Box? What box? I don’t see any box!

Some people think inside the box. They think within rules and parameters set forth by whatever authority exists.

Some people think outside the box. They ignore these rules and parameters, and do their own thing.

And then some of us don’t see a box.

I was in law school for one semester. It didn’t go well, hence, one semester. But, after midterms, one professor met with me because she thought my participation in class was much better than my exam grade. She asked me what study group I was in. I said, essentially, “Huh?” I didn’t know there were study groups! I mean, I guess I knew, in a vague way, that some people studied together. I know some people did that in high school and college. But in law school, apparently, it’s much more organized.

Inside the box – study in a group.
Outside the box – study on your own.
What box? – There are study groups?

Most of the time, though, I am unaware that I am not seeing a box. Almost by definition, that’s true. I mean, if I do NOT see the box, I do NOT know there’s a box not to see, except in rare cases when the box is explicitly pointed out to me.

But sometimes I can divine the presence of a box.

Somehow, people know what clothes to wear to lots of events. Because when I go, I see nearly everyone dressed alike. Some are not. But, usually, these people are dressed in ways that make you explicitly aware that they are deliberately going outside the box. Sometimes, the invitation makes the box obvious. But when it doesn’t, I don’t.

There’s lots and lots of social, nonverbal communication that happens where I don’t see the box.

Thinking inside the box has its advantages and disadvantages.
So does thinking outside the box.

But being aware of the box is probably good.


  1. I totally understand what you mean. I remember years ago hearing a colloquialism about not being able to fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. As a 49 year old woman, I was never diagnosed with NLD or any LD, but I had a lot of these symptoms throughout my life. Researching for my daughter I’ve discovered this cluster of behaviors actually has a name. Overall, I see what you talk about here as a societal issue first, then possibly an LD issue. Again, tfs

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