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I came across this blog post here from the Passive Voice blog about an encounter someone named Joel Runyan had at a Portland coffee shop with Russell Kirsch, the inventor of the world’s first internally programmable computer. He had also created the first digital image. It is a fantastic post that I recommend reading in full:

http://joelrunyon.com/two3/an-unexpected-ass-kicking

In the post he retells part of the conversation they had, and it is something every creative person – everyone – should keep at the top of their heads:

“I’ve always believed that nothing is withheld from us what we have conceived to do. Most people think the opposite – that all things are withheld from them which they have conceived to do and they end up doing nothing.”…

That’s good, who said that?

God did.

What?

God said it and there were only two people who believed it, you know who?

Nope, who?

God and me, so I went out and did it.

He then wrote a follow up post on the seven things he learned from his encounter with Russell Kirsch.

  • Make Stuff
  • Be humble
  • Don’t trifle over details too much
  • Stop complaining, start fixing
  • Keep creating and don’t stop
  • Live more so you have your own stories
  • Stop reading, start doing.

Joel Runyon was keenly aware that he could have easily shut out the elderly gentlemen from the start, and many people do just that – assuming what they are doing is more important than listening to someone else. It was a reminder to give everyone at least the chance, because you never know what you may learn from them. Whether it is the inventor of digital pictures or some random person in a coffee shop.

Aside from a few self-absorbed ‘crazies’ or pickup artists, perhaps there is a reason someone chose to come up and talk to us, and it is worth taking the time to listen rather than just dismiss anyone out of hand just because we may be fixated on some other thing at the moment.

I’d add to stop daydreaming to the list as well, and just do something. You might not be good at first, but if you like doing it and keep at it enough, you will be.

And thank you Joel Runyon for hitting ‘publish’ and sharing it with the rest of the world.

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