“The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whenever I am creating something – whether writing a blog post, a song, an article or even shooting a photo – I always find myself searching for inspiration. I guess it’s natural for us to do so – the word inspiration literally means “breathed upon.” It’s one of the reason why we see a lot of inspiration from great achievers and leaders. However, inspiration does not come easily. Often times, I feel like it’s nowhere to be found when I need it the most. Right when I’m almost done with an article I’m writing, I feel like my mind goes blank. Or when I’m supposed to finish a task before deadline, I procrastinate. I’m pretty sure you can relate.
The biggest challenge in finding inspiration is when your environment sucks the life out of you. You know the feeling of coming to work where smiles and friendly conversations are scarce. Or maybe the lack of encouragement for a job well done. If you’re a consultant, you know the feeling when the employees of one of your clients look at you with anger knowing that you are taking their job away. It’s never easy to find inspiration. That’s why it’s a good habit to find it in anyway possible. Here are several things I do on a regular basis
- Revisit your goals. This is why I strongly recommend writing down your goals. If you have them written down, it’s easier to go back to them and review what it was that you wrote down when you felt like you can do anything. You’ll feel inspired just by reading them
- Review your previous successes – big or small. We all have successes. It could be marrying the woman of your dreams, landing the job that jumpstarted your career, or even learning how to ride a bike for the first time. While I may have several successes in the past, one of the memories I keep playing in my head when it comes to learning new things is when I was a 5-year-old figuring out how multiplication works. Not many 5-year-olds think about mathematics, more so multiplying numbers. However, I was fascinated about learning new things that a bag of crackers for school lunch taught me the principles of multiplication (I’m not a smart kid but I do have a desire to constantly learn new things.) This experience inspires me to constantly learn new things especially in an industry where changes constantly change.
- Reconnect with your purpose. It’s hard to complete a task when you feel like it doesn’t serve a purpose. It’s easier to just let go, give up and move on. It’s the same thing when we can’t find inspiration in what we’re doing. That’s why I try to reconnect with my purpose. To each task that I do, I ask the question, “Why am I doing this?” I write articles and blog posts because I want my readers to benefit from my experience and knowledge. I work on my current project with a client because I want them to maximize their technology investments. I do the dishes after dinner because I want my wife to feel that doing the small chores is one of my simple ways to express how much I love her. As Simon Sinek, author and marketing consultant, puts it in his book, start with why.
- Regard others’ experiences. You’ll find yourself inspired by reading a good book, watching a movie or just by paying attention to others. I anticipate listening to inspirational lines from movies like “with great power comes great responsibility (Spiderman)” or “you were meant for more than this (Captan America).” In the current project I’m working on, I find inspiration from the people I work with knowing that they are committed to making the project a success. There are tons of stories about people who overcame their challenges and succeeded. And it’s one of the secrets of this best selling book.
While it is a challenge to inspire ourselves on a regular basis, there’s always a way to do so. These are just a few of the things I do and I am guessing you have your own ways. How do you actively find inspiration?