March 16, 2018

What is Inspiration?

You can find it in books, in music, in films, on TV and websites. It's uttered from the greatest minds of human history. If you look long enough, you can find it virtually everywhere. But what does inspiration mean to you? Does it inspire you to read about a rags-to-riches story or about someone overcoming physical challenges? Will it make you move into your truth if you view a movie where the heroine conquers all?

We know what inspiration is, but that isn't enough. We need to find a way to apply it to our lives, our situations, our challenges, or it's just a bunch of words. Inspiration is not likes on your Instagram post or followers on Vero.

words vs actions

One definition is; the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. Another is; the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

So is inspiration simply taking a deep breath? I don't think that's enough. And I don't think it's enough to know the definition. I've often said –  and often forgotten –  that inspiration doesn't appear with balloons and streamers. It happens in small increments. It could be one word or a gesture or an image that pushes us forward.

I recently posted about motivation and maybe that's an important ingredient to inspiration. If we know what we want and know how to get it but don't move, what's the point? I can post inspiring words or we could go for coffee and I could offer some advice, but will that inspire us? Inspiration is a big word but it doesn't have to be zero-sum. It doesn't take the climbing of a mountain or landing that million dollar deal for us to be inspired. Often it's the small things that matter most.

rinse repeat

We look to heroes who have done great things which inspire us but in my view the application to our own lives is the critical element. I'm going through something right now I've been through before and the same fears have crept into my consciousness.

I'm not yet through it, but I've had to remind myself the steps I took the last time, take that deep breath, and move.

we are human

In 2014, Fortune posted a list of their 50 Greatest Leaders and though there are inspirational people here, they aren't without flaws or mistakes. So perhaps the key piece of finding inspiration is within ourselves and to discover it isn't a perfect path or one single action?

So let's keep listening to that music and reading those books and watching those movies because life is a series of mistakes and actions and inspiring moments we create. Let's inspire each other with those small things so we can get to those big things.

And let's celebrate those moments when they happen.
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