Staying inspired

Tom Simpson
February 19, 2024
1 min read
1 min read

Because it is the job

I think it sticks because too often, spending time getting inspired can feel like a personal pleasure, a nice-to-have, or some kind of gift for the artist.

And yet it’s so much more foundational in essence. Not just for someone like myself in the creative industry, but for anyone pursuing something that requires vision, ideas, persistence, focus, and energy.

It’s not just a hunch, it’s proven.

In a study by Marina Milyavskaya and her colleagues, they discover that inspiration perpetuates goals, and goals perpetuate inspiration. She suggests that “goal progress and goal inspiration build on each other to form a cycle of greater goal inspiration and greater goal pursuit.”

In response to another study, Scott Kaufman articulates the nature of inspiration. That inspired people are generally more open to new experiences, and report more absorption in their tasks. “Openness to experience often came before inspiration, suggesting that those who are more open to inspiration are more likely to experience it."

Inspiration is the fuel for our efforts, and our efforts become the fuel for inspiration.

Inspiration is openness.

It’s our ability to transcend the limitations of the ordinary into possibility.

And perhaps most importantly, it's humility.

Scott Kaufman notes “inspired individuals also reported having a stronger drive to master their work, but were less competitive."

Competition as a non-transcendent desire to outperform competitors isn't conducive to inspiration.

Inspiration is more intrinsically motivated.

In a culture of knowledge and influence it’s easy to feel the pressure to be the one who knows. Where the vast majority have assumed their position as a teacher. The ones who hold the knowledge and instruct others.

Instead, staying inspired humbly accepts a position as a student. The one who has something to learn.

And from what I can see, the greatest teachers are themselves students first.

Perhaps we can aspire to both.

So, a little reminder went a long way—as is the case with most inspiration.

A reminder to stay inspired.

Because it is the job.

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