Inspiration is Everywhere
The scientific and mindful approach to encourage and sustain inspiration.
There’s a misconception that only creative people are creative. The truth is that everyone is creative. Some people have more practice at being creative while others rarely practice this skill. Creative people who practice this skill every day will tell you that they are inspired often. When they are inspired, they will unleash their creative beast from within to create.
Inspiration is the match that will light up the fire of creativity. Inspiration starts from an evocation: an idea, an object, a person or an event. During the inspirational episode, you gain awareness of new possibilities that transcend the ordinary. Afterward, you are compelled by your approach motivation to actualize these new possibilities.
The 3 parts of the inspiration process are evocation, transcendence, and actualization.
What happens to your brain when it’s inspired?
The concept of neuroplasticity underlies inspiration. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections. During the transcendence stage of inspiration, your brain is literally restructuring itself as you connect ideas together to form new ideas. The process of inspiration carves out new pathways inside the brain.
If you compare your brain to the engine of a car, you can crank the engine up or you can slow the engine down. As you move through your day, when you are more focused, your brain exhibits more beta brain waves. When you are more relaxed, your brain exhibits more alpha or theta brain waves. The alternating flow of brain waves adjusts to situations of your day. In turn, the more changes occur in your brain wave patterns, the more you are exercising your brain. Each time you are exercising your brain, you are encouraging neuroplasticity.
The easiest way to boost your brain power is to encourage more neuroplasticity. When you encourage more neuroplasticity in your brain, you are priming your brain to receive and process more inspiration.
How to encourage inspiration?
Inspiration must come from an evocation. It’s imperative to start from somewhere. Expose yourself to an object, a place or a person who can be the source of inspiration. Your brain likes change. Change creates more neuroplasticity. Expose yourself to a variety of sources of inspiration. The more diverse your starting point is, the more likely that you will find more inspiration.
Allow more opportunities for transcendence. When you have a pool of ideas generated from your source of inspiration, put those ideas into their perspective contexts. You can put ideas into context by doing research, forming mind maps, or getting feedbacks. When you put those ideas into context, you are giving your brain more information to form new connections.
Allow more time and freedom for actualization. Your brain likes freedom. Pressure works only sometimes. When you have the mindset of “free time”, your brain can make connections at will. Decreasing anxiety, increasing empathy, and increasing compassion leads to improved memory. Improved memory leads to greater neuroplasticity.
Allow for more variety in brain wave changes. Your brain waves change the most when you move in and out of the focused attention state and the meditative state. Encourage these changes by creating situations where you can move in and out of these states. In the morning, you read the newspaper for an hour. Then, you write in your journal. When the sun comes out, you go for a walk with your dog. The rhythm of the day creates brain wave changes that allow for more neuroplasticity.
How to sustain inspiration?
Sustaining inspiration is actually the wrong question to ask. Inspiration is a small burst of “ah-ha” moment. The right question to ask is how to sustain the effort of actualizing your inspiration. Another right question to ask is how to continuously generate inspiration in mundane moments of life.
How to sustain the effort of actualizing your inspiration?
Sustaining the effort of actualizing your inspiration requires time and motivation. When you are short on time, you will likely rush through putting the ideas generated from your inspiration into context. The ability of putting ideas into the right context will determine your success of actualizing these ideas. Time also allows for revision. The iterative process of revision allows for new ideas to form from old ones. This process also generates more detailed mind maps that will allow for your ideas to be actualized.
Motivation is the intrinsic motivation that you derive from actualizing your ideas. People who have more practice in going through the entire process of inspiration and seeing their ideas realized in their creations will have more intrinsic motivation. Therefore, even without inspiration, you can practice the process of creation. When artists practice drawing by copying another artist’s drawing, that artist is refining his technique as well as practicing going through the entire process of creation. This artist is developing his intrinsic motivation.
How to continuously generate inspiration from mundane moments of life?
Your life is only “mundane” if you think your life is “mundane”. The first step to continuously generate inspiration from life is to view life as a series of “inspirational” moments. When you look through your photo album, do you see the beauty in those moments of your life? Can you remember the feelings that you had when those pictures were taken?
When you are actually living in that moment, remember that moment could be an inspirational photo.
Then, live in that moment. By living in that moment, I mean really lean into the feelings that you have for that moment.
Then, take “truthful” actions on the basis of those feelings. For instance, when you see your children having a water fight in the yard, do you smile at their silliness? When you smile at their silliness, do you want to join in? When you want to join them, do you actually join them and have a blast?
When you understand the science behind inspiration, you want to be inspired every day. When you are inspired every day, your life becomes a series of moments that you will want to live over and over again.
About the Author
Jun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting. She has a background in programming and statistics. On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her website.