What is inspiration and where to find it?

David Ideström
Jan 17, 2017 · 3 min read

Inspiration often conveys enthusiasm and taking action in pursuit of a particular endeavour.

The other day I was very enthusiastic. I was caught up in what I was reading, and I was caught up in the avenues and prospects it provided. I even started forming plans and developing ideas that I wanted to explore and pursue.

Perhaps you may remember being inspired by an inspirational speech or an inspirational person in a similar way. This is the kind of inspiration I’m trying to capture.


Then what brings about such inspiration? Often this enthusiasm is fuelled by desirability and viability. When something is desirable, it is valuable or likeable, something which creates an urge to reach a goal, a future state. And viability suggests that there are solid avenues for actually reaching this meaningful desirable.

Together, these elements are an inspiration, one that is meaningful and affective. Inspiration can be found anywhere, at any time, when anyone or anything strengthens your sense of viability and desirability.

So inspiration is something to be on the lookout for, then what are some examples of where to find inspiration? One example is in the behaviour and actions of others whom you may read about in biographies or speak to in person. When we read about them or hear of how these individuals faced their opportunities and challenges, there may be learning opportunities.

Perhaps you could look for the ones who have faced situations that are similar to those that you are up to yourself. Or you could search for the ones who have similar values as you have, or the ones with similar skills. You could learn from their experiences, you may be carried away by their enthusiasm and you may be impressed by what they managed to do.

Then, how did they manage with what they had, what are the themes, the recurring ideas, what traits did they have, how did he or she solve problems, what was the motivation, and what were the results?


Another source of inspiration is in the progress of our society. Just think about the developments in technology and psychology. A lot has happened since the steam engine transformed our society some generations ago.

We got electrification in the beginning of the last century, cars, then TVs, microwaves, cell phones, and the world wide web came to us in the 90s.

In our days, we can effortlessly communicate with everyone and travel across the world in no time, while technology is making daily life more and more comfortable, sometimes even too comfortable.

New technologies are increasingly transforming every nook and cranny of our society. This, while global production capacity is more than doubled every thirty years.


And think about what has happened since Sigmund Freud started publishing, in 1899, some 20 years before my grandmother was born.

At first, there were dreams and Oedipus complexes, but then came behavioural psychology, seeking to focus on and measure human behaviour, then came humanistic psychology emphasizing the possibilities of and the dignity of the individual.

Then, in the 60s, it was, lo and behold, suggested that thoughts have a significant impact on our well-being, and in 1998, Martin Seligman chooses positive psychology as the theme for one of his speeches. Societal understanding of well-being, performance and motivation has clearly taken big leaps forward and continues to do so.


Nowadays, the percentage of the world population living in poverty is lower than ever and decreasing steadily, and the world is wealthier than ever before. All while the global income distribution is becoming more equal.

And interestingly, people are beginning to start using measures of well-being as the leading measure of development rather than economic growth.

As material well-being is increasingly being dealt with, progress is made nearly all over the field it seems. The speed by which society is developing is mind-numbing, most of this happened within the last hundred years.

The possibilities seem to be greater than ever before and there may be many opportunities to be inspired.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

David Ideström

Written by

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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