Episode 001

The Quest for Our Best Ideas

Jeffrey’s Premise:

There is one human experience above all others that resides at the crux of a meaningful life, of meaningful relationships, and of meaningful and challenging work. It resides at the impulse to make something novel, useful, and beautiful: wonder.

What is the key ingredient of a meaningful life? As entrepreneurs, we are called to create—to make something novel, useful, and beautiful. That impulse is wonder. And if we can reframe our work as a quest and approach each day with openness and curiosity, new possibilities emerge.

This season on Tracking Wonder we are exploring the creative entrepreneur’s quest for meaningful work, asking ourselves:

  • How can we face challenges with less worry and more wonder?
  • How can we convert pain into purpose?
  • How can we get the right stuff done without burning out?

Today, Jeffrey introduces us to the theme of this season at Tracking Wonder through the story of world-renowned author Haruki Murakami. Jeffrey recreates the unique moment when Murakami got the idea to write his first novel—during a baseball game. We explore the gap between idea and action, exploring the true meaning of flow and what it takes to pursue your quest day in and day out. Jeffrey discusses the idea of ikigai, explaining how the human impulse to create facilitates a meaningful life. Listen in for insight around the role of curiosity in the twenty-first century and learn how wonder can help us see people, problems and possibilities in fresh ways.

Key Takeaways

[1:27] The theme of this season at Tracking Wonder

  • Explore creative entrepreneur’s quest for meaningful work

[2:56] The story of Haruki Murakami

  • Idea to write novel came at baseball game
  • Uses distance running as training for writing
  • Regarded as most influential living novelist

[6:21] How to advance your own best ideas

  • Reframe as daily quest
  • Requires sustained focus
  • Face voluntary challenges (flow)
  • Risk for something greater than self

[10:22] The human experience that facilitates a meaningful life

  • Impulse to create something
  • Childlike curiosity, wonder

[13:39] How wonder dissolves cynicism

  • See people, problems in fresh ways

A special thanks to the early supporters of the Tracking Wonder Podcast. Your enthusiasm, feedback, and support helped make this possible. Thank you.

A few very special early supporters:
Latise Hairston, Ali Singer, Ron Sparks, Loraine Van Tuyl, Jenny Oney, Nancy Burger, Michal Spiegelman, Fatemé Banishoeib, Lyn de Graaf, Bethany Hegadus, Becky Lindstrom, Laura Worth, Shannon Allstott, Melissa Bennett, Hector Baltazar, Hillary Thing


Each week brings you in-depth conversations with leaders, stories from change-makers, and provocative ideas from artists and scientists – all designed to inspire you to shape your best work with more possibility, impact, and – yes – wonder.