The downside to being inspired

DSCN0556-01Have you ever read something, heard something or watched something that inspired you?

You find yourself overwhelmed with the possibilities of what could be.

You think to yourself ‘Wow!’, that person did this amazing thing, their words have filled me with that feeling that I love, I’m ready to take action.

And, you do take action that is digging up old projects from the dust, ready to complete them.

But then a few days or weeks later your back to your past self just sort of plodding along  through life.

The whole process could be compared to a deflating balloon all loud and full of movement one minute  then limp and lifeless in a corner the next.

That’s the downside to being inspired. That amazing, magical feeling doesn’t last. It’s like taking a drug, it’s all good when you’re on them but once the initial effect fizzles out you’re left on a bit of a downer, craving more.

Sometimes you end up chasing more. More podcasts, more books and more talks just to get a hit of that feeling. But when all is said and done you haven’t actually achieved anything. That project is still at the planning stage, photos unedited, essay still somewhere in the middle, book only ever planned and re-planned because you can’t settle on an idea. If you’re a blogger like me then maybe you have 30+ blog posts in your drafts folder. A collection of loose plans and first drafts born from sparks of inspiration that you’ve never even looked back on.

The downside to being inspired is doing nothing with it. It could be out of fear, embarrassment or imposter syndrome. Maybe you don’t think it will work, that nobody will care, that people won’t get it, that it won’t be as good as you’ve built it up to be in your mind, that it goes against the norm, the list of possibilities goes on.

If things don’t work you can try again and if that isn’t an option then make peace with the fact that it either will or won’t work. Not trying at all will more often than not leave you in a delusion of grandeur of what could have been.

People might laugh or think you’re lame but that’s fine because  it only means as much as you let it. Granted it won’t make you feel great but you have to remember that what you do isn’t for everyone Seth Godin once said ‘be comfortable enough to say, it’s not for you’ and it’s stuck with me ever since. Nobody needs to feel down and drain themselves focusing on people who want to make fun of you for trying especially when they often aren’t trying themselves. Instead, focus on the ones that thought what you did was interesting or offered constructive criticism.

You have to remember that you aren’t the only person to have ever felt like an imposter . When you know that you aren’t ‘the best’ or feel like someone else is more deserving it becomes difficult to get things done. But the best way to get around it is to change your way of thinking. Tell yourself something like ‘Here I am with the opportunity to do more than I thought I was capable of and though I may be scared I’m willing to accept this and make the best of it, not because I am the best but because my life circumstances have aligned to bring me right here and I am willing to take advantage of that.’

There’s a quote I love that says “There’s a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough.”
— Alain de Botton.

Not doing something because it’s weird, unusual or unpopular is ingrained in us, somewhat, it’s like survival instinct. We’re taught to conform and stick within the guidelines which is strange when you think about where progress and change comes from. Those things come from straying from normality, from asking questions, not just saying ‘yes sir, no sir’. We’re capable of so much more than that. That unusual idea you have could change 1 persons life which in turn changes the world which is pretty special.

I think in theories and concepts. I like to play with perspectives. And so I eventually realised that, I had become someone who collected inspiration but rarely did anything with it.

Now that I’ve noticed that and because it’s not a quality that I like or admire I’m working to change it. Not only that, I’m encouraging others to change as well if they want to. I’ve started saying the phrase ‘don’t just talk about, be about it. It’s amusing to say whilst also being an indication of who I want to be and am becoming. I’m sure we all know someone who will talk about something on and on for months on end whilst making no effort to actually achieve it.

I’ve found that the best thing to do with inspiration is use it as a catalyst for action. Don’t become a let down to yourself and get so caught up that you don’t actually do anything. I’ve learnt and am continuing to learn that if you’re willing to try, to take things step by step or moment by moment, I’ll without a doubt get things done.

There’s a downside to being inspired but there’s also an upside. The upside is the unlimited potential and possibility of what you can create, achieve, learn or express. You might not want to believe in your capabilities, you might even have a long list of limitations placed upon yourself, maybe that’s where you’ve learnt to let your focus lie. That’s okay too because despite what you think or feel right now, the opportunity to believe in yourself will always be there. You have the choice to do things differently, break boundaries and habits.

What inspires you?

2 Comments on “The downside to being inspired”

  1. What an insightful post, you’ve hit upon these notions in such a clear and eloquent way, the whims and thoughts people in the creative space surely grapple with. Thank you for bringing these things into the light. I’ve recently discovered Seth Godin as well, good stuff:)

    1. Thank you Marie, your words remind me of one of the many reasons I love to write. Do you read Seths blog? I’ve been inspired by him for quite a few years, his words have been life changing!

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