"Your way of getting ideas instantly is incredible! I have never met someone who fully understands the essence of a brainstorm as quickly as you do."
How did he react?
He has not yet: This compliment is a written one.
How did I feel?
Some people have outstanding talents. I once saw a guy who could squeeze his upper body through a tennis racquet's head. A friend of mine knows which part of your body you are focusing on without touching or watching you: He asks you to feel into a particular part of your body, then guesses which one it is. He is right 95 % of the time. Another person I know differentiates 50 kinds of apples. Cover her eyes and she will still know which one she is tasting.
Martin is one of those people, too. His talent (or the one of his I have seen live) is less sensational but just as incredible as the others: He picks up the essence of creative ideas immediately.
I met Martin on my way home tonight. Walking down Pannierstraße I saw him and his friend smoking. What started as hitting them up for a cigarette turned into hanging out with them for a good two hours straight. A balmy Neukölln evening, three people on a bench, a cold beer each: Perfect night. Our conversation went from desgin fairs to US history, the best friends-episodes and book recommendations. Along those lines I told them about a story I came up with a few days ago. The story is semi-autobiographical but I did not mention that. I just pitched the idea. Martin listened to my summary. When I was done he nodded. Once he opened his mouth he blew me away: Basically he outlined the main character in three sentences and gave me feedback. In theory that has happened many times. But actually, when summarizing the character, Martin described a part of me --since I am who the story is about-- as precisely and eloquently as no one has ever before. From listening to the basic structure of my story he completely understood the protagonist- and expressed her: His choice of words was closer to my personal experience of every day life than anyone's, including my own. It was like he approached me and said, "Let me tell you how you feel." To me that was a miracle.
On top of that he had understood the concept of the story to an extent that allowed him to critize it from a point of complete immersion. He was one hundred percent in the story, again: After only a few sentences from me, and at the same time so analytical that his words wrapped up parts of my idea I had not even noticed. Martin was the perfect feedbacker. His statements mirrored his quick wit, his empathy, creativity, analytical skills and enthusiasm. He shone a second time, five minutes later, when we talked about this (the compliment) project and he shared his mind again. Same story: His comments came clearly and accurately, positive ones as negative ones. Providing a fresh view on what I am doing here he nailed it.
I share my ideas a lot, it helps them grow and me let go. Usually any feedback is great, sometimes even none at all: It can be sufficient to share my mind while the other person remains silent. Putting my ideas out there already changes my perspective on them. However Martin was miles away from remaining silent. With him it was not just confronting someone with my idea. He saw an x-ray of my concept and managed to print its picture for me to see. Thank you, Martin, for your precise, sensitive and smart words. If you ever start a business in which you give people feedback on their ideas I will be your number one customer. Your words turned my world around.