Issue #124, September 29 2023
Welcome to Insights and Implications!
Fall is here! And as the holiday season looms and the year begins to wind down, you might find yourself needing a bit of inspiration. Luckily, we know just the place to look.
All the best,
All of us at Insight Principles
I recently received an email newsletter entitled “15 Ways To Find Inspiration”. The list included things like: Visit your local bookstore, create a vision board, follow 10 new people on Twitter, and spend time in nature. It also recommended writing yourself a note, traveling, and listening to a new type of music. I smiled as I read the list. Maybe somewhat ironically, the piece inspired me to write this newsletter and offer a gentle reminder that inspiration is an inside-game.
Was this list of ideas misguided? Not at all. Might they work for some of us? Absolutely. Those ideas are useful as techniques, but it’s also important to understand what’s actually happening behind the scenes. Here’s the scoop: inspiration shows up when our thinking relaxes. It arrives when our minds settle down. Creators and scientists often say “The idea just came through me.” They’re describing the feeling of being completely in the moment, completely in flow, their minds simultaneously at rest and incredibly active. And via this state, the mind (and the world) receives fresh new creation, seemingly out of nowhere.
Can you do certain things to facilitate this state? Sure. This is why people make lists called “15 Ways To Find Inspiration.” My mind, for example, tends to chill when I’m spending time in nature, so I get lots of ideas and inspiration while walking through the woods. If I didn’t know better, it would be easy to attribute my inspiration to the fresh smell of the trees and the rhythmic sounds of my feet crunching pine needles on the trail. But the ideas aren’t coming from the forest. Not really. They arrive naturally as I let my mind gently wander, which opens the portal to creativity and new ideas. While in the woods, I’m simply availing myself of a built-in capacity that occurs naturally when I’m lucky enough to let it flow.
You might find this space while running. Or driving. Or spending time with your pets or grandkids. Or doing whatever you do to relax. The best part? Once the mind relaxes, even just a smidge, the portal opens, and the byproduct is inspiration. If you really look, I bet you’ll feel this truth in your bones: inspiration comes from within. It literally can’t come from anywhere else.
Finding inspiration doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to paint the next masterpiece or write the next best seller. Because it’s generated internally, you can also find inspiration for the mundane. As my colleague Sandy Krot says, “Believe it or not, unless I’m having a house guest, I wait for the inspiration to clean the house. It always comes. And when I’m inspired to clean – I actually enjoy it!”
All this to say: we don’t need to look externally for inspiration. It’s already there. Built-in. And just as it has countless times before, it rises within when we manage to keep ourselves out of the way.