At times it is in hindsight that we realize that we were part of something special and unique. Often we may be a part of something that is even more special than we know until we set sail for new experiences.

Such was the case for Edward (name and a few details changed) who recounts his Ranch infatuation in a love letter sent to his former colleagues at Catalyst Ranch, Chicago. He fondly talks about how the environment at the Ranch was something that was inspiring, especially compared with his new gray and blue sterile environment. These are a few thoughts taken from his letter that serve as an example of environmental impact on creativity.

Edward writes,

Bleak, too, is the color scheme. In my position are twenty brave souls. We’re split into two teams, blue and gray, company colors. I am on team gray… GRAY! Gray as the cubicle wall, as the metal file cabinet as the foam backs of the chairs, as the carpet (mixed with muted tan). Gray…GRAY!!! But it’s all neutral colors. Black are the computers, the monitors, the doors, the window frames, the light fixtures, the phones, the staplers, tape dispensers, pen cups and even the planters. White are the ceiling tiles, the walls, and the pallor of my face as the blood drains out of it while watching another of dozens upon dozens of training videos.

But then, there’s the coffee. Who makes this awful coffee, and why do I trust them enough to drink it every day? I have never seen a person preparing the coffee. It’s just always there. Always. Hot and bland. It is not the Intelligentsia King Kong Blend served fresh daily at the Ranch. Not even close.

With the blue play-doh that was part of my going away present, I made a little blue snowman named, Damian. I was watching the “All By Myself,” Celine Dion’s video on Youtube. I swear, I had something in my eye when it watered up…I dusted away the blue doh crusties, and my desk smelled for a moment like the inspired Ranch, and I missed it. I missed Catalyst Ranch like an ex-girlfriend I really loved, but couldn’t be with any more. Our time was sweet — puppy love. Flirtatious and uninhibited. But I know she’ll always be there for me…as a friend.

Who says environment doesn’t matter? Just think of what someone like Edward would be doing if he were in an awe-inspiring, energy-infused, creative environment!