In the very beginning, let us agree on the fact that you do want to find something inspiring and motivating in the world that surrounds you. You need to make sure that what the Universe has destined for you really matters, whatever some pessimistic philosophers may say. Why can it be so important? Just because when you care about who should be, you have a reason to look for those things which can inspire you to look for yourself.
It is still alright if you think that you don't have any dreams (you just don't realize that you actually have them) or if you haven't decided yet who you are going to be and what you are going to do in the next five years. On the contrary, it can be even better that you haven't chosen your way yet. There won't be any contradictions between your personal means to achieve your goals and the things we are going to discuss below. So you can consider the latter impartially.
In case you have already set your aim and you know what to do in order to bring it to life, these tips below are intended to help you assure yourself once again that you're moving in a right way. What is more, they may help you discover new and abundant sources of your inspiration and motivation.
Inspiration vs. Motivation: Why Do You Need Them Both?
Before we move on, let's make these two concepts out. A lot of perfect things have been said and written about what exactly inspiration and motivation can be. However, we should still take into account that these are abstract notions, so you can't use your five main senses to identify and then describe them.
Inspiration is something you feel when you are inspired, while motivation is something that motivates you. That's it, and that's definitely right. Nevertheless, that doesn't help. That makes the situation even more complicated, because you have to muse over how it all works in practice.
So here we are to find it out.
How Does Your Inspiration Work?
The most interesting thing about this state of your mind is that you're very unlikely to find any true scientific explanation for it. Mostly inspiration is referred to as a sophisticated mental power which helps us generate new ideas right on the spot. However, there is hardly any clear physical understanding of how this process really goes on.
As inspiration is usually associated with arts and literature, we will address the ideas suggested by one of their representatives in order to shed some light on this mystery of human mind.
Vladimir Nabokov, who is a Russian-born American writer and poet, mentioned that there are two main phases of inspiration.
- First comes the so called "prefatory glow" when you feel you have an idea, but you can't express it by any means. It prepares you for the next stage.
- Metaphorically speaking, after a short period of time (in a few days, according to what Nabokov wrote) this glow turns into a lightning that strikes you and makes you start doing what was programmed in your mind. It means that after such "strike", the idea you kept inside your consciousness without realizing what it could be, gets more visible for you, and you begin to bring it into life.
Nabokov related these two stages to the way how a work of literature can come out of a writer's pen. However, they can be also carried over to any other aspect of our lives. You can certainly remember that moment when you are writing a test and feel absolutely sure about the right answer. This knowledge turns into a special force which undoubtedly cheers you up and helps you proceed with other tasks.
This force can also be considered as inspiration.
To sum it all up, let's see how we can describe inspiration in order to understand clearly what we are going to apply the abovementioned strategies for.
- It is a specific mental process that can be launched unexpectedly by something one-time. Also, it can be closely connected to your memory and imagination.
- Things or people that inspire us don't necessarily need to be what we may call extraordinary. On the contrary, it is our inspiration that finds something outstanding about seemingly simple things and ordinary people.
- This may sound slightly strange, but inspiration is hardly ever oriented to getting any material benefits from the work you do. You can call it the work just for the sake of work, or something of such kind, if you feel inspired while completing it.
How Does Your Motivation Work Then?
You have probably noticed that the word "motivation" can be easily derived from the word "motive", meaning a particular, especially hidden reason for doing something. So unlike inspiration, which is probably more about fantasy and suddenness, motivation has a more solid base. It is built on a specific need to do something. In its turn, this need transforms into a real and quite a powerful reason that makes you go and do something to satisfy your need and therefore to achieve your goal.
According to the scientific definitions, there are two types of motivation.
- Intrinsic type implies your own dreams, aims and interests that drive you to some particular actions.
- Extrinsic type implies the influences from outside that can include a reward, punishment (that's in the worst case), duty or competition.
However, again it is very difficult to come across a reasonable scientific idea on the nature and essence of motivation.
If you take your need or aim as a signal to another go-ahead, then you can be considered motivated by it. With this signal your mind and consciousness begin to shape the directions for your further actions.
Can you control this process? Yes, you do, actually. Every time you decide what step to take and what choice to make, you go further and either approach your aim or move away from it. On the other hand, your decision is programmed by and closely connected to the experience you already have and your personal perception of this aim, your understanding why you want and need to achieve it.
Instead of the Conclusion
The two mysterious phenomena of our mind which we call inspiration and motivation always go together and complement each other. You need them both to enjoy your every day, get to know yourself better and discover the world outside the windows of your room.
It may sound difficult and even scary. You can't stay inspired and motivated as well as 100% optimistic all the time. You don't have to, seriously. All you need is to know where and how to find your own inspiration and from where to get your own motivation in case you really can't go without them anymore.
So Let's Move to the Strategies
As we have looked up and made out a few essential features of how inspiration and motivation work together and what part they play in our lives, we can see that both of them have very deep meaning and complicated nature.
At the same time, they are the two almost all-mighty forces that can lead us ahead despite all troubles and misfortunes. So how can we make them stay on our side whatever happens?
Strategy #1 Know When to Stop
This doesn't mean your weakness or bewilderment. Neither does your halt imply that you might need to go back and start it all over again. The thing is that you can't run towards your aim all the time, even if you're inspired. Constant rush will bring nothing but total exhaustion of your physical and mental strengths. Have some rest and think about what you have already achieved and what else you should do. Probably, you'll find something you'd like to change in order to achieve even more.
Strategy #2 Have Time for Yourself
Spend it as you like under the only condition that your leisure time doesn't do you and other people, whoever they are, any harm. You can go for a peaceful lonely run one cool morning, or you can go to your friend's Friday party and enjoy your time there. Treat it as a precious gift you give yourself for the work you've done.
Strategy #3 Do What You Forgot You Wanted to Do
No, that's not about procrastination. Here we mean those funny, interesting and just commonplace things you put into pigeonhole long time ago. Bet, both your Mom and pride will be happy if you tidy up your room finally and throw away everything you will never take to your hands again. (Don't worry, you'll be able to buy them sometime later if really needed). Or, maybe, you've been dreaming about those street-dancing classes? Why not try?
Strategy #4 Just Read More
No, Facebook and Twitter posts don't count, sorry. Is the latest movie you long to watch adapted from a book? Perfect! Go and read it. Do you still have a little time for your history project? Awesome! Search the Web and find something really interesting. Meanwhile you may also bump into some handy articles and learn much more things than some college class can teach you. Besides, you may have some nice topic to discuss with your teacher and mates.
Strategy #5 Communicate with Those Who Can Do What You Can't
You definitely know some of those guys who can play the guitar or do martial arts, or some other things you've never tried to do. Well, if you believe it could be interesting for you to become friends with them, there's nothing bad about such an idea. By the way, don't hesitate to ask them to teach you something they're keen on, especially if you have dreamt about it for many months or even years.
Strategy #6 Get Used to Planning Your Time
You don't need to plan your every step for every day. Just make sure you've written down a couple of the most important things to do within a few days. You'll see that it gets much easier to concentrate on those particular primary tasks and complete them right on time. Later you'll be able to make an exact plan of what you must, need and want to do. Trust this or not, but your life will become much more organized and comfortable.
Strategy #7 Know When You Need to Change the Scene
If you feel like you've got absolutely bored of your routine, the best way to manage your slight depression is to go to another place. Take your bike and go to the countryside for a few hours. If you have at least one whole day at your disposal, choose another town to visit. After you return, your mood will be much better.
Strategy #8 Learn to Say No and Goodbye
Probably, these are the two most difficult words to say. They stop us from doing what we really want to do and make us put up with the things we don't like. Learn to define those cases when a confident and unambiguous "no" can help you get out of the situation you want to escape without spoiling your relations with the opposite side. Learn to say "goodbye" to those people and things that make you live in the past sacrificing your present and future.
Strategy #9 Care About Your Health
A sound mind in a sound body. That's what you need to remember. Eat healthy food, try to have enough sleep, do physical exercises (at least choose walking or cycling instead of taking public transport if the distance allows). Just keep yourself fit.
Strategy #10 Don't Be Afraid to Let Your Imagination Run with You
When you feel tired or desperate, when the world seems to be all against you, don't be afraid to dream. Make up a story about the old house you've just passed by. Or dream about what you could see behind the bus windows if you lived several hundred years from now. New images and ideas can come unexpectedly and really cheer you up.