They say curiosity kills the cat... but newsflash, they have nine lives so they can afford it! This is one reason I'm thoroughly convinced I was a cat before at one point in time. My curiosity seems to be almost never-ending. I often find myself in a black hole of Wikipedia hyperlinks until my eyes are properly damaged, dry, and strained. Knowing how things work is the key to repair. It is also the key to improvement. They say a 4-year-old asks about 300 questions a day. I can almost bet that number decreases the older we all get, but why? Why do we stop being so inquisitive about how everything works? Is it because we think we know all the answers already? Are there too many questions to be asked, and we simply get overwhelmed?
Last week, I had quite the array of arts and humanity immersion here in NYC. I got the chance to experience TWO Broadway shows, AND an opera (the opera happened to be a double feature, so basically two operas as well). I really do enjoy and appreciate every single one I've ever seen. The production value overall is extremely impressive. Sometimes during performances, my mind wanders to how the production came to be. All of the elaborate sets, costumes, scripts, scores, and people, in general, come together, work long hard hours, and inspire the masses...all sparking from one simple idea. It's amazing if you really take the time to sit there and think about it all.
I suppose I've always been really curious about how things work and how they are made. Maybe that's why I want to do and be every profession I see someone else doing. It's because the process is often one of the more fascinating parts. This goes for individuals as well. Let's take Oprah for example. Her life story seems almost impossible to fathom at times. She was born in Mississippi to a poor unwed teenage mother, skip a few decades and BAM she has a networth of over $3 BILLION dollars! How can one NOT be interested in every single detail of how it came to be? In a less personified example, there are certain tangible "man-made" everyday things that still completely boggle my mind. Every time I get on an airplane, I spend the entire first hour trying to wrap my head around the fact that a 175,000-pound chunk of metal is gliding through the air so smoothly. How?? One could only know these things from asking questions, doing the research, and taking it apart piece by piece to see how it all connects.
In addition to all the performances, I also started reading a very fascinating new book. The book is fiction, but it's based on the true story of the lawsuit between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over... basically the light bulb. There was a particular passage that stood out to me. Another inventor, Nikola Tesla, was in between jobs at the two companies, but being won over by Westinghouse. In the book, Tesla seems like quite the oddball (I have to do some more research on him to find out if it's accurate or not), but he was pretty much a genius of innovation. When he moved to NYC and wanted to work for Edison, his audition of sorts was fixing an engine on a boat. "Engines are not complicated things. People seem so fearful of them. A fear of digging one's hands inside. Too many moving parts. I am quite brilliant, you know, and yet while I would wish for this tale to illustrate my brilliance, it doesn't. Because any one of persons can fix an engine. All you do, you see, is you take the first part. You study: What is this piece doing? To what is it connected? An engine is a chain, and all chains are made of linkings." For some reason, this passage really spoke to me! The things we think are so scary, huge, and unattainable probably just need to be taken apart piece by piece and analyzed in relation to the connection it has to the next part. It's a process. A step by step process that doesn't really have to be as hard as we think it to be.
Sure, some things in life may seem very overwhelming and almost impossible to achieve, such as putting on an entire Broadway musical, creating electricity, acquiring a network of billions, but that's because we are looking at the end result before the process. Most great things do indeed take time. Some longer than others. But who are we to put time constraints on greatness? Don't let your goals scare you so much to the point that you don't even attempt them. Just focus on what the next step will be. Also, watching the process from start to finish on other things proves to be very inspiring. Tutorials on Youtube are another way I spend most of my non-Wikipedia time online. Even tutorials of things I know good and well I'll never do myself! Just watching everything come together is oddly satisfying. And quite beautiful!
P.s. I might not make anything this cool ever, but some of my favorite "how-it's-made" type videos are from the fashion world:
P.p.s. I thought Nikola Tesla made Teslas for the longest time...
P.p.p.s. It's Oprah's birthday today!