I grew up in the Midwest. I did my bachelor’s degree in Oregon and my master’s degree in Massachusetts. After my graduate program, I was looking for inspiration to decide if I should stay on the East Coast or move back to Oregon. I came out of the local grocery store and saw a car with an Oregon license plate (rare to see in western MA). I thought, “there’s the sign?!! I should go back to Oregon.” And I was pretty elated for about . . . a minute. Then I thought, “wait, maybe that means it’s like Oregon here and I should stay in Massachusetts!”
I’ve been talking with folks about what inspires them, where they find inspiration, and what inspiration may look and feel like. A common thread I’ve been hearing is that it comes from within – something I’ve heard and read related to “motivation,” as well. So even though inspiration can be intentional, it isn’t really something that is “done unto” you.
A colleague of mine, who has just retired from LBCC, relayed this tidbit about others who make a difference for us. He said, “I’m reminded of something I read about Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers). While accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Emmys, he asked his audience for a moment of silence to remember those who’d made a difference.”
Here’s what Mr. Rogers said:
So many people have helped me to come here to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away and some are even in Heaven. All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds, I’ll watch the time. Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they have made.
For me, even reading that was inspiring. Thinking about people who have inspired or contributed to my life reminds me that inspiration is often seen and felt after time has passed.
What else do folks say is inspiring or where do they find inspiration?
- Being outdoors
- Doing something with energy
- Focusing internally
- Reading books from successful folks
- Watching Ted Talks or YouTube inspirational videos
- Going on an adventure
- Talking to friends, family or random others
- Writing out goals
- Being daring – skydive, scuba dive, bungee jump, learn to square dance
- Learning a new language or craft
- Writing a song, poem or both
- Saying yes to something you usually say no to
- Being silent for a whole day
- Turning off electronics for a week
- Going for a solo hike
- Practicing deep breathing
- Picking a point on the globe and going there
- Talking to 100 other people about inspiration
All of these are good ideas, and any of them might lead to your personal inspiration. I do think you have to go looking, though. Keep searching. And remember to laugh at yourself.
Image by storyset on Freepik