What is inspiration? It feels like motivation, but it seems less defined by our circumstances. Inspiration can be so fleeting, but when grasped, it’s exhilarating! It’s our dreams and our goals, but somehow it’s neither. We’ve all felt the momentary awareness of the talent it takes to achieve greatness; and the best part is realizing that we possess it. Why don’t more people have it, where do we find it, and why is it so important? Those three questions are the focus of this article, and we’ll look at several instances that uncover some of the mystery that is inspiration.
What about when you aren’t inspired by anything? It may be hard to believe, some legitimately feel that way. In an effort to gather some perspective, I decided to ask several people what inspired them. Below are some quotes of individuals I interviewed (men and women).
“Contributing to the greater good of humanity and leaving the works of a better place.”
“Being surrounded by people who are constantly on the move to better themselves professionally, physically, and personally. I’m competitive and like to measure myself against the best of others. They keep me in check”
“When people know and work towards accomplishing their purpose is the biggest inspiration for me. There’s something about someone deciding ‘o.k. this is what I want to do with my life’ and then doing it. Nothing is more inspirational than that to me.”
“My Family, my kids”
“In so many words, fulfillment: the ability to look back and say it was done by me. Of course, the first thing that played in my head were girls and bottles! (Haha) I’m sorry, the hood in me is always trying to outshine the calm.”
“All the people who did me wrong (haha). Making them regret ever screwing you over because all your writings and blog posts can get you closer to your dreams”
“What inspires me is being in a relationship where you are each others BFF, #1 fan, and dream keepers. Also what inspires me is making a difference with people and having them empowered and inspired.”
“The most inspiring thing to me is the music that I truly love…like the way Michael Jackson or something like that makes me feel…I want to make other people feel like that. Also the fact that anything is possible.. I want to be one of the people that is a testament to that… you know?”
“Nothing inspires me but myself.”
“I don’t know anymore man, my drive is gone”
When I reflected on the answers, I found some I really agreed with but the last two made me shiver all over. At first I arrogantly thought “how could someone say this?” Thankfully, I came to my senses and thought things over. I realized at some point everyone feels this way if they’re being honest with themselves (if not just keep living). When stress is involved and people are hurting, things that normally inspire become reminders of how bad the situation is.
You don’t have to be clinically depressed to lose inspiration though, sometimes it’s just as simple as giving up. There are times when pure exhaustion and routine sap all the inspiration out of us. Creative juice will just seem harder to draw out, and sometimes it really is. Without proper grounding these feelings can spiral out control, and words similar to the quotes I mentioned above can leave our own mouths. In my research I crossed Kurt Cobain’s suicide note. In it I saw a man who had completely lost his passion for what he once loved. It was so earnest in describing how he felt like a fraud. He went at length to explain that he tried everything to get that feeling back (including drugs & alcohol), but in the end even his wife and daughter were not enough to draw from. His tragic case certainly isn’t the first, and sadly won’t be the last. This lost inspiration for life isn’t as remote as you think; a staggering amount of American’s (11%) rely on anti-depressants to function daily.
Isn’t it strange that the things that innately inspire us feel almost heavenly? Often times they are the best of men, but even then it’s….super human. Dictionaries define it as divine influence, but what does that actually translate to? At the Plutocrats Club, we believe there are three elements that catalyze inspiration
- Lack of Knowledge. Put simply, you can’t get inspired from something you know absolutely everything about. Even masters are constantly learning, the craft itself evolves the more time they spend with it. Time and innovation make sure that all things progress. This progression fosters doubt in the status quo, that doubt leads to curiosity, and determined curiosity leads to epiphanies.
- Passion. Though you can have epiphanies about subjects that you aren’t interested in, it’s impossible to get inspiration from them. Here genuine interest is critical to finding inspiration. Inspiration resonates with our very spirit, and if there is no soul in what we are trying to draw inspiration from, we find ourselves empty-handed.
- Wonder. This is the feeling of admiration, awe, or marvel. Wonder is probably best exemplified when a child goes to Disney World for the first time. Unfortunately, as we get older it takes more and more to make us wonder. Reality creeps upon us and we start to lose the wide-eyed view of the world that we once had. As hard as it is, it’s important for us to seek wonder. It encompasses doubt, passion, and then adds surprise. It’s the hardest of the three to ascertain, because there are few things that adults can categorize as truly wondrous; even fewer stay this way.
We shared who doesn’t have inspiration and what it takes to construct it, but why is it important? The truth is so that we can enjoy life. There are “Existors” all around us. You see them at home, at work, and on the subway. They speak only because their job requires it, they have a job only because they need food, and they eat only because it’s required to live. Just typing that, I felt the monotonous redundancy of that lifestyle weighing in on me. No joy or enjoyment is in anything they do, just basic, logical goal after basic, logical goal. What happens after all goals are achieved? Death? The goal of inspiration is to provoke creation. The creations of men and women at their best are emotional experiences. After watching your favorite movie, take a look at how many people it took to make it a reality. At one point that was just one person’s vision! As much as we try to restrain ourselves, we aren’t robots. We are full of thoughts, emotions, and illogical mechanisms that need to be explored – not just for the sake of exploration, but so that our fellow man can use them to the best of their abilities. So I’ll ask, what inspires you?