Inspiration isn’t something you can will into being, but you can get out in the world and set the stage for it to show up. Being open to new experiences, hanging out with amazing people, reading uplifting stories, looking at familiar things a different way, are some of the ways you can invite inspiration into your own life.
In practical terms here’s what all that looks like for me.
1. Root for the underdog. When I see someone overcome adversity, I’m turned on and inspired. It doesn’t matter whether they win, I’m just inspired that they keep going despite tremendous adversity. I look for the underdogs and I cheer them on.
2. Get out in nature. I can sit by the ocean – heck I can simply hear it’s roar from blocks away – and be inspired. The ocean and other natural sites awaken me to the majesty of the Earth. To the vastness of the Universe. That is transcendent. Inspiration seems to like that. It plays well with awe.
3. Create a soundtrack. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips never fails to get me going. So, there’s that. But, put together your own compilation of music that makes you move or that moves you. Play it loud and long.
4. Watch people at their best. When I am with someone who is at the peak of their performance or someone who is passionate at what they do, it motivates me to do my job better, to engage in my own life in a deeper way, to learn more. When I’m motivated, inspiration lurks. Watch the best performances on television and You Tube. Read the award winning books. Listen to speakers and authors talk about their craft. The good ones, the ones who work to master their craft and are enthusiastic about what they do will send threads of inspiration your way.
5. Work hard. There are many, many days when I sit down to write and I’m not inspired at all. But often, if I just keep going, if I just sit and work the words I’ll feel things shift. It might not be a full-blown inspiration but often it will change the constrictive energy into something more creative and then there is room for inspiration to occur.
6. Ask the opinion of a child. Kids get this stuff. My daughter is 7 and her take on the world is so open and creative and interesting that when I ask for her ideas on a subject she always realigns my perspective. Then ideas take root and inspiration? Well, you never know.
7. Listen to others. This works two ways: You can brainstorm challenges or problems with a group, or even manufacture situations like “what are some ways you can use a paper clip without using it to clip paper” and get your creative juices flowing and that can be a petri dish for inspiration.
Or, you can simply listen well to what others have to say. Pay attention to people and how they are feeling, what they are talking about. Often, in the challenges others face, or their life stories or experiences we gain insight, a new take on the world. Many a fantastic product has been inspired by hearing someone express and unmet need.
8. Look for the helpers. Fred Rogers is quoted as saying that when there is trouble, look for the helpers. People who are resilient and strong and loving who are out there helping through the muck. Seeing that kind of goodness in people, it’s hard not to be inspired.
So often we go through the paces of life and become buried in a daily routine of familiar habits and hassles. That is an inspiration killer,
But by being open to life – not judgmental or critical — trying new things, approaching each experience with a curiosity and optimism that makes life feel more like an adventure than a chore you will create a culture of inspiration. And, the thought of that inspires me.