What inspires you?

We’ve all heard the phrase before: “inspiration is all around us.”

But, come on, what does that even mean? Inspiration is all around us. It surrounds us in everything we do. And yet, when wondering what to eat for dinner, we can’t decide. Inspiration is everywhere, and yet I can’t ‒ for the life of me ‒ figure out where to start on my next book. If inspiration is really around us all the time, why do we struggle so often to come up with ideas for our next big project?

If inspiration is all around us, why aren’t we in a constant state of “ah ha!” and creative flux?

Finding inspiration isn’t necessarily the problem, inspiration is truly all around us. But the constantly shift of attention and the growing need for living basics and the mere way our brains have been designed make it difficult to recognize inspiration.

Let’s dig into this idea for a minute.

If inspiration truly is all around us, what causes us to get “stuck” from time to time? The answer is simply: ourselves.

We often overwhelm ourselves with unnecessary boundaries, needs, and standards. In a day and age of instant coffee, email, Twitter, access to billions and billions of bits of data, it’s easy to forget that inspiration is as simple as taking a breather and looking to your left.

Try it right now. Take a slow breath and look to your left. The first thing you see ‒ anything ‒ ask yourself questions about it. What is it? How would you define it? What is the story behind it? Who created it and why?

Congratulations, you have found inspiration. But don’t stop there. Go further into the idea that inspiration is everywhere but we’re too distracted to notice. Ask yourself how you can relate what’s around you to a project or problem you’re facing right now.

What if your project or problem was like the object to your left? What similarities exist? Ask why they do or don’t.

Inspiration is everywhere, you just need to realize it. Utilize it. Ask questions. Look around you (or even close your eyes and use your imagination), and you’ll find inspiration. That’s how it works.

Photo by Chris Glass.