Positive Life: Fast facts on inspiration

This morning I had the luxury* of sitting up in bed with a cup of tea and the iPad doing some research.  Sadly I was not researching a trip to New York or child free holidays in Tahiti.  I was researching cheap block out roller blinds. And despite the unlikely set of circumstances I felt a flash of that heady mix of excitement, motivation and future possibilities that comes with inspiration.  

The endless pictures of drab synthetic blinds triggered a flow of mental activity that had me effortlessly cleaning, painting and decorating the very broken down old house that we've just purchased, turning it into a piece de resistance of budget driven yet understated elegant style.

I revelled in this little fantasy for a minute or two, visualising my beautiful home that bears no resemblance to its current state (and somehow transforms without the massive physical effort that it's really going to require) and I then started thinking about inspiration. What is inspiration really?  Why is it that the the 'inspiration' memes that get flashed about on Facebook with their pastel colours and pictures of sunsets and small children leave me cold but I can get quite excited about the possibilities associated with roller blinds?

I'm going to do a bit of exploration of inspiration in the next week or so.  Please join me.  In the meantime, here are a few fast inspiration facts to kick us off:

  1. Until very recently - the last few years really - there has been very little scientific research into inspiration.  So what do the science heads know about inspiration - what it is, how it works and how to get more?  Well until very recently not much at all, despite all the memes.
  2. From what we have learnt recently inspiration seems to be made up of three parts - evocation (it hits us from nowhere), transcendence (it disregards practical, self-serving and animal instincts and brings a flash of future possibilities, sometimes a grand vision) and approach motivation (it compels us to take action). 
  3. Some of us are by nature more easily inspired than others.  It comes with along with a mixture of personality traits. 
  4. We can't force inspiration but we might just be able to create the right environment to let it thrive.

I'm going to run with my roller-blind inspiration and get some of my myriad of tasks ticked off my list today. My challenge to you?  Think about what last inspired you, harness that thought, take it and run! Go get inspired. 

*The luxury of a slow morning and a cup of tea in bed was compensation for spending the hour between midnight and 1am consoling and cajoling a super fractious three year old who, after an hour of not much success, ended up in bed with me for the rest of the night.  Kids eh?

You can see it's going to take a little more than just inspiration....