Inspired Living

One of my very favorite activities is to deposit myself someplace where there are loads of people going to and fro and simply watch what happens. I am fascinated by the magic and the mystery that is woven into daily human interactions: their outfits, their facial expressions, the way they carry themselves, their conversations.  And the reason for all this wondrous curiosity is because I love storytelling.

 

In fact, when you think about it, what part of life does not involve storytelling? A former classmate explained to me that her primary affection for her line of legal work is not the money or the prestige or the butting of heads with equally determined litigators, rather, it’s the storytelling. A man I know back in Santa Barbara who runs a janitorial service says the same thing. “I’ve seen a lot,” he explained, reassuring me that my messy house was far from the worst he’s run across. Architects tell stories with their designs. Policy makes tell stories through their policies—they’re not always good stories or well told, but that’s another blog post. What is the most powerful export the United States has today? Storytelling. Hollywood. (Our ongoing experiment in Democracy, of course, is our most powerful ideal, but the success of its conveyance and dissemination depends on, you guessed it, storytelling.)

 

So, storytelling is what inspires me. What inspires you on a daily basis? What is it that the mere possibility of X happening gets you curious and eager to start your day? How can you introduce more of this into your life? How might you encourage others around you to seed it into their lives?

 

In our rush to keep our little corner of the world swept clean, we may often forget about our personal source of inspiration—earnest, responsible people can lose sight of this spark in the midst of meeting their obligations. But, it’s this glimmer that makes us who we are and which keeps us uniquely ourselves.

 

Whether it’s the joy to be found in cutting edge scientific research or a new expression of a composer’s work or even the ability of a plumbing manufacturer to market his product to someone who might need it, inspiration abounds. Stories are all around us! What story can you find today? What makes you curious enough to greet the day with anticipation? What might you learn about yourself as a result?

 

Stories teach us things; buried within can often be lessons we never expected to learn. Looking back on a difficult time, what do you see now that you couldn’t see then? Might there also be a different way to tell this same story? And, perhaps, yet another, entirely different angle? Push yourself to try. Don’t stop with the first, right answer. A good storyteller always knows there’s a surprise twist.

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