How To Get Lashings Of Inspiration- Whenever You Want It
Something powerful happened to me strolling through the streets of Rome in June. Crumbling grandeur, faded pastels, blue skies, Vespas aplenty. I sucked it all in and then, kapow, it happened. Here it is. It’s the secret to getting inspired.
I felt energised. My creative juices flowed. My heart beat a little faster. I kind of felt anything was possible. That I was invincible and that my journey had only just begun. It was a rare and special feeling. And I wanted more. And that’s the point. The environment lifted my spirits, but all I did was keep walking those streets, sucking in more of that feeling.
It’s not hugely helpful. You see- I don’t live in Rome. My life is elsewhere. I need to find my inspiration elsewhere. But how? Where? The answer on how to get inspiration whenever you want it is right here. It’s like flicking on a switch. And hey presto, here it is. This is how you do it. But beware. You might not like it much.
Inspiration is for amateurs- the rest of us just show up and get to work.
I read this in this week’s “Brain Pickings Weekly.” Forget Rome. Forget character buildings and cool music. If you really want to get inspired, sit down and get started. Hard work supersedes inspiration.
“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up too.” That’s author Isabel Allende. I love that. It reminds me of personal trainer Michelle Bridges’ advice. JFDI. Just fucking do it. When you need to do something and don’t want to, then JFDI. And just do it for 10 minutes. If at the end of ten minutes you don’t feel like it, then stop.
Once you get started, and get into the groove, you don’t stop. You get inspired. You create, and get it done.
Now, I love to be surrounded by tactile, comforting things. I have an office. It’s filled with old wooden furniture, books, art, ornaments, mementos …stuff that make me feel safe, calm, at peace. As Picasso said, “Art washes away the dusts from our souls every night.” And that‘s kind of what my comforting space does.
But my very best work has been done on airplanes, in coffee shops, looking at a wall in a second rate hotel room. I had no distractions. I just got focused, got started. Got inspired. Created. The king of writers in the 20th Century, Somerset Maugham, had a room on top of his house in Cap Ferrat, with awesome views of the ocean. He’d walk up there every day, open the windows on the view, and then turn his back on it, writing facing the wall, from 8.30 am-12.30 pm six days a week. “Show up, and after a while the muse shows up too.”
As colleague Sven Baker just told me over breakfast in Auckland yesterday, as we discussed this post : ” Love the problem, design the solution.” He gets inspired by the problem or task at hand. The more gnarly it is, the more enthusiastic he gets to push himself to tackle it head on, with passion and inspiration. He does not wait for inspiration to fuel him. He just JFDIs.
There is no magic to inspiration. Don’t wait a moment for it to emerge. As Leonard Cohen said (again taken from ‘Brain Pickings Weekly’) when asked how you write a great song:
“If I knew where good songs came from, I’d go there more often. It’s a mysterious condition. It’s much like the life of a Catholic nun. You’re married to a mystery.”
So, if you are looking for inspiration, look no further.
The power is 100 percent with you. Do not delay. Get focused. And get started. Remember- hard work supersedes ‘inspiration.’ No excuses. Get cracking right now. Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up too.
QUESTION: Agree? How do you get your inspiration?