What is Inspiration?

If you check out the various respectable dictionaries you’ll find that no one can truly define the term. Some say it’s, “Something that makes someone want to do something” or “Something that gives someone an idea about what to do or create”.

One says, “It’s a force or influence that inspires someone”. Then there’s, “A person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something”. And last but not least, “A good idea”.

Not sure that many of these definitions are especially useful and while they all seem to be correct they do not ‘inspire’ me personally, but then I may be hard to please.

I believe that inspiration is a step up from that. It’s a way of thinking, impacted by a gymnastic mind, which sees something different, something unique in the mundane and obvious. To most of us it’s difficult to explain, but my best guess is it stems from a belief that this kind of thought transcends lateral thinking and becomes 3D lateralism.

I’m fortunate to work everyday, as I have for the past 50 years, around inspirational people. It’s enlightening, magically invigorating and ever so satisfying. My work has allowed me to train myself to examine everything that is banal and ordinary and seek within it something different, something special, something useful.

And it doesn’t stop there. I watch a movie and I become inspired and leave with a way of adapting something I’ve seen into the gem of an idea in marketing. I ‘people watch’ and I never fail to shape a concept that can be used to create a differential or solve another problem. Importantly, I don’t think I’m anything special. I believe it’s in all of us just waiting to be drawn out. It’s like a square, if you draw the 45o angles and make it a cube you’ve got a new way of thinking.

Sadly, it’s not something that has a clearly defined process, so it’s hard to communicate and harder to teach, but what’s important to remember is that inspiration is not something that just comes travelling through space illuminating the light bulb. It doesn’t come like a shooting star and create an aura of genius.

For me it comes from watching, absorbing and knowing that there is some gem of an idea in everything we do. No action has an exclusive use. Everything is multi useful or as Napoleon Hill once said, “In every adversity is a seed of equal or greater benefit.”

I go further. “In every action and motion is the seed of an idea of benefit.” Most powerful of all to me, is music. Loud and stirring, quiet and tranquil, melodic and tuneful, is there anything more inspiring than Beethoven’s ‘5th’, Peter Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812’, the Beatles’, ‘Long and Winding Road’ or Jackson’s ‘Bad’ and a thousand more. Sit listen and allow your emotions to create that 3D cube. Let ideas run through and think how something so inspiring can inspire you.

Yes, now you’ve got it. Inspiration comes from inspiration.