I got into a conversation with an intellectual person from my circle recently, and after discussing my answer to “What Inspires You?” she asked me the following question.
One more question if I may
How do you inspire yourself? It’s like we wait for inspiration to come through books or people or something like a muse but how do you find it now? How do you know what book to read or who to talk to? Knowing that you are stuck and you need to be inspired like you’ve been before that will lead the way, how do you inspire yourself?
First of all, I love the question, and I salute her for her curious mind that took her to the extent of thinking about it and asking it. Most knowledge -I believe- comes from great questions.
I have never thought about how to trigger or regenerate inspiration. It has always been a thing that happens if I’m lucky. But I do believe that everything can be analyzed to an extent, and you can manage to form an idea on how it works. My answer for now though will certainly be raw and incomplete. Here, I discuss 2 factors that I believe help me personally get inspired.
I’m a very social person. I love and truly enjoy meeting people, having meaningful conversations with them, and getting to know new ones. On the other hand, I really value my alone time. I make sure that I spend a certain amount of time alone every week to reflect, rejuvenate, and intoxicate. It’s not that the people I meet or the conversations I have are toxic, it’s just that socializing is draining. Both mentally and emotionally, and sometimes that even reflects physically.
When I isolate myself, I find myself in a more natural state of mind. By natural, I mean more like me. I strip away from norms, concerns, and anything that relates me to people or people to me. I forget about my responsibilities and obligations, and focus on me. It’s time for me to be selfish. To see what I want. To think about where I want to be. To do what I want to do.
Being a conscientious person, I often have something to do: read a book, listen to a podcast, workout, watch an online course, or even sit back and watch a series.
Point is: isolating myself allows more time for me to do what I want to do, which ignites inspiration around that thing.
Contrast explained simply is the state of being strikingly different from something else that is related. What I mean by it here is that we have to subject ourselves to different things, all the time. I am more convinced with every day that the beauty in life relies in differences. There would be no bad if there was no good. There would be no fun if there was no dull. There would be no color if there was no pale.
If I was to do the same things for the rest of my life, I might as well expect very little to no inspiration.
Here are some examples that I believe increase contrast, and lead up to inspiration:
- Looking at things from a different perspective
- Being subjected to both opinions you like and dislike
- Talking to people from different walks of life
- Learning a new skill out of your field of expertise
- Changing a routine every now and then
- Frequently experimenting with changing, starting, or stopping habits
- Travelling alone and being able to disconnect, giving yourself the opportunity to rebuild without fear of judgement from others or yourself
If you remember, inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. By continuing to subject yourself to new experiences, new knowledge, new people (be it all constructive) then you are continuing to stimulate your mind, activating your brain cells, and opening new ways for you to think. And I believe that in turn triggers inspiration.
Funny as it may sound, that question itself has triggered an inspirational state for me. It caught me by surprise. It made me curious. It aroused me to form an answer. For that, I am thankful. Here’s to many more inspirations, for all of us.