The Idea Dude


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking at the world with new eyes

34 weeks ago, I published the following quote on my miniblog.

The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. (Marcel Proust)

I look at the microwave oven, the yellow sticky note, someone looked at the problem with new eyes and found new applications. I could be argued that Google, eBay, Groupon could be defined the same way, they didn't invent search, auctions or coupons but they looked at them in a new way, with new eyes.

I wondered about how often we drive down the same road day after day, talk to the same people, eat the same food, to a point it becomes routine, done subconsciously. Our favorite neighborhood becomes a blur, a part of our peripheral vision.

Familiarity doesn't necessarily breed contempt, but it dulls the edge. If a sunset was 24 hours long we would stop looking in wonder. If we lived on a beach all year around, we would start complaining about the sand in our shoes.

So where is this going? Just a personal realization, we stop looking at ourselves and the people around us with new eyes. They stop amazing us. At some point our relationships become commodities... it is an insidious process that catches us unaware.

That's what play does for us, it allows us to be delighted, to be amazed, to be surprised. We explore and often we discover. Things and people taken for granted through the passage of time offer new gems. We start to marvel at the hidden grain of weathered wood, the crease of a smile that shows not age but love, the kindness behind a gentle voice.

This is the Christmas to look around us with new eyes and be grateful.