It is recorded that one day, Confucius was presented with a small marble that was filled with tiny holes with twists and turns. He was challenged to try thread the marble with a piece of thread. Confucius tried and tried but could not complete the challenge.
Feeling lost, he asked for some time to think and took a walk. A passing woman noticed him and asked what was wrong. Upon hearing the story, the woman said: “Think quietly, quieten your thoughts”. This gave Confucius an idea, so he thanked the woman and returned to the puzzle. In Chinese, the character for “quiet (密, mi)” sounds the same as “honey (蜜, mi)”. He found an ant, tied a thread around its waist and then placed it on one hole. He smeared some honey on the hole on the other side of the marble and the ant followed the scent, threading the marble as it travelled through the twists and turns.
Thomas Edison famously said that “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. Although this quote is usually used to stress the importance of effort and striving to succeed, you still need that 1% of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to achieve true success. The inspiration can be from anywhere – a small memory in the recess of your mind, the casual remark of a passerby, an insignificant detail in your surrounding… What is important that you open your eyes and be open to such inspiration, no matter how silly or lowly you think the source is. You never know what or who will inspire you to have a eureka moment.
The following is a story from a school in Detroit, USA, many years ago. One day during class, the class lost a mouse that was needed for an experiment. The students looked desperately for the mouse, but no one could find it. The teacher then said: “Everyone be quiet, Stevie Morris will be able to find the mouse”.
The students replied: “That’s impossible, Morris will never find the mouse”. The reason being, Morris was blind.
The teacher said: “You’re right. But Morris, while not being able to see, has excellent hearing. He will be able to hear and find the mouse that you cannot see”.
Morris was extremely touched by this comment. He realised that his blindness was not just a disability, but also gave him a superior sense of hearing compared to others. Morris used his hearing to nurture his musical talent and became a successful singer-songwriter. This boy is Stevie Wonder.
Talent is not something grand. At first, it merely appears tiny, useless and infantile. Stevie Wonder only started off as a boy with good hearing; he was not born a genius singer-songwriter. To develop a talent into a real talent, two extra factors are needed. The first is a master, such as Stevie Wonder’s teacher, who can identify and nurture a child’s natural talent. The second is another talent that when combined with the master’s guidance, develops the talent into something great. This something is effort. Effort is a talent that everyone can have. Those who complain that they are talentless are simply people who have not yet put in the effort.
“No one wants to die.
Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it.
And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.
Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.
Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.”
~ Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.
There are five physical senses and five mental senses.
The physical senses are sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
The mental senses are emotions, imagination, intuition, understanding and inspiration.
If a person only uses their five physical senses to live, that is like using the five fingers on their left hand only.
(Die fünf Sinne (The Five Senses) by Hans Makart, 1840-1884)