What is inspiration? How do you define it? A lot of people have trouble describing exactly what it is. They just know that there are moments in their life when they feel inspired, and other times when they don’t. In this article, we’re going to look at the science behind inspiration, and how and where to find it.
What is inspiration?
Inspiration is a feeling you get when:
You’re in the zone. This is a state of mind where you are fully concentrated on what you’re doing, which leaves no room for distractions—but it’s also a state that comes with a sense of freedom and even euphoria.
It gives you an endorphin high like no other, but it can be incredibly hard to replicate this state consistently or at will. Even though it’s not always easy, if you’ve ever felt inspired while working on something meaningful to yourself, then know that there is great power in recognizing when we’re inspired and learning how to channel that energy into actionable projects instead of letting our emotions take over.
Imagine this scenario:
You love what you do. When you find yourself doing work that you love more often than not, inspiration becomes one more tool in your arsenal of happiness rather than something elusive and fleeting; with practice (and perhaps some luck) you can learn how to harness this feeling into making something truly special out of any given moment during your day-to-day lives.
You are good at what you do (or want). Whether or not anyone else recognizes your talents doesn’t matter; if there was ever any doubt about whether or not your skills were valuable before then put those doubts to rest: they totally count toward inspiring yourself!
If anything they should actually inspire *more* confidence because who cares if no one else believes in you anymore? That just means you need to believe in yourself even harder 🙂
In the recent episode of Happiness Co’s Upside Podcast, Thomas and Brayden defined inspiration as:
- It is all around us and comes in all different shapes and sizes. You can feel inspiration from people’s stories, work, music, art and nature itself. When experienced, it leaves you with a warm feeling in your head and heart.
- It is subjective and personalised to each person.
- It is what keeps your spirit alive and makes you feel energised and driven.
- It is different from motivation.
- Motivation is an external drive that comes for a while and then goes away
- Inspiration is internal and is something that’s always there, big or small
- It is fueled by our friends, family, our values and beliefs.
- It helps gain progress towards goals.
What causes inspiration?
- You have to be in the right state of mind. If you’re bored or distracted, it will be hard for inspiration to strike. The following are some tips on how to be in the right frame of mind:
- Think about what you want from life, and what you’re doing with it. If you’re not happy with the way things are going, consider changing your frame of mind.
- Stay positive about life—the things that go wrong don’t last forever!
- You have to be in the right place. If you’re stuck at your desk all day (or stuck in traffic), it will be hard for inspiration to strike.
- You have to be in the right situation. If everything’s going wrong and nothing’s going your way (or if everything’s going too well and life seems boring), then again—it could take some time until something inspires you!
How to find inspiration?
There are many ways to find inspiration. Here are some suggestions that you may try:
- Find a mentor who inspires you and learn from them.
- Read inspiring books and articles, like the ones on our blog.
- Find a good idea that inspires you and try to make it better by adding your own personal touch or twist. Write down everything that comes to mind about this topic every day until an interesting idea pops up in there!
- Find a good example that can help with your goals and use it as an inspiration for what success looks like in your life too!
- Try to adopt a more open minded and curious perspective. Let things come to you rather than trying to force things to happen as this closes off and limits your opportunities in whatever it may be.
- Let imagination and creativity flow.
- Try to do new things. Get out of your comfort zone as new challenges drive personal growth, enhance creativity and help people find things that they didn’t know they were good at or passionate about.
The best thing about getting inspired is how much fun it is when you put some effort into finding amazing things around yourself so why not try today?
So how can a person who wants to be inspired get inspired more often?
To be inspired, you need to open yourself up to it. You need to actively look for inspiration in the world around you.
Here are some places you can start:
- The unexpected. Inspiration hides in unlikely places, so keep an eye out wherever you go. When you’re next out in public, take a mindful moment to watch people around you. When you disconnect from technology or the busyness of life – you’ll be surprised how much inspiration surrounds you. It may be in watching someone elderly exercising and pushing their bodies, it may be the patience of a mum with screaming children, or witnessing a random act of kindness.
- Ignite your senses – our senses are very much linked to inspiration. Next time you’re feeling uninspired and disconnected, take some time to connect to your body. Sit outside, what can you feel? Is it the warm sun on your skin, or perhaps the cold breeze that’s giving you goosebumps. What can you smell? Can you smell the freshness of nature, freshly cut grass or the neighbours cooking dinner? What can you see, hear and taste? Connection to our senses is an avenue to inspiration.
- Connect with the people around you. Look at the people around you and imagine what kind of life experiences they’ve had that led them there—and what might have happened differently if things had been different along the way (a common theme in many inspirational stories). If a friend is having trouble finding work or feels stuck in his career path, ask him about his past jobs and see where those led him; chances are he’ll tell some interesting stories about how he ended up where he is today—and maybe even come across as an inspiration himself!
Inspiration is a curious thing. We all want to be inspired, and yet so many of us struggle to find inspiration in our everyday lives. But if we can only figure out what causes inspiration, we may be able to reverse-engineer it for ourselves.
As you’ve seen in this article, there are many different things that inspire us, from beautiful art and nature to inspiring people and their stories. These things all give us something more than we had before: hope for the future or belief in ourselves—and that is what makes them inspiring!
Do you want more ideas on how you can allow inspiration to come to your life? Listen to the recent episode of Happiness Co’s The Upside Podcast where Thomas and Brayden also talked about all things inspiration!