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The Seed Of Imagination Is Others

July 18, 2019

My mind races a lot. I can’t help it. Whenever I talk to someone, read something, observe an interaction, etc. I immediately start thinking about other things. It’s not an absentmindedness. I’m present. I’m just busy making connections between what I’m learning and have already learned. If I’m lucky, I’ll come up with ideas as I combine two ideas in a new way.

And I’m starting to see the benefits of accumulating these ideas. The more ideas I have access to, the richer the set of experiences I’ve experienced, the faster the flywheel spins and the more connections I come up with.

A few weeks ago I was feeling really drained. It was a physical exhaustion and I just wasn’t as interested in reading or learning as normal. Fortunately, my friend Sam called me. Carving out time to talk, without an agenda, and explore ideas rejuvenated me.

Reflecting on the sudden infusion of energy I got from that conversation, I drew two lessons:

  1. It’s important for me to always be filling up my inspiration cup - listening, reading, observing provides the raw materials I need to be fulfilled. They’re necessary, but not sufficient.
  2. The refinement of those materials into a finished product is best accomplished through conversation and my mood reflects that.

This creates a nice virtuous cycle. I learn new things. I share them. I come away richer and with even more new ideas. Repeat.

The important part then, is that I need to share. It’s why I write - to start conversations.1 It’s why I call friends even when texting might be easier. It’s not about broadcasting, because it’s not about me. It’s about the exchange of ideas.

When I talk with others, I get new ideas. It’s why I’ve come to believe that the seed of imagination is not myself - it’s others.

Footnotes

1 Writing Is Just The Beginning


Stephen Weiss

Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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