“…it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop — and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.
You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.
That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.
And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. what’s more, you aren’t out of breath. That’s important, too… (28–29)” ― Michael Ende, Momo
This morning I woke up inspired.
It’s an amazing sensation when after weeks or even months of groping around in the fog of information and glimpses of idea to solve a problem, that is obsessing you, finally the pieces just assemble themselves and take a precise shape in your mind. The steps to take to reach your destination are so plain and simple, that is spontaneous to think: “Why didn’t I realize it earlier?”.
This is the main trouble with any creative, problem-solving process. It’s unpredictable the time it takes to give results and moreover you almost never can explain what in particular had light the spark and dissipate the fog of your thoughts.
Once, I’d read an essay wrote by a neurobiologist, who clearly explained how most of the times the solutions of scientific problem suddenly arise while the scientists aren’t consciously concentrated on the issue, because actually the mind is going on elaborating the information in the background. And what it’s really surprising is that the successful outcome of this process doesn’t rely only on the knowledge that is directly related with the topic one is looking into, but it benefits from every aspect of one’s life: interests, hobbies, passions, readings, relationships; etc…
We usually tend to attribute success only to hard working and an innate genius for a specific profession. And so it looks unrealistic to us the ambition of reaching the summits of our heroes.
Since I was a child, I’d dreamed of working as writer. My relatives many times have attempted to dissuade me from this lifelong aspiration, because only the famous ones can earn money from their writing. From their point of view, the right career for me was teaching, an economically more secure source of income. How many great writers might have the humankind lost for an akin argument?
The great pioneers in every field of human knowledge throughout history had started with nothing at all, except a dream in their mind and the perseverance of their passion. They had no special or hidden power inside them, but a strenuous belief in moving forward along the road they’d taken. Retrospectively, we look at their success as something of obvious, but at the beginning of their feat, they were considered as much fools as we regard the pioneers of today. Since only the time will show us if they’re able to make their dream true.
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