Forget the past and focus on the present.
That’s what they all say, and there is good reason for it. The past is dead weight that will slow you down if you take it with you. But as you’ll see, your past is a valuable and somewhat golden reference.
How do you inspire yourself?
That question can be answered by peering into the days of yore. Think of the times in your life when you have been inspired – either momentary on-the-spot instances or longer term streaks of inspired living. Once you’ve identified several instances, you have a fun job.
Detective (insert your name here)
Your job is to examine your cases of inspiration (one at a time) and look for clues that will ultimately point you to the original culprit. Who or what inspired you? Did you do something to cause it? What circumstances brought it about? Was it a fluke or could it be replicated?
As you gather the criminal inspirers together in cuffs, you’ll want to interrogate them and find out why they did it. More importantly, how did they get you so fired up for life? As you uncover this mystery, you’ll see patterns – the same culprit over and over, or culprits that have something in common.
Take note of the similarities! Do it!
Some possibilities you might or might not find…
Whenever you see a specific movie, you feel like you can do anything.
Whenever you see a good movie of a particular genre, you’re inspired. (for me, fantasy films with symbolism like The Lord Of The Rings are infinitely inspiring)
You’ve walked away inspired an uncanny number of times after talking to Jonathan.
Every time you hear the word “possibilities,” you want to conquer the world.
A particular song, or a number of different songs, set your tail on fire.
Dancing in your pajamas puts you in the best mood and helps you to see the bright side.
Working out fuels your passion for life.
Completing a new challenge results in ridiculous energy spikes.
Setting a new goal increases your heart rate and makes the day exciting.
When you simply think about your potential, it makes you want to reach it.
It could be any number of things. But what makes this a fantastic strategy is that you’re not learning from a book or expert, you’re learning about how YOU work. You’re enhancing your understanding of what motivates you and what doesn’t.
If you want to, also think about all of the things you’ve tried that haven’t worked. Maybe music isn’t enough to get you going. Maybe exercise, which I’ve noticed sets my life on fire (in a good way), doesn’t impact your perspective. Instead, maybe you find inspiration by reading stories of other people who have found success in what you’re pursuing.
As you figure it out and apply what you’ve learned, you’ll strengthen those things which strengthen you and phase out the things that don’t. Soon enough, you’ll be unstoppable and the government will declare you a weapon of massive success.
One thing I’ve heard that I really like is that we should focus building our strengths rather than trying to overcome our weaknesses. It makes perfect sense. Our strengths and weaknesses are who we are naturally, so to focus on improving your weaknesses is a little bit like not being yourself. This technique of peering into your past to discover what inspires you is an exercise of finding out who you are and making the most of it.