To be inspired is to be alive. It transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. It is a springboard for creativity and motivation. Inspiration also facilitates progress towards your goals.

But how exactly does inspiration work?  And why is it so good for me.

The First W of Inspiration is WHAT:

According to psychologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot, inspiration has three main qualities.

  1. Evocation –inspiration is evoked spontaneously  – the light bulb notion.
  2. Transcendence – that inspiration it involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities.
  3. Motivation – in laymen’s terms this is the action part:  wanting to have your idea or vision take shape.

And I am all about action.  If inspiration is the light bulb, it’s the electrical infrastructure that’s the reality of action.

Think about what inspires you. Is it creative: something you do like writing or making music or something you experience like nature or sports? Perhaps it’s seeing new places or disappearing in a book or movie? What inspiration involves are your senses and why it’s good for you is because we are sensual as human beings.  Inspiration comes in many forms and is as unique as we are individuals.


The Second W of Inspiration is WHO:

Certainly leaders need to inspire.  There is a whole strain of leadership dedicated to Inspirational Leadership.  As too do people who work in creative pursuits need inspiration.  But I propose that everyone needs inspiration.  It is in inspiration that innovation and solutions appear.   This is what business and corporations seek.  This is how entrepreneurs work.  Everyone needs, has and benefits from inspiration.



The Third W of Inspiration is WHEN:

Research shows that you are more likely to have a creative solution or idea when you’re doing something monotonous, like driving, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot, freeing up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind wanders; leaving your brain to process other problems, engage other parts of the mind, not just the prefrontal cortex – the command centre of the brain.  

When we are in a relaxed state of mind, we’re more likely to turn off our command centre part of the brain, letting other brain functions dominate and make different, insightful connections.  When we are distracted, our subconscious can work on a problem more creatively.   It is also chemical. Triggers like exercising, listening to music, and taking a warm shower, contribute to increased dopamine flow.

A relaxed state, a distracted mind and a dopamine flood – no wonder great ideas happen in the shower.


The Fourth W of Inspiration is WHERE:

Get out. Get out of your office. Get out of your head; get out of your current pattern of thinking…  Inside your office environment, you are condition to a certain pattern of thinking.  You are in business mode – responding, managing, prioritizing, handling, processing, etc.  To be inspired you need to be somewhere else, so that the command part of your brain is not in control.  This is why companies will hold strategy events off-site – a new environment changes perspective, engagement and changes your patterns of thinking.


The Fifth W of Inspiration is WHY:

In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, inspiration awakens us to new possibilities. Inspiration propels people towards possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities.

Inspiration also increases well-being. Studies show that people who are exposed to situations they find inspirational, experience higher levels of positive affect.  Positive Affect is defined as being enthusiastic, interested, determined, and excited. Inspiration is important.

This all happens without any shift in ability or skill, and in fact propels people to their top level of ability and capability. Inspiration can be activated, cultivated, and has an important effect on important life outcomes. I know I’m inspired…


Tune in for Part II

Next the next article, I continue to show you how to be inspired and more thoughts on cultivating and incorporating inspiration in your life.

Read Part II of this article by clicking here