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Finding Inspiration

Hello, AC readers. Where is your inspiration? Where do you find it? Who has the most? Is it as black and white as that?

Inspiration can not be bought. It can not be sold. What makes it even harder to define is that there are as many ways a person can be inspired as there are different faces in the world.

It may boil down to the idea that some people are born more creative and thus more inspired, somehow. These creative people, one can argue, have a special intuition to be able to take and see inspiration everywhere. I think everyone has this capacity to feel inspiration and can apply it to any avenue of ideas and thought from science to art. I think where the rub of trying to bottle inspiration is, is that it is just unique to each individual. Some might be inspired by a great lecture, a great piece of artwork, or song. Someone else might be just as inspired by being in some place or time — a feeling, a moment.  There is also inspiration created from seemingly bad situations such as from an absence of some sort, being uncomfortable, or being wrong. After all some of the best art comes from pain, anger, suffering, remorse, or guilt.

The word inspiration has some interesting roots. It is originally from the latin word, inspirare, meaning “to breath into”. How great is that. Just think of all the thoughts and ideas you’ve had in your life. Think about the times when you were most inspired. You can really see the breath of life being blown into the lungs of your ideas and thoughts, making them more alive.

While this might make some sense to some and be odd to others, here are my top ways to get inspired.


I am a music person. I love everything be it classical, hard core techno, roots reggae, hip-hop, indie rock and even pop music. I find different music inspiring for different moods. I can hear just about any type of music and it reminds of some place and time in my life. I call this the sound track of my life. On gray days, I like hot tea and hearing The Smiths or maybe some Belle and Sebastian playing. On a Friday, I like to hear some boom boom (read: electronica) and music that is upbeat or even silly. The feelings associated with that time and place go with the music, which is without a doubt always inspiring.

Making tea or coffee (or even cooking)

There is something about a task that is rewarding but also takes a little bit of hand crafting work. Even the seemly simplest of tasks like making tea and coffee can be inspiring. You are able to use your knowledge gained from many years of making tea or coffee. Skillfully, you plot out the right amount of brewing, cream and sugar to add. You go into an almost zen mode, much like taking a shower, is my theory.  This work creates an environment that is ripe for thinking and being inspired.

Do something that makes you happy

It’s as simple as that. This is definitely an individual choice. Some of you might turn your nose up at my idea of something that makes me happy, others will understand though. For example, I would say one of the things I’d include on my list of things that make me happy would be shoe shopping.

Be interested in everything

This also sounds semi-vague, but I am conveying a big idea here. Most people go through life set on the things they definitively love and hate, avoiding giving thought to almost anything in between. I think life is much richer than that. You never know where you might find a kernel of inspiration.

It could be at an exhibit at the local museum about tribes in ancient Antarctica. One might think, that’s not my thing, but maybe you go and see some really rad ancient Antarctic design and patterns and decide to use that in your next design. If you’re a more scientific person, you might be in awe of how these people survived in sub-zero temperatures without a North Face Himalayan Suit. I think being in awe is without a doubt inspiring, wouldn’t you say?

It might be a walk out on a pretty night. Maybe a building or even a stormy sky can make one inspired. You don’t know, you never know, and that’s the point. But all you have to do is look.

So, there is my spiel on being inspired. I leave you with a few quotes about inspiration — for your inspiration to get inspired 🙂

“Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.”
Bob Dylan 

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London 

“Every flower must grow through dirt.”

Where do you find your inspiration?


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