The Possibility Box

What positive messages appeared to you today?

Tea with Einstein

Einstein both quotationsOne morning a few years ago, I stepped into Cocola bakery and patisserie at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California, and doing so probably changed my life.

That might sound like dramatic overstatement, but when you think about it, even small things – like the decision to turn left or right at a street corner – can change everything.

As I sipped tea in the cafe while waiting for Macy’s to open, I looked up to read the inspirational quotations inscribed high upon the walls. They captivated me. One of them, this quotation from Albert Einstein, shifted my perspective:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

It seemed curious to me that one of the world’s most heralded scientists emphasized imagination so much. Ultimately it led me to wonder if we might create a better world by doing a better job of consciously imagining goodness for ourselves and everyone.

Amir Aliabadi and his mother, Sue, founded Cocola’s first location in 2002. I asked Amir via email what inspired him to decorate the Palo Alto location with inspirational quotations.

Rumi quotations

He responded, “Certain quotes always stayed with me. They remind me of what is important in life and point me in the right direction. I kept a journal of them and would refer to them from time to time. When it came to decorate the store, I had the idea of sharing some of my favorites with the thousands of people who come through the store each year. The idea was maybe their lives could be better because of it.”

Cocola is among my favorite “quotation locations,” a place where you can savor ideas alongside your hot cocoa and croissant.

Where are you seeing positive messages in the world? Send tips to

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – RumiĀ