There are two terms that get thrown around almost interchangeably, though I feel they are quite different: motivation and inspiration. I want to distinguish between my view of the two for the sake of really getting excited about the concept of inspiration.
Motivation is a natural state. People are motivated, or they are not. The old hiring adage has always said, "hire character, train skill." I think the same is true for the motivation-inspiration model: hire motivated people, give them inspiration.
The whole mission of this blog is to be a community of people who are accountable to learning and committed to the spread of good ideas. My assumption, then, if you are reading this, is that you are in that state of motivation.
When motivated people encounter inspiration, awesome things start happening. I equate it to stoking a fire. Putting a log or pouring gas on the ground doesn't fuel a non-existent fire. But a motivated person, with a fire that's been built and tended, burns brightly when the fuel of inspiration is added.
The challenge, though, is seeing the inspiration. It's not a matter of inspiration being hard to come by, nor is there a scarcity of it. Rather, our ability, even as motivated people to see the deeper and finer things is distracted by the rote, mundane, negative, or monotonous parts of our day-to-day.
The active choice I can make, though, is to consciously redeem every moment. Have a "foundational yes" to everything, as I heard it put recently. There are pockets of retreat, as I like to imagine those moments of epiphany, waiting to be found every single day.
It's the moment when I look for the source of the incessant pounding of a jackhammer outside of our office, only to find a man dancing to the music in his headphones as the concrete came apart beneath him. It's eating at City Cafe in Tuscaloosa and taking the scenic back road home after a fruitless day of sales. It's noticing the wild flowers lining the road and wondering how my calculated yard work efforts yield nothing nearly as beautiful. The list can go on and on...for me, for you.
Neuroscientists say negative thoughts are like velcrow on our mind. It's easy for them to stick. Positive thoughts are the opposite; they're like Teflon, sliding right off. We actually have to consciously savor the positive things for them to have their deepest psychological effect. When we make an intentional effort to savor goodness, we start to have a profound impact on the shaping of our brains and ultimately our overall thinking. Inspiration is always clothed in goodness, even when it's during our painful experiences.
So let's redeem every moment. See beauty everywhere. Savor goodness. Be inspired people.