5 Life Skills For Cultivating Inspiration

We often complain of not having motivation. “ I really want to write the book I’ve been dreaming about, but I’m just not motivated.” “ If only I could motivate myself to make those important business calls.”

So we wait. And wait.

To be motivated for real, and by that I mean, the kind of motivation that’s sustainable and doesn’t flame out easily, we first need to be inspired.

Most of us believe that inspiration is something that happens to us periodically. We hear someone’s heroic story, or visit a new country, or watch an extraordinary athletic performance, and suddenly, we are motivated!

But for how long? Not very….unless we take charge and understand inspiration as a force that we can allow into our lives, on a daily basis.

Once we are in a general state of being inspired, we find that we no longer need tools and trick to motivate ourselves. The shift takes place from the inside, and the overall feeling of it is, effortless.

Here’s 5 ways my clients and I allow inspiration into our lives on a daily basis:

  1. Stop comparing! Comparison is the number one killer of inspiration. When we hear our favorite musician, athlete, or coach, we have two choices. We can let ourselves be inspired to greater action, or we can compare, which more often than not, leads to apathy and lack of action. Every single “unique” and talented human being is inspired by many others. When Leonard Cohen wrote what is arguably his most famous verse, “ There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” he was inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote, “There is a crack in everything God has made.” f

  2. Slow down and look. So often inspiration shows up right in front of our busy faces, but we don’t see it. We are moving too fast. We’re like the car that’s going 80 miles an hour on the freeway. At that speed, how can anything be more than a passing blur?

  3. Identify the people that inspire us. I’m not talking about folks who inspired us once, but the ones that inspire every single time we are in their company. Then fill every available hour with their presence. I’m talking family, friends, pets, children, teachers, mentors, coaches, partners…..I’m talking about the happiness givers. For me, one big happiness giver and inspiration is my aunt, Melody. If I have the chance to be in her company, you better believe I make it happen!

  4. Get to know our own unique Inspiration Recipe. Is it books, music, art, sports, nature, intimate conversations, laughter and comedy, animals? The list is endless and so are the combinations. But we change our lives when we get into the habit of scheduling these activities into our day/week/month. When we make time in our schedules for inspiration, the same way we do for work, parenting and other “obligations”, we begin to live in the flow of inspiration and won’t find ourselves ‘waiting” for it.

  5. Cultivate inspiration through creativity. Because what we give our attention to grows, using inspiration to create something new - ideas, art, conversations, business, money, health, etc….. - something that lives out in the world and positively impacts others, will keep the river of inspiration flowing.

Historically we first decide we want to create, then we wait for motivation and hope for inspiration. I invite you try a new formula.

To create anything, intentionally allow inspiration, consciously reject comparison/competition, and experience motivation effortlessly.

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Carolyn Mahboubi