It has been a long time since my last post was published. I know that exams and excursions are nothing but a bad excuse for not writing down thoughts that I have been carrying around for a while already. With every day on which I did nothing, I felt a little worse. This feeling emphasizes the impact that 2Buc’s advice of doing something every day that benefits myself has had on me. So finally, I have found the energy to get back to the creation of words and paragraphs. And yet, even during the time of not being productive in a classical way, my mind has been…
In one book of his “The Song of Ice and Fire” series books, George R.R. Martin has written down this sentences: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies […]. The man who never reads lives only one.” I think, he has a point with this statement. But following this thought, there could be another meaning that is hidden between the words. It is a simple call, yet powerful and easy to follow: Be curious!
Of course, there are many ways of being curious. You can discover new things by sticking your nose into a book (or an eBook reader). The pure knowledge and the stories that you might find are countless and beyond any man’s ability to memorize. So you can narrow down your sources. If you need a new business idea for e-commerce, you might stick to the topic-related literature. If you want to learn about religions and spiritual habits, you might stay with this kind of texts. But still, all those undoubtedly valuable insights are nothing but a tiny fragment of the real world that exists outside.
So the second possibility to be curious is even simpler than your nose in a book: Open your door and discover the world. It is every single step, every glimpse of your eyes and every moment of your life that can inspire you. The funny thing is, that you can experience the same situation hundreds of times until you realize the gift that this situation holds for you. Let me give you a more tangible explanation of what I mean:
During my last two semesters in Stuttgart, I did a twenty-five minute walk in the morning to get to class. It was pure routine, and I walked the same path five times a week, not counting the way back which was also the same. On that way, I passed a church that was surrounded by an artificial lake being called the fire lake. I often wondered about this contradictory name, but I never investigated further. Half a year later, a friend of mine visited me and I had to show her around my city. Of course, we stopped at the fire lake. My friend asked me about the origins of the lake and why it was called fire lake. I could not give an answer to her, so I googled it and found the simple explanation. Its name originated from the 1900s shortage of water for firefighting in Stuttgart, which forced the local government to create an artificial lake to ensure water supply for emergencies. The moment I read about this simple explanation of the lake’s name, I became aware that I had always pictured a completely different explanation in my mind, imaging that at some point in time, this lake was actually burning and that the church was kind of a holy memory for this event. For no reason, I had taken my imaginative explanation as given and not questioned it. But when I learned about the lake’s real and less spectacular origin, I did not want to waste my invented explanation. So I decided that this fire lake would find its way into one of my books. It still feels strange that you walk past one and the same place again and again and yet it takes hundreds of walks to realize what our minds are capable of.
However, routine cannot be the solution to everything. Sometimes, it definitely widens your horizon to leave the safe shores to move into unknown waters. During my semester break in March, I made a completely new experience by spending some time in Tanzania, Africa. With new locations, situations and experiences, you get new impressions and your level of imagination reaches unknown heights. Let it be because of your fear for the unknown or because of your mind trying to fill gaps of knowledge that have emerged. I bet that everybody’s mind is filled with curiosity and a will to learn and discover if so many new impressions knock on his or her doors of perception.
Finally, do always have in mind that it is the people who give you company on your way to new ideas. It is them who lead you on the path at whose end you discover your next imaginative treasure chest. I think that there is barely one big idea that I have had all alone. There has always been a small chat in class, a discussion with critics on the train or deep, honest and inspirational hour-lasting conversations in a hammock in Zanzibar that have opened my eyes for a new thought.
“Do always have in mind that it is the people who give you company on your way to new ideas.”
So what to take with you this time? From this point on, I do not accept the excuse of “I don’t know where to find inspiration” anymore. Ideas can be found anywhere, be it inside of books, on your daily commute or at the most strange places on earth. Every conversation has the potential of giving you a new point of view that might lead to a new idea. The only thing that is important is that you are willing to listen. Listen to your counterpart’s arguments and stories. Listen to the stories told on every single page of a book. And listen to the world around you with your ears, skin and eyes, as everything has the potential to ignite your next creative thought.