What comes to mind when I say coffee house?
Star bucks? The aromatic smell of coffee? A place where you go to have some respite from your everyday life? Somewhere you meet your friends?
Would you be surprised if I say the humble coffee house was the place where everything that made history, was conceived? This was the place where ideas were born, revolutions started, cultures were embraced and wars initiated.
Coffee has a fascinating history, originating in Africa, travelling around the world to the middle-east, before it was introduced to Europe and eventually America.
The fact that coffee houses were banned both in the middle east and England, at some point, shows it’s remarkable influence on both cultures.
In 1652, Pasqua Rosee, an immigrant, opened the first coffee house in London – “The Turk’s Head”. It sold coffee, tea, tobacco, chocolate, sherbets- perfumed with roses and violets.
It was a huge hit.
Along with coffee, the Turk’s head kicked off a fascination of Turkish culture, so much so, that some of them started wearing turbans in the coffee house. This sparked interest in other cultures past the middle east, all the way to the orient.
By the 18th century, coffee houses were everywhere in England. It matured into a place where people from different backgrounds came and shared ideas, an intellectual place, that was sometimes referred to as the “Penny Universities”. Some men spent so much time there, that even their mails were delivered to the coffee house.
Some of the coffee houses evolved into some of the most influential companies, even today. The notable among them are the Edward Lloyd’s coffee house – Lloyd’s of London insurance company, Jonathan’s coffee house – London Stock Exchange and the Tontine coffee house – New York Stock Exchange.
Did the coffee house owners and baristas know they were changing the world? Would they have viewed their work differently if they knew they were brewing a lot more than just coffee in their establishments?
Rube Goldberg Machine
A Rube Goldberg’s machine, named after the cartoonist, is a device that performs simple functions in a deliberately round about way.
Our lives is one part of the Rube Goldberg machine. We do something, but have no idea how it will be received, or what it might trigger.
The world history is littered with instances, where an inconsequential idea, led to a full fledged revolution. Did you know, the music box laid the groundwork for computers or that the illusionists performing stunts in 1800s are the precursors of the virtual reality systems of today?
No one knows where a spark is ignited or when. All these advancements came about because somewhere, someone, showed up every single day, and did what they knew, the best way they can.
How did your first ever job pan out for you?
Forget ideas that revolutionize the world.
Do you remember the time when you started out as a rookie at something? How did that go? Did you see people lining up to hire you after your first stint? Probably not. You probably sucked at it.
But what about after a year? after two years? what would have happened if you had stuck with it for 10 years?
I remember the first job search after college. It took me 8 months to land one and over 10 years of showing up at my job day in, day out, no matter if I wanted to or not, to become a professional. These 10 years have seen ups and downs, plenty of mistakes, frustrations, lessons learnt and now, I can safely say I am good at my job and recognized for it.
For someone to care about our work, we have care about it first. Enough, to put in the time to make it stand out.
So where do we go from here?
Want to be a writer? Keep writing.
Want to be an innovator? Keep those ideas coming.
Want to be an athlete? Keep practicing.
Keep showing up and keep doing what you do, no matter what. That is the only thing in life we have any control over.
The only time you need to make a change is when YOU don’t care about your work.