Have you ever met a person who’s up at 3 am, drawing a mental to-do list for the next day?
While creating the list, they would feel pumped up about the tasks they would complete and how productive the following day is going to be, but the moment their eyes meet the morning sun, their drive to clean off their mental to-do list is as still and dead as the night before. Do you know someone who is just like this?
Perhaps, the description fits you sometimes?
Some people find that the hardest part in finishing a task is plucking up the will to start it. Others start strong, motivated, engaged, and active, only to get distracted and stuck in the middle.
Discouraged, they sit down, wait, and wonder, “When will I get moving again?”
Revving up to get started, or to get started again is so much easier if we are guided by inspiration.
Inspiration affects us in more than one way. By helping us to transcend our everyday experiences and constraints, inspiration allows us to see fresh possibilities. Inspiration affects a person’s perception of their potential, propelling them from indifference to possibility. It’s like a lively spice on the otherwise tepid, bland, insipid fare. With inspiration, the untrodden path ahead looms less as a challenge and more as an exciting discovery.
The term inspiration derives from Latin in-spirare, which means breathing in. By the Middle Ages, it came to mean “Divine Guidance”. The term was co-opted to express a meaning that was grand, supernatural, and transforming.
Today, it may be more useful, however, to bring it to our pedestrian level. “Pedestrian”, as defined by our mundane steps. Yes, inspiration doesn’t always have to be something grand or completely life-changing. We can find it just by being present within our daily life.
But what exactly should we do to find inspiration in our daily life?
Our senses are acutely sensitive when confronted with fresh inputs. Probably nothing is as inspiring as unfamiliarity and surprise. While it may be difficult to plot the latter, charting the former does not take much effort.
William Wordsworth, an English Romantic poet, found the inspiration for his poems by traveling the world and writing about the places he discovered and people he had crossed paths with.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a memoir chronicling her journey around the world, and her discoveries during her travels. Her book has earned tons of recognition and even gained a movie adaptation.
They’re great examples of how we can become inspired in life by looking through the lenses of others. By simply exploring new places, or surrounding ourselves with new communities of people, we can open ourselves up to a world of inspiration for everything. While the pandemic and its lockdowns may have tempered mobility for some, for others the new mode of remote working has been a novel way to set up a temporary base in new, unfamiliar environments.
Go Back to Basics.
Another way to find inspiration in our daily life is to go back to the basics, which means asking ourselves the “Why” questions. “Why” did we decide to commit to a workout routine? Or “Why” did we start writing this book? Or “Why” did we start building this small construction project? “Why” did we start painting this mural? “Why” did we start doing this certain thing?
In life, we start projects with an initial goal. Taking a moment to recall the reason why we started something is usually enough to keep us continue going. The original feeling of excitement will return and inspire us to keep going.
Be Intentional About Your Day.
Begin your day by practicing mindfulness or breathing techniques to center yourself. Then define your intention for the day—how you want to present yourself—and make a list of things you want to get done, concentrating on both the important and the achievable.
Don’t forget to include an activity that you would enjoy doing. When making your list, make sure that checking off each item and completing it would make you feel successful at the end of the day.
By meditating, we are allowing ourselves to connect to our inner voice. This helps one make clear, calm, and confident decisions during our day. New research shows that meditation actually shrinks our brain’s amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, and increases our capacity to function from the pre-frontal cortex – associated with concentration and decision-making.
Even with just a daily 10-minute meditation before you go on with the rest of your day, you will be given more power to choose inspired actions rather than perspired busyness. Here’s a FREE MEDITATION guide if you need some help.
Looking for inspiration in our daily life can sometimes pose a challenge. What helps is to slow down and focus on the present moment.
This is the opposite of the common notion that the faster we do things, the more productive we would seem. We are not. We are only productive if we are properly structured in what we pursue. Planned pauses are an integral part of such structures.
If all we do is rush, we rob ourselves of the chance to appreciate the things that truly matter, such as the small progress we make every day. Intentionally slowing down our days would help us see and count all our blessings.
It lets us appreciate the simple things that we have, and allows us to notice the important role that ordinary things play in our lives.
Where to find inspiration in life?
Now that we have learned some basics about inspiration, here is a list of the 10 ideas from which inspiration can be drawn.
- Create a Vision Board – Through a vision board, you can envision the things that you want to attain or achieve in life. Write, scribble, daub, draw, chart, map, outline, paint, sketch, mark, and make footnotes.
When you find yourself lost, it can also serve as your reminder as to why you started.
- Get Back to Nature – Sometimes, the best inspiration in life is seen in the simplest life forms we have in this world. Your attention can expand – overwhelmed by nature’s power. Or it can refocus, on the most minute fractal detail of a single petal, stalk, or twig.
Bask under the shade of giant forest trees, imbibe the life force of the living form, absorb the primeval pull under your feet.
- Learn Something New – The curiosity that comes with discovering new project ideas or new places may serve as your inspiration. Sometimes, our lack of inspiration just means that we need a new start-up.
These days it’s so easy to sign up for an online course and then deepen your knowledge in a new area. There is no excuse for not doing this.
- Try a New Art Form – If you’re an artist who has recently run out of inspiration for your art, maybe it’s time you introduce yourself to something new. New material? A new technique? Different light?
If you’re a musician, maybe poetry and writing can be your new world, or even better – widen your music skills. A new instrument? A different scale? A forgotten corner of the music theory? The labyrinth of extemporization?
- Research What Others in Your Field Are Doing – With a quick peek at what other people are doing in your field of profession, you can cook up ideas of your own. Or better yet, find out what three other people do.
Draw connections from these inspirations for something that could be uniquely yours.
- Give Yourself the Gift of Time – You might not find the inspiration right away, and that’s okay. No need to rush. Let yourself have the time to just be and do whatever it is that comes to you. Let the randomness offer inspiration when you least expect it.
- Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone – Routines are great when they help us feel that sense of power and control in our lives, but getting stuck in bad routines would drain us of inspiration.
Getting out of our bubble now and then would not only give us new ideas but would also help us kick start a new aspect of our world. This does not necessarily mean fleeing the current setup.
Rather, it could involve a small adjustment in an area where you experience the most resistance to change.
- Watch A Great Film – Films not only mirror reality, but it shifts the focus of their audience towards the part of reality that we would often miss out on such as the struggles towards the triumphs of the film’s subject.
It enables us to empathize with the character, which may, later on, spark a fire of passion and inspiration within us.
- Google Creativity Quotes Online – Despite this sounding cliché, we are still more likely to find the words of other people inspirational. Yes, some of them are trite, but others make imaginative use of paradox. Paradoxes, like any surprises, are inspiring.
And this search comes free, from the comfort of your armchair. Write it on a note and stick it somewhere you can easily see so that you can read it whenever you need a boost.
- Start Before the Inspiration Strikes – Sometimes, inspiration comes halfway. Rather than waiting for perfect sparkle, get out and act now! Odd as it may seem, you can try starting first and end up finding yourself even more pumped up than what you have initially expected!
So if you’ve been waiting for the inspiration to begin writing your great novel, why not try sitting down and just writing it. The inspiration might make a surprise visit while you’re actually writing!
On Losing Inspiration
Losing inspiration is tough, but always remember that it is just a phase, not a permanent state.
You have the power to control this seemingly lifeless state, you just have to know how and where to look for the inspiration that would bring back the passion of moving forward in life.
Sometimes, to find inspiration in life, all we have to do is to look at the things that get us out of our beds every morning.
Whether it’s our dog waiting for their daily walk, the child waiting for breakfast, or just us, keen to live the best that our life has given to us. Anything can serve as our inspiration.
With the proper mindset and help from your support systems – your family, friends, and professionals such as life coaches, you will eventually feel breathing in. Inspired.
The New York Life Coaching Institute
We at New York Life Coaching Institute believe holistic life coaching leads the way. At NYLC, we are interested in the client as a whole person and approach their goals in an integrative manner.
Our balanced approach helps cultivate resilience to embrace all that life has to offer, and we explore the frontier between their comfort zone and their true potential.
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