What is inspiration anyways? It feels like motivation, but not quite….it seems less defined by our circumstances. The feeling’s so fleeting, but when we grasp it, it’s exhilarating! There are plenty of things that move us emotionally and physically, but this is a bit more…intense. It’s our dreams, our goals, but somehow it’s not that at all. It’s like the bridge between us and our dreams. It’s that momentary awareness of the talent it takes to get where we want to be, and the realization that we possess it. Maybe everything is inspiration. But if that’s true, why don’t more people have it, where do we find it, and why is it so important? Those three questions will be the focus of this article, as we look to ascertain some of the mystery that is inspiration.
Admittedly, it’s very hard to avoid being self-righteous when you speak about what inspires you. But what about when you aren’t inspired by anything? 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 was 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). Make them regret every 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”
I definitely agreed with some answers more than others, but the last two made me physically shiver. At first I had the audacity to think “how can people feel this?” But 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 things are going wrong and people are hurting, the things that normally inspire become frequent reminders of how far they have fallen. You don’t have to be immersed in self-loathing to lose inspiration, sometimes it’s just as simple as giving up. There are times when pure exhaustion and routine sap all the inspiration out of us. Soon the refreshing feeling of creative juices just seems harder to draw out than usual, 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. He was so earnest that he felt every time he took the stage he was a fraud, because he was faking it for the audience. He explains 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 seem almost heavenly? Often times they are the best of men, but even then it seems….super human. Dictionaries define it as divine influence, but what does that 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, as the craft itself continues to evolve the more time they spend with it. Time and innovation make sure that all things progress. This progression fosters doubt, and 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 had in adolescence. As hard as it is, it’s important for us to seek wonder. It encompasses doubt, passion, and then adds surprise. Admittedly, it’s also the hardest of the three to ascertain, because there are few things that adults can categorize as truly wondrous; even fewer stay this way.
Sure we shared who doesn’t have inspiration and what it takes to construct it, but why is it important? The truth is, it’s important 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 truly emotional experiences. After watching your favorite movie, take a serious look at just how many people it took to make it become 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?