We’re always waiting for inspiration to find us. We put off creating our next piece of art, building our next product or writing our next article because we're just not feeling inspired. Any day now, inspiration will come and we can finally begin.
I still do this sometimes, as if I didn't know better almost two decades into my creative career.
Inspiration is a little bit like love. Searching for love or the perfect romantic partner is like waiting for inspiration to strike. The harder you try, the longer it will evade you.
To feel inspired, we first need to stop seeking inspiration. This might sound counterproductive at first, and it appears to involve risk because we often work under pressure. We often don’t have the time to stop thinking about something we actually need to think about. But I've found, more often than not, that trying to force it wastes more time than anything else.
Inspiration usually strikes when you are not forcing it to strike.
Let's visualize this and imagine inspiration exists as a random pattern in our life, as in the example I illustrated below. When forcing myself to find inspiration, my path is very linear and narrow. The chances of getting struck by inspiration pretty are low. You might wait forever before it crosses your path.
Now if I stop trying force inspiration to happen – obsessing over it, trying to squeeze it out of my brain, waiting and hoping it comes to me – my path appears to be more organic & random. I might go for a walk, see a movie, read a book or just start working. It doesn't matter what I do. What matters is that I'm opening myself up and putting myself in situations where I’m more likely to get hit by those little pockets of inspiration.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” - Pablo Picasso
The key is to start doing something, RIGHT NOW! Start working immediately, even if you don’t feel inspired or know where you are going yet. Inspiration will hit once you are already in motion, not while you're standing around doing nothing. This is an interesting concept because it completely goes against our logic. We tend to think we have to first be inspired in order to work. But it’s exactly the other way around.
We envy productive, creative people the same way we admire "lucky" people. You might think luck is unfair or unpredictable because some have more and some have less. But luck is more of an attitude. You might not be able to control your own luck, but you can enhance its chances by putting yourself in positions that open you up to it. It works the same way with inspiration.
Don't wait for inspiration to come to you. Put yourself in motion and you'll run straight into it.