Edison said that genius was 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Definitely you won’t get inspired if you’re just sitting around waiting for inspiration. On the other hand, work work work doesn’t lead to inspiration either. And without inspiration, there is no innovation. Just look at RIM (producer of the once champion mobile phone, Blackberry). Even Speedo is losing ground in the swim market to Nike and personally I find Nike swim suits last much longer than Speedos. So inspiration isn’t a one-time gig; it must be an ongoing discipline for sustained success.
Last week-end Christina and I got to hear Ruben conduct the youth orchestra for the "Absolutely Andrew" tribute to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical legacy. Not only was the music fabulous, I learned a bit more about Mr. Webber. For example, he got inspired to write "Evita" while on a family vacation in Buenos Aires. Learning the history of Maria Duarte (who was quite inspired herself,) he got so excited he cut his trip short, returned home and wrote the whole musical in a few days. Amazing things happen when committed people get inspired. But Webber wrote many more works than just Evita, and most of them took months of writing and rewriting.
You think of inspiration of something that happens to you, perhaps a random serendipity. Author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, explains her inspirational genius as an independent muse, who visits her sometimes, and sometimes not. See her explain her perspective on inspiration on Ted, in "Your Elusive Creative Genius."
Why is this 1% of inspiration so important? Hard work is important, but not sufficient. How many people do you know who work as hard or harder than you do, and never really get anywhere interesting?
Here’s what inspiration can do for you:
- Help you continue the project when you’re on your last nerve and sick of it.
- Show you something to try in solving a challenging problem.
- See a situation from a new perspective.
- Give an annoying person another chance.
- Provide courage to try something new.
- Fuel continued innovation.
But here’s the thing. Inspiration doesn’t come unless you’re looking for it. You wouldn’t even recognize it if it did! Combined with hard work, inspiration changes the world. At Mixonian, recent inspiration on several fronts has gotten us calls from big companies and even the state governor’s office!
Here’s your DIY Get Inspired Today Toolkit:
- Commit to value inspiration.
- Ask for it and look for it. Remember "Seek and ye shall find"?
- Act on it when you see it, even if you’re not sure. That means if you have an inkling something might work, don’t wait until you have everything crystal clear, by then it will be too late.
- Schedule time to be inspired. At least a couple of hours of week.
- Recognize your available sources of inspiration. For me personally, the places I go or people I seek out when I need inspiration (which is daily) include: Seth Godin, Ruben Camacho (you can hear his "Chaconne" on his website,) the pool, Birch Box (monthly delivery of deluxe skin care and beauty samples), going to church or a concert, Fast Company magazine and newsletter and Tonya Leigh’s French Kiss Life brand.
What keeps you inspired? Do share by commenting below!