To be inspired.
To be moved intellectually, ….spiritually, ….emotionally.
What inspires you?
Where do you get your inspiration?
It may come from many sources, both internal and external.
One might be inspired by a fiery speech, or a touching poem, or perhaps a biography or memoir.
Or the source of inspiration may be a quiet yet forceful realization from within; a personal awakening or realization.
It is a spark, a catalyst. And like a catalyst it must lead to some outcome. Otherwise, the inspiration, and even the catalyst of that inspiration, is meaningless.
Every year Time magazine publishes its issue of noteworthy people. Great artists, writers, politicians, entrepreneurs, sports figures, scientists. Each having some notable skill or accomplishment such that they rise head and shoulders above their peers.
They may have not planned to become famous. They may have little in common with each other. However, they do share a handful of fundamental characteristics. Motivation, perseverance, and focus on a goal; a desire for achievement.
The result of their efforts to achieve that goal, of their motivation, their perseverance, and their focus, is seen by others in the world. And these results in turn may inspire others.
These noteworthy folks who may have started from humble beginnings probably never considered the inspirational effect they might have in the world.
They merely pursued their own personal dreams, desires and goals.
Yet, their actions and accomplishments had ramifications. They became the spark lighting another’s fire.
It is exactly that which quantifies the inspirational moment.
It’s what makes it real, tangible. It’s also what can both strengthen the experience or diminish its meaning.
There are two questions that others can raise when hearing or learning about another’s inspiration.
The first is “What inspired you?”
We’ve all heard this question spoken a multitude of times. It may have been directed at a celebrity on a talk show, or in a private moment with close friends.
This question, of course, is shortened as it is usually asked within the larger context of “What inspired you to do this thing?”
The point is, this question can only be asked after the fact. Well after the inspiration has led to some notable outcome which in turn prompted others to dissect its meaning.
The second question is “You’re inspired to do what?”
This question can be raised only upon the revelation of the inspiration to others.
In either case, the operative word is not “inspired”, but “do”. It is the outcome of the inspiration, or the potential results of the inspiration, that matter to others, to the external world.
Inspiration without motivation and results is nothing.
It is failure, plain and simple.
The lack of motivation could mean one of two things.
Either the event was actually non-inspiring, in which case it failed.
Or, the lack of motivation by those experiencing the event indicates apathy.
Inspiration must be actualized in order to be real.
Inspiration alone is not sufficient to realize the fruits of that inspirational moment.
That fiery speech, touching poem, biography or memoir may touch your inner spirit and leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated, uplifted. However, if not acted upon, if not motivated into action that inspiration is means nothing.
There must be an outcome.
It must be shared.
This sharing may be intentional. Or it may not. However, it is always, always visible.
The inspiration awakens some desire within us.
A desire to do something.
Change people’s lives.
Perhaps change your own life.
We’ve all been inspired at one point or another in our lives.
After that fleeting moment of awakening, of revelation, what happened?
What did you do?
Were you motivated into action?
The motivation may be large or small. It may be a call-to-arms to right some social injustice, or it may be a quiet series of actions to live a better life, to be a better person. In any case, there will be a visible outcome that others will see.
And perhaps comment about.
That first step can be scary, frightening. You’re putting yourself out into the world for others to see, examine, judge, possibly ridicule.
However, even if those judgments occur, consider them the flame of a furnace that hardens a soft metal into steel.
You may fall on your face pursuing the fruits of that inspiration.
Don’t give up.
Don’t simply lie there in self-pity or wallow in your failure.
The fact that you are even in that position is a result of your motivation. It’s a sign of change, of progress. It is a result.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward.
You may even be lucky.
Another person, a friend, family member, coworker, or even a stranger may pick you up, dust you off, and join you.
If that is the case, then consider that an achievement in itself.
Your motivation to action from your inspiration has borne its first fruit. It has inspired and even motivated another person. Together, you are stronger and can move forward with new-found confidence.
Whether your inspiration motivates you to change your own life, improve another’s life, perform some deed, create art, engineer a solution, there is an outcome that is visible to others around you.
Your family, friends, co-workers, even strangers.
People will notice. And they may be similarly inspired, then motivated, then persevere as they chase their own dreams and desires.
The circle is then complete. The spark of inspiration is reignited in another.
That spark becomes a flame that is both stoked by the fruits of inspiration, and that feeds the innate desire within all of us to achieve a goal.
We can all be inspired.
The inspiration alone is meaningless.
What matters is the result.
What are you going to do?