imagethere seem two different ways to consider inspiration – first that it is an absolute must or second that it is nice to have but not to count on it.

They sound nice but neither seems helpful. Sometimes we have to move forward regardless of lightbulb appearing above us, so maybe it isn’t an absolute must…but I know for sure things go better when I am moving in the light.

So what about a third option. Being intentional about harvesting inspiration. Finding and remembering what has been brilliant before. Having a list of objects or actions or experiences that heighten the sense of awe. How do we create a habit of being inspired, driven, pushed, even compelled to act.

How do we set the path for our success?

There are many things that can inspire me, and most of them are pleasant surprises along the path, not specifically sought but certainly enjoyed. The benefit of being present minded is it allows for greater opportunity and openness for those vibrant parts of life.

Being present is one habit of finding inspiration, an intentional act. Waking up and experiencing this moment is like casting out a net to see what can be caught. Inspiring. Breathing. In and out like bellows for the creative spark, working until it is hot enough to forge life.

Where we cast the net matters as well. While I’m likely to catch something anywhere, the following five sources are my best spots for gaining inspiration.

1. Watching people and listening to the ways they interact. Some turn of phrase or part of an inside joke. A smile or angry gesture, maybe a particular clothing choice, or way they carry themselves as they go about their business. Maybe it is them telling me their story that kicks off some thought that leads me to being energized.

2. Snippets of history. Not the whole of anything necessarily (though that can work) but more just some event. Like how where I live used to be a booming cigar manufacturing town. Or how there was this guy who figured out how to make a submarine back in the 1800’s that was not a death trap for its occupants. Or…you get the point.

3. Reading a great book. One that pushes my thinking, makes me confront parts of my shadow self, or is just captivating from first to last word. Maybe it’s a character or a scenery item or just the rhythm of a paragraph but off my mind goes wondering. Wandering down new paths and finding answers to unasked questions.

4. Elegance. Something simple and unincumbered but with great depth or meaning. Clean design. Cleverness. Something that does what it is meant to without flash or distraction. My pen. An app on my phone. A sharp knife when preparing dinner. Something crafted or created with care.

5. Words. Finding new words or old words used in new-to-me ways. Seeing the origin of a word. How it’s use has fallen in and out of favor. The way my tongue twists to speak words from different languages or with accents. Give me a dictionary or thesaurus and I will find a word that will spawn innumerable thoughts and ideas.

There you go…five ways I inspire myself. So what are some ways you forage for or harvest your inspiration? Let me know in comments below.

Thanks as always,

With civility ~ Brian.