How To Get Lashings Of Inspiration- Whenever You Want It

184388302Something 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?

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27 Responses to How To Get Lashings Of Inspiration- Whenever You Want It

  1. Hayley Buckner July 23, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    My inspiration comes to me through nature…. When I step outside of the office it becomes clear, it energizes me and it inspires me to take the time to think about things from a different perspective…. I also find inspiration in possibilities, in setting up dreams and goals for myself. After all, if I don’t do this for myself, then who will? : )

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Thanks Hayley!

  2. Rhonda July 23, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    Love it, love it, love it!!! “Show up, and after a while the muse shows up too”…have been experiencing this of late. I love the JFDI concept!! Thankyou 🙂

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Pleasure, Rhonda!

  3. Dave P July 23, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Thanks Chris. I have always said “if it was easy, the boy scouts would be doing it”. So the idea of ‘show up’ and ‘JFDI’ resonates. Thanks again for the Blog. Cheers, Dave

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Thanks David.

  4. Victoria Simpson July 23, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    This is so true Chris – thank you for the reminder! Haven’t been feeling too inspired to write on the company blog recently, I couldn’t think of anything to write about. However, I sat down and forced myself to write this morning. Before I knew it, I had too much to write about! 🙂

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      Perfect! Thanks Victoria.

  5. Tony Spencer-Smith July 23, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    Chris, I’ve read many articles on how to get the creative juices flowing, and yours is one of the best. I now feel inspired to speed up the writing my novel – the one I’ve been wrestling with off and on for so long.

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks Tony- good luck with it! Chris

  6. Andy Price July 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    Message to self …right …enough reading bloody inspirational blogs…get this prop written…like now…

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      Go for it, Andy!

  7. Monica July 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    As a young marketer I found this post not only relevant, but critical to everyday thought. We are always being taught to look for inspiration, to find it as if it were an object, and often forget that we have to JFDI and the rest will come.

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      Well said Monica!

  8. Danii Ashton July 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Love it! As a young’un I had procrastinating down pat – I’ve had to learn a lot of JFDI!

    • Chris Savage July 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks Danii!

  9. Adrianne July 23, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    I believe that inspiration is everywhere – you only need to stop and notice. Cornices in buildings you’ve walked by a million times, the latticework on a gate, the flower that works it’s way through the pavement on it’s own. We get into habits that stop us from being inspired and all we really need to do is stop, look, listen and breath. It will always inspire you if you JFDI.

    • Chris Savage July 24, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks Adrianne- agree

  10. Alida Robinson July 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Another inspiring blog possum. I have to say that what truly inspires me is getting together with my team and throwing the ideas into the middle and seeing what comes out. What you end up with is always bigger than the original idea and working the process is fun. The final result inspires me to get on to the next project. It’s a buzz!!

    • Chris Savage July 25, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Thanks Alida- agree. Working with teams is often very inspiring.

  11. Peter Cornelius July 23, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    JFDI – pretty much the meaning of life for you only get one go at it so make it count…

    • Chris Savage July 24, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks Peter!

  12. Jaqui July 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Terrific blog, the title got me in and I love JFDI. I have this on my home office wall and in the office where I consult.
    Decide what it is you want, Write that shit down. Make a fucking plan and Work on it, Every Single Day. Works for me…and I am a storyteller.

    • Chris Savage July 25, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Thanks Jaqui!

  13. ross clennett July 28, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Excellent stuff, Chris. What I took was ‘Don’t wait for the ‘right feeling to do X’ to find me. Instead take action as I have the power to, and I will, create that feeling myself.

    • Chris Savage July 30, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks Ross!

  14. Marcus August 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Excellent reading, thanks Chris. I’m sure you’ve seen the recent TVC for the brand launch of Spark (ex Telecom NZ) – they capture this theme nicely (Designworks?).

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