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Archive for July, 2010

Picture by Express Monorail

Where does inspiration come from?  How does one find motivation, stimulation or encouragement when they need it?

Having lately felt very un-inspired and about creative as a block of cement, this was a topic of interest.  So I started with what I already knew – where inspiration isn’t.  It doesn’t come when you’re tired.  You won’t feel excited or motivated when you have a headache or feel distracted by pain or illness.  And inspiration doesn’t show up if you are overwhelmed, or don’t have any room in your schedule to stop and breathe.

Luckily, inspiration is like the sun – even when you can’t see it, it’s not totally gone; it’s just hidden behind the clouds. Ideas, creativity, and innovation come from everywhere.  You can see a red sports car drive by and appreciate the sleek lines and color.  It might inspire a sleek red satin dress design or a manufacturer to produce a shiny red TV.  (Why are TV’s all black or silver anyway?  Wouldn’t a bright blue TV look cool?  What about a yellow color to match your kitchen?  It’d be fun right?)

Inspiration comes when you’re relaxed and comfortable.  During a long hot shower, right before bed, or while cloud-watching lying on the grass.  Creativity is a state of mind. It’s when you relax your point of view enough to allow a new reality to emerge.

A choreographer could see a new dance move in the swaying of tree limbs in the wind, a photographer could see a new vantage point while cart wheeling upside-down with his kids.  It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing – inspiration is all around you.

Some other things that hinder inspiration are:

  • Narrow boundaries or thinking.
  • Too much noise or interference from the outside world.
  • Stiffness in body and mind.
  • Looking for only ONE right answer.
  • Listening to your critics.  (Or believing that they’re right.)
  • A serious frame of mind.

Some things that help inspiration are:

  • A light frame of mind.  Open up and be playful with your thoughts.
  • Substitution.  Thinking outside of the bos.  (Using a butter knife in place of a screwdriver.)
  • Seeing the forest past the trees.  Keeping your possibilities open.  There is more than one path to success.
  • A notebook.  You’ll get more useless ideas than good ones, but keeping track of them can help see connections important to making your project work.
  • Flow.  Letting your mind drift from one thought to another.  Another word for this is brainstorming.
  • Lots of outside stimulation and activity.
  • A quiet space to sit and contemplate.  (Whichever works for your purpose.)

Places to find inspiration:

  • TV.  Try watching some commercials with the sound off. See if you can figure out what they’re selling.
  • Nature.  Look at the sheer variety of creatures.  Birds alone go from small songbirds to majestic eagles and the over-size ostrich.  The colors in a simple leaf can vary from pale yellow to deep green.  Just sitting in your yard can provide hours of contemplation.
  • Music.  Let you thoughts roam as you listen to some instrumental music.
  • The opposite.  Try thinking of the exact opposite of whatever doing.  See if trying to accomplish the opposite goal gives you insight on how to achieve your true desire.
  • Children.  Ask a kid how they would do something.  Even if you can’t use it, it’ll probably open your mind to new ideas.
  • Movies.  What advice might Shrek give on this idea?  How about Sherlock Holmes or Chuck Norris?

What are your favorite tips for finding inspiration?  Share your thoughts in the comments section and help others GET INSPIRED!

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