The most interesting thing about inspirations is that they can come both from substantial impulses from renowned opinion gurus guiding you in all your life, as well as in the form of tiny nuances from relatively anonymous, yet interesting, persons influencing your ordinary day.
The latter case is a story about Ivan Medek, a great man, important personality of the Czech anti-communist opposition, originally Czech classic music critic and later journalist. His broadcasts from the Voice of America, Vienna, encouraged both anti-communist dissidents and ordinary people in his native country. He was born to a remarkable family: his father was General of the Czechoslovak Army and catholic writer, Rudolf Medek, and his brother, Mikuláš Medek, is considered one of the most important painters of the Czech modern, post-war period.
I had the privilege to work with Mr. Medek at the Office of the President of Václav Havel where he held the position of the Head of the Presidency. When he was appointed this position, he had a meeting with his predecessor with whom Mr. Medek consulted on the particularities of the new function. Among other things, his predecessor talked about one of their colleagues: a lady who held the position of Director of a department, and was one of the President’s senior advisors.
“Mr. Medek”, the predecessor said, “I have to gently warn you. Our lady-colleague is very consultative type of person, she wanted to debate things with me almost every day in my office and I did not know how to indicate to her how bothering it is.”
Some time passed and Mr. Medek and his predecessor met again and they came to the same delicate topic.
“I have no problem with her”, Mr. Medek said, “she does not bother me at all.”
“How did you achieve it ?”, his counterpart asked, totally surprised.
“Quite simply”, Mr. Medek explained, “She called me the first day in my office and wanted to come to see me. I interrupted her by saying: ‘Dr. X, you are a lady and I cannot bother you by you coming to see me. I will come to see you.’”
Mr. Medek went to the opposite side of the building, knocked the door at her office, entered and found the lady completely stunned. In effect, Mr. Medek was the first superior in her long professional life who came to see her instead of her coming to the superior’s office.
Mr. Medek listened to her and when he felt the time had been up, excused himself he could not stay longer, and left. He needn’t embarrass her by asking to leave his office.
Indeed, inspiration need not necessarily come to you from the world thinkers but from ordinary people, making your ordinary day better. Having Mr. Medek in mind, no one is really ordinary. Moreover, influencing your ordinary day, you actually have a mission for all your life. You just have to look around, with your eyes – and mind – open.