Yesterday, I found myself in one of the many philosophical conversations I’ve had with my colleague, Herb Sawyer (smart, insightful dude) and we were talking about books. Specifically, he was saying how “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” was one of the books that had a profound impact on him and his career. It’s the type of book that when you read it, it’s like a match that sparks something – an interest, a thought, a belief – that was previously unlit. And once it’s lit, it turns into a bonfire. It changes you, your thinking, and your perspective unlike any other book (or story) that you’ve read. It is inspiring.
I’m not that big on business books. Non-fiction, in general, doesn’t do that much for me. (That said, I have read some good ones – “Mavericks at Work”, “Miracle on the Hudson”, “Outliers”, and the aforementioned “A Whole New Mind”, to name a few.)
My inspiration lies in fiction. I love fiction. If I could do anything, without financial worry, I would write fiction all day, every day. I didn’t grow up wanting to write fiction. I don’t even remember enjoying writing as a kid other than perfecting penmanship (who else got graded on that on your report cards?) It wasn’t until college, when I started writing plays and screenplays that I fell in love with creating through writing. Then, I read a book that changed the way I look at writing and how I aspire to create. It lit that flame for me that turned into a bonfire.
There hasn’t been a more powerful book, source of creative inspiration, transformative spark to me than “A Moveable Feast” by Earnest Hemingway. When I read it, it was clear to me that I could and should write forever. I was moved in a profound way, one that reaffirmed a deeper sense of purpose, one that told me as long as I keep doing this, all will be good.
Now, I enjoy books. I enjoy reading. You may feel otherwise. Regardless of the medium, I think it’s important to have one (or a few) of those anchors of inspiration in your career, something that has a profound and lasting impact. At some point, be it hours, days, weeks, or god-forbid, years, we get to a point to where what we’re doing feels like a job. This particular spark keeps me going in those moments and re-invigorates me to the point of being truly purposeful. What’s your spark? Write it down, remember it, share it with others, and when in doubt, no matter how often, refer back to it. Be one with your inner bonfire.