When you aren’t “feeling it,” what happens? Is it a hopeless situation or can you pull yourself out of it? How often do you succeed?
I’m talking about self-inspiration.
Self-inspiration is the ability to take yourself from bored to passionate, from stagnant to active, from discouraged to excited. It doesn’t depend on external assistance. Self-inspiring people can inspire themselves (and likely others) anytime and anywhere.
Self-inspiring people get things done.
We have so much help available to us online and elsewhere. As such, it is tempting to look outside of ourselves for all of the answers. But as I’ve said before, we already have most of the answers if we’re willing to think deeply.
This includes inspiration. We all have the potential to inspire ourselves!
Inspiration doesn’t always need to come from within, but most of it should. To depend on external stimuli to inspire you will frequently leave you disappointed and unproductive. You won’t always find the perfect article. Your friends won’t always know the magical words to say to you.
Look to yourself first to find inspiration. It’s a good idea to practice. There are two ways to self-inspire – focusing on positive outcomes and removing hurdles.
If you do both of these steps in relation to any single goal or task, you will be inspired to do it! Go ahead and pick something – what do you want to be inspired about? Have it in mind as you read on.
Step One: Self-Inspire By Focusing On Positive Outcomes
When you picture yourself holding wearing the gold medal for the 100m dash, that prize will inspire you to work hard. It’s not just for the glamorous activities either. Just today I inspired myself to clean the kitchen. I didn’t feel like doing it, but I pictured how happy it would make my mom and how much more enjoyable it would be for me to fix food in a clean kitchen!
How simple, right? Most answers in life are simple – but simple solutions are not always evident in the moment of struggle. How many times have I not cleaned the kitchen in that scenario? Too many.
Much of our success in life (financial, relational, physical, organizational) comes down to our habits. If you can get into the habit of focusing on positive outcomes rather than excuses, you’ll achieve more positive outcomes. I can recall three excuses I had not to clean the kitchen. In retrospect, I’m glad I ignored them and focused on the positive outcome!
If this step works, you’re done. You’ve successfully inspired yourself to complete a meaningful task. Or maybe you’ve just gotten yourself excited about life by thinking of the exciting opportunities and events that are in your future.
But what if it isn’t enough to focus on the positive outcome? It’s true – sometimes the excuses and obstacles can not be ignored. These might be deeply-rooted and weighty or just so large in number than you’re not comfortable to discard them all.
What can you do?
Step Two: Self-Inspire By Removing Hurdles
Think of something you’re having trouble being inspired for.
Are you lacking general life inspiration, inspiration to write a book, or inspiration to get in shape? Whatever it is, once you’ve focused on the issue, you need to dissect it to find possible reasons for your lack of enthusiasm. There are likely several emotional blocks, excuses, and fears to deal with.
Good news! These can be thought through and defeated.
At first, I thought of inspiration as the realization of something positive (i.e. being inspired to paint when seeing a great painting). There is, however, another way that inspiration works.
If we can simply remove the negative obstacles that are in our way, the freedom that is naturally generated will be inspiring. In other words, we automatically become more inspired when we see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we see more light (removing obstacles), our inspiration increases!
Imagine seeing no restraints in pursuing your dreams. Now THAT is inspiring!
My Example: I want to get rid of more things right now, but I’m struggling. There are hurdles in my path, but I signed up for the 100m dash. The hurdles must be removed for me to want to race!
Hurdle: There are so many other things I want to do. (overwhelmed)
Solution: Define the other things that might be more important right now (if I determine there are more important tasks, I’ll focus on them first). If there is nothing else more important to do, I know that I can focus on this one thing because multitasking is ineffective!
H: I don’t know where to begin. (mental block)
S: I’ll choose to tackle one area first – the bookshelf on the right. Now I know where to begin!
H: I don’t know what level of minimalism to go for. (fear of going too far or not far enough)
S: Upon further thinking, I do have a good idea of what I’m going for. I want to be mentally aware of every item I own. Invalid excuse!
H: It feels like there are some emotional blocks present. (emotional block)
S: In the past, once I started working, the emotional blocks subsided. So I’ll just start and trust they’ll fade.
H: What if I get rid of something I need later? (fear)
S: That is unlikely, but it has happened before. When it happened, it was still worth it because of the tremendous benefits of minimalism. Also, if I’m selling many of my possessions, I can buy the things I need later with the money I made!
H: I’m feeling lazy now. (excuse)
S: It will go away once I start. I must think about how happy and energized I’ll be once I’ve purged many items! As a reward, I can watch a TV show or play video games tonight for my effort.
H: What if I fail or spin my wheels? (fear of failure)
S: I just got rid of two trash bags full of stuff and took it to Goodwill – that tells me I’m making real progress! Even if I didn’t have that experience, it is certainly worth a try given the tangible benefits!
Now I Can Take Action
As you can see in this real-time example, many of my inhibitors were easily overcome and I’m inspired to get rid of things now! Inspiration is the complete feeling of freedom to do something good. If we can quell our internal doubts about accomplishing something and are left with no more excuses, we’ll be inspired to gain the benefits of doing it.
When you’re looking at goal, there will always be obstructions on the road to get there. Some of them are real – you will have to jump over, run through, or go around them. But most will be imaginary obstacles that your mind creates out of irrational fear.
I went through those doubts all by myself. I find it’s easier to do when I write it down. When there are 10+ doubts involved, it’s absolutely necessary to process them outside of your mind.
Practice by writing down doubts that you know are holding you back about one goal at a time. Match every doubt that springs up with a logical solution or counter argument. When you finally see a mostly open road ahead of you on the way to your goal, you’ll be inspired to walk towards it.
You might even be inspired to sprint towards it.