If you are sitting there waiting for it – that great idea, the Next Big Moment, innovation, brainstorm – chances are you won’t be inspired. But if you get up and out, if you get moving and get after it your life can be filled with inspiration and then you are bound to find something that fires you up and gets you going. Something that inspires you.
Psychologists Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot say inspiration is marked by three criteria:
1. It’s evoked by something – usually spontaneous.
2. It awakens us to greater possibility
3. It is motivating.
When we are inspired, we are often driven and encouraged to do something different, better, bigger. We go with the tamales over the tacos, the poulet (never) over pizza (whoo hoo!). We tend to act on the inspiration.
This is one reason inspired people are more likely to attain their goals. That, and they usually set better goals to begin with, according to researcher Marina Milyavskaya. But inspiration also opens us to broader possibilities and that prompts us to become more creative and effective problem solvers. All this contributes to a stronger sense of meaning and well-being
Boosting the Chance for Inspiration
But, here’s the rub, inspiration is not something we can go after. It’s not something we can command or demand. The very nature of inspiration, writes psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, is that it “is evoked spontaneously without intention.” That means the best we can do is create a culture for inspiration and trust that it will show up.
Kaufman says being flexible and open to the idea of inspiration is one way to increase the likelihood of it striking. With an approach-oriented attitude you are more likely to be out in the world, exposed to greater experiences and possibility. That’s where inspiration lies in wait.
Effort is another aspect to attracting inspiration. When you actively engage, work, learn, improve and grow your skills and abilities, you often discover inspiration in the mix.
In Wednesday’s post I’ll offer up another important way to tap into inspiration and tell you how I bring it into my life.