Of Pencils and boxes

of pencils and boxes
of pencils and boxes
Spread a smile

If you were to explore your creative skills and offer your ideas and imagination about two themes from our daily life, one a pencil and another a box, I’m convinced that most amongst you can propose exciting and impressive ideas that reveal your unique originality and viewpoints. 

Reflection of two great writers

Before you discover your ideas, let us read up about the creative intelligence of two celebrated contemporary writers.

Paulo Coelho’s short story on the pencil 

Nassim Nicholas’s aphorism on boxes.

Paulo Coelho

The proclaimed author who shot to fame with his bestselling novel , The Alchemist, needs no introduction as his philosophical views, and fictional works have captured the world’s attention like no other.

The story of a pencil

 In one of his anecdotes, the story of a pencil, Paulo Coelho recounts about a grandmother, sharing her worldly wisdom with her grandchild. The grandmother hoped that her grandchild could appreciate few inherent qualities of a pencil or try to emulate its traits while growing up. To the intrigued boy who is wondering what kind of wisdom to expect from an inanimate object like a pencil, the grandmother narrates her metaphorical tale.

The story goes like,

A hand to guide you

You, like a pencil, are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

A sharpner

Now and then, a pencil has to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear inevitable pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.


The pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

What’s Inside matter

What really matters in pencil is not it’s wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

Leaves a mark

Finally, the pencil always leaves a mark.

In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.

Nassim Nicolas Taleb

A no-nonsense trader-philosopher-statistician-author of contemporary period. Considered to be one the most excellent analyst, and economist, who has amassed more critics than followers due to his uncompromising attitude and intellectual fearlessness.

The black swan, Antifragile, Fooled by randomness are few of his acclaimed works.

In his short aphorisms on boxes, Taleb insightfully draws the circle of life.

Taleb’s Aphorism on boxes

They are born, then put in a box; they go home to live in a box; they study by ticking boxes; they go to what is called “work” in a box, where they sit in their cubicle box; they drive to the grocery store in a box to buy food in a box; they go to the gym in a box to sit in a box; they talk about thinking “outside the box”; and when they die they are put in a box: all boxes, Euclidean, geometrically smooth boxes.

Short snippets great thoughts

Now you can try writing down your version of pencils and boxes. Perhaps, these writings, with their hidden insights might influence your creations as well. I’m not encouraging plagiarism, but as Picasso noted, Lesser artists borrow, Great artists, steal. Not in the literal sense, though.

Sayeeda Pearl

Doctor by profession, Trivandrum medical college alumni, a passionate reader first, writing tidbits here and there on this and that. Sharing bits of life’s fascinating teachings that everyone encounters.

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