We have all had some experience of being inspired. It may recent or in the dim and distant past but we know what it's like to feel fully alive. We've been supercharged with energy and we've heard ourselves speak with passion.
It's a great feeling - we get loads of energy. We gain 'fresh eyes' so we can 'see' what is truly important, what really matters. That gives us laser-like focus.
The future overflows with enticing options. We discover the freedom to make real choices. We realise that we have the power to overcome the barriers and limitations that have been holding us back.
Inspiration is the essential spark in a chain reaction. It sparks off strong self-motivation and leads on to action towards valued goals. From the office to the Olympics - inspiration means we achieve more. Achievement itself can fuel further inspiration which leads to continued motivation and action so that a virtuous circle is created.
Without inspiration, there is no catalyst so motivation is shaky, energy is low and action is hard. Without inspiration, life and work can be a struggle.
So what's the secret? How do we get inspired?
It may appear that inspiration comes from 'out there' - perhaps a beautiful sunset, a piece of music or the touch of someone special. In fact this is a kind of shorthand for what is happening. If we take it literally that the sunset inspires us, we are making the case that the sunset is the cause of the inspiration. Yet this can't be true otherwise everyone who saw it would be inspired.
What is really happening is that we inspire ourselves by using the sunset to connect with our own thoughts and/or feelings which are inspiring. The inspiration comes from within. The locus of control is ours.
Exactly how we inspire ourselves is an individual thing - different people do it in different ways. The great news is that we can learn how to inspire ourselves and then we can be inspired whenever we want.
Here are five suggestions to get you started:
1. Notice any experience which triggers your inspiration. Aim to repeat this experience more often.
2. Wake up your senses. Each day this week concentrate on one of your five senses - Monday 'seeing', Tuesday 'hearing', Wednesday 'touching' and so on. What do you notice that is new?
3. Search for the worthwhile meaning in what you do.
4. Throw out old uninspiring habits and create new inspiring ones.
5. Look out for what stops you being inspired. What could you do differently to avoid this?
Each of us can learn how we can be the source of our own inspiration. Instead of waiting for a random event to trigger your inspiration, you can become inspired when you choose. The skills you acquire to do this can be yours for life.