think of my life, situations I’ve encountered, interactions with others, and when thinking of others (like yesterday’s post). It seems like each stage of my life (sometimes even each day) there’s a new hole to peer in if I take the time to look at it. It helps me see situations from when I was a kid to see more of the big picture. More holes showing me things that I either wasn’t looking for, had the wrong angle to see, or were hidden in the shadows. Sometimes I just needed to see more of the picture to get the context of it. Just as I start thinking I fully understand I realize that there’s still some unexplored views, something else that I haven’t quite seen or that I haven’t seen in the right way. Maybe that’s wisdom slowly sinking in, realizing that I know just enough to know how little I probably really know!
This metaphor has started helping me out, taking one situation and trying to put context to it. It reminds me to look at life from other perspectives. Sometimes it seems like the more life I experience the more holes I have to look in on, which is great and makes me think I’m making progress… Until I realize that the more life I experience the more boxes I have to look inside of!
Regardless of the situation, event, interaction, or memory, I find that there are usually some very fulfilling answers when I take time to look in each eye hole and look at it from a new perspective. Kind of silly, but yes, I seriously picture the shoebox diorama in my head every time I think of that metaphor!