How I find ideas in trivial details. The guy who stares at screws. by Nathan Kontny
Some folks have been interested in where I find blog ideas and ideas in general.
If some of this type of thing interests you, keep your eyes open for future posts. Today I just want to share a tiny little bit about where I get ideas from.
One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that a lot of things interest me.
I’m not entriely sure this is a thing that can be taught.
But if it can be, I hope sharing some bits about how much even little things interest me can inspire the behavior in others. Because when folks become interested in many many things, I see awesomeness happen. People listen more. People come up with more ideas. People are more tolerant of the differences in others.
I believe it was when I was about 14 when I was sitting alone, it’s raining outside, and I was manning a golf course pro-shop my dad used to own. I realized I had started making a habit of daydreaming about little details of things. I’d be sitting on a chair, and my thoughts would start to wander. I’d stare at a door. I’d start to think about the hinges on the door. Soon I’d find my focus on the screws that held the hinges to the door. Macroscopically, that’s about as far as my eyes can go looking at this door.
So I’d just sit there thinking about those screws.
There’s a company who manufactured the screws. There were decisions made about what kind of screws to make. What lengths and sizes. What materials. What kind of machines needed to be made to make them. Maybe they were thinking about expanding their business because hopefully there’s such high demand for their product.
There were probably quality assurance people looking over the screws. My particular screw may have even been manually handled by someone randomly looking over the quality of screws after they were machine milled.
The journey of the screw didn’t stop with its creation. That screw got put into a box and sold from somewhere. It traveled on some kind of truck by a guy who might be going deaf in his left ear from having the window open on the highway for so many years. It was probably brought to a True Value Hardware or a place like Home Depot or Menards and sold by someone probably not much older than me working at their cash register waiting eagerly for their shift to end to go out tonight.
It was sold to a guy, who, one day many years before my family got involved, probably sweating profusely from a pretty tough friggin job of putting a golf course pro-shop together, put that screw into that hinge.
All these people. All these processes. Creativity. Struggles. Pain. Sweat. And hopefully a lot of joy. Went into putting a screw into a hinge to help a door open and close at a store I was working in.
I’ll never meet most of the people on that journey. And they’ll never meet me.
It’s pouring outside. There is such a calm around me in this place with absolutely no one around. But I’m surrounded by so many things as simple as that screw, and by the people and creativity that went into creating them.
And I’ll never realize exactly how many stories are truly along that path. I’ll never get to participate in the myriad of jobs that had to exist to get that screw to where it is today.
But the journey inspires me. The journey leads to a million ideas and stories I can learn from. The journey is filled with a million bits and pieces of wisdom to follow and pitfalls to avoid.
When you learn to examine the trivial details of the things around you, you realize that nothing is really trivial. Everything has a beautifully long and winding backstory. When you listen for some of those stories, life gets a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
So when someone asks me where I find ideas?
Where can’t you find ideas?