Wow – it’s been several days since I got back to writing.
It felt weird not writing – and now it feels weird writing at 17.15.
But – I’ve got my Pomodoro running:
And off to the races I go.
What I’m doing literally right now got me thinking also –
Where does inspiration come from?
It’s a question I’ve been asked several times and I figured I should address it in a blog post.
I guess where that comes from is – ‘well Deepak, what would drive you to even bother writing a blog post at 5.18 pm on a Sunday afternoon?’
Why not chill out, watch something, and generally do f*ck all like normal human beings?’
It’s a fair question – and made me think about my inspiration to work hard.
And what drives it?
Why is it that I’ll work on a Sunday doing something that will more than likely prove fruitless – yet here I am being ‘productive’ nonetheless?
I use this word loosely of course because if I connect these blogs to actual business value and optimal use of time – then many question marks start appearing.
And it got me thinking –
Where does my inspiration come from?
Do I actually even have any inspiration?
I just had a Google of it – because inspiration is something that’s so often bundled together with hard work – that it pays to separate the two in your mind’s eye
Here’s what Oxford Languages has to say about it:
“The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
The definition is actually pretty enlightening for me.
Because – I think everyone has inspiration inside of themselves – it’s just a case of identifying what inspires you and then running with that.
I had this conversation with my good friend Michael Boham yesterday about him building out his brand – and I gave him my example as a reference point when it comes to building content online.
I write based upon impulse and produce videos based upon things I enjoy and I’m interested in – rather than getting too caught up in the ‘strategy’ behind it.
The most important thing when it comes to building out content underneath your own name is to do so consistently. And if you’re doing so based upon impulse – based upon things you WANT to write about – then fabulous.
You’re much more likely to produce compelling content as it’s based upon that which you have a genuine interest.
That’s why my personal brand is so different from Pearl Lemon alone.
My personal brand is multi-faceted whereas Pearl Lemon represents specifically my marketing side of me.
Discussing ‘where inspiration comes from is not a fit subject for Pearl Lemon – but since it’s something I wish to consider somewhat – it’s a fit for my blog.
There’s no limitation in this environment and this is how I’m able to then produce content relatively prolifically without worrying too much about the outcome.
I decided to take a look at the literature around this to understand more what someone with letters next to their name thinks about this.
In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, psychologists Thrash and Elliot discussed inspiration as being a psychological construct. They even have an inspiration scale and consider there to be three main components of inspiration which are as follows:
This is because inspiration occurs spontaneously without any intention at all. The idea that you don’t ‘get inspired’ – but rather than ‘inspiration finds you. So instead of planning to experience it – it just comes upon you.
This feels a little more spiritual in nature – in that when inspiration strikes you feel connected to a powerful source of energy. It gives you a sense of clarity and you become open to new ideas and possibilities
This is the transition of inspiration into a purposeful outcome – and this means that when inspiration strikes – you’re likely to do some new kind of action as you become open to ideas and all.
What about manufactured inspiration?
This is the part I think is missed by Thrash and Elliot. Since beginning to write this blog I’ve felt inspired to:
- Add Michael to my calendar for the walk we plan to do on the 21st of March
- Produce my video content about my teeth-whitening journey
- Record more music reaction videos
All of this has happened because I’m writing this blog post about inspiration.
10 minutes before beginning this blog I was saying to my team that I won’t be around much today as I’m not feeling fantastic.
However, as soon as I felt better I got back to my daily routine and now inspiration is striking.
To the same degree, I’d argue that inspiration is something that we can create, and it’s a chemical release of a cocktail of hormones as dopamine being one of them.
The way that I feel now isn’t too different from the way I feel when I’ve come back from a run and had a hit of feel-good hormones.
I don’t know that my body/brain understands it as being any different – even though the context is.
Inspiration is something you can manufacture
Going back to my discussion with Mike – one of the things I really struggled with from Oct 2016 until Nov 2019 – was getting ‘inspired’ or motivated to produce content about SEO/marketing.
During those three years I did write some blog content – but more than likely less than 10 blogs over a 37-month period.
Since I decided instead to focus on things I enjoy from November 2019 – my ability to produce content literally exploded.
Inspiration had no problem finding its place inside of me on a daily basis.
I simply combined a good habit of ‘producing/creating something every day with a routine of doing this in the mornings and following my impulses as to what kind of content that would be.
Now I see I’ve almost ‘trained’ myself to get inspired at a certain time of the day.
It’s a combination of routine and varied stimulation.
Creating an Inspired Environment
These can be different things for different people.
In my instance – my inspired environment is putting on white noise, sitting down at my laptop usually sometime before 6 am, and beginning to produce content.
In your instance, it might mean being in a bookstore, listening to particular kinds of music, or watching a certain video on YouTube.
This is now bleeding into the world of neurolinguistic programming and priming your state.
How is it that you can get yourself into a certain state of mind to do something?
A good example (in my mind) is how when presenting something for clients or being involved in a sales pitch you prime your state so you give your best – and then as soon as the call is over you revert to your more ‘natural state.
Doing the same thing with inspiration works as well I believe – keeping in mind the same pressures aren’t there.
Inspiration Waxes and Wanes
Much like our other moods – inspiration comes and goes.
If you read my content you’ll see me talking about my lack of motivation some days, coping with depression during lockdown – and what I’m trying to do to keep driving forward.
As you work ‘with’ inspiration more – one of the other important considerations are becoming an opportunist when this feeling strikes you and making the most of it.
If you can get into the habit of acting upon the feeling of inspiration when it strikes – it’ll put you into a good place of action.
For example – what you didn’t know (until now) dear reader – is that the time NOW is:
I wrote some 250 words yesterday before inspiration failed me – but at least I made a start.
It took time enough yesterday to start that content and inspiration/motivation soon left me a few hundred words in.
But at least I was able to make a start.
Today I wasn’t sure I’d write anything either as I wasn’t feeling great either – but suddenly for a moment in time I did – and then I seized the opportunity to finish this blog.
And here I am.
Does It Really Even Matter Where Inspiration Comes From?
I’m not sure how important this is – trying to find the root cause of inspiration.
It’s better to instead get used to seizing inspiration when it strikes.
And this begins with being mindful – and observing your own self so you can better detect and identify these moments so should the feeling ‘strike’ (as it did for me today) – to seize it and produce something.
Then – momentum can carry you forward.
Now – momentum has fallen away somewhat and I’m being driven by my desire to finish this blog.
And that’s the other side to habit formation –
Inspiration as an ignition for habit formation
This is what I find powerful right now about my content production process – and why I’ve since Jan 1st been able to record over 100 videos, and write over 90,000 words.
It’s because I’m focussing all of my new ‘habits’ around things I’m inspired by – and this inspiration occurs frequently – and I’ve found my way to harness this and build it into a routine.
As of now, it’s allowed the much quicker creation of muscle memory, contextual conditioning, and the building of routine.
A little bit like Pavlov’s dogs.
When I hear white noise – I almost salivate now as it reminds me of an environment that leads to the release of dopamine.
Because all of this automatically runs through my head:
- Every time I wrap up a blog post – I get inspired by the idea that ‘all of this will bear fruit at some point in the future
- ‘When a single piece of your content explodes Deepak – many of the others will follow.
- ‘Even if none of it explodes Deepak – someone running due diligence on you will use this to make a buying decision about yourself
- ‘You’ve heard people book with you because they’ve read something about yourself that interested them – this is another opportunity for that to happen
- ‘Each time you produce another piece of content you give yourself another chance of something going viral – and if you write more content than any one of your peers – you give yourself more opportunity than them’
- ‘All of this content will ultimately be here forever, in perpetuity – and you can look back at it in 50 years and see what you wrote on this very day, March 8th, 2021.’
- ‘How amazing will it be to have your journey and thoughts over decades documented – if my father had written in this way – I’d read as much about it as I could to learn about his life
- ‘The repurposing opportunities of this content – to turn it into an eBook – to add videos as well to each blog..the opportunities are multiple!’
So…how can I NOT be inspired when all of this is running around in my subconscious 😛
I truly did give some thought as to where inspiration comes from and I guess upon reflection it’s both intrinsic and extrinsic.
Broadly, my learning from all of this is that it’s important to be mindful of what intrinsically inspires you – and then extrinsically create an environment to continually recreate that burst of inspiration.
If you’re able to create ‘inspiration’ upon demand by combining what you already feel inspired by with an environment that’s conducive to that – you can then do incredible things with yourself and your time.
This blog in no way directly contributes towards the success of Pearl Lemon – yet I am able to find the time to write relatively prolifically because I’ve made sure that the BEDROCK of the routine I’ve built is rooted in inspiration.
So go ahead. Be inspired – and then build a whole life and routine around that which continuously inspires you. You’ll become unstoppable.