Be Your Best

Do you Know What Your Systematic Sources of Daily Inspiration Are?

by on Aug.19, 2016, under Blog Posts

Virtually all humans are creatures of habit.  We all lead tremendously predictable lives on a daily basis, with that occasional jolt of excitement or unknown emergency.  But this is not a bad thing — this simply is a balance of a couple of our basic ‘human needs’:  the balance of security/predictability with unpredictability/excitement.  Predictable and unpredictable.  We need both.  Just think about life with only one or the other!  100% predictability in life and life would be …. boring.  But 100% constant unpredictability, and what would happen?  You would probably fizzle out and melt down into dust (at a very early age), literally.  Constant chaos.

But something that I have identified that is absolutely critical to have as a constant on a daily basis in order to be as fulfilled and happy and successful as possible (regardless of how much security vs. unpredictability you have in your life), is: Inspiration.

Here is the dictionary definition of Inspiration: “The excitement of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity“

Whether you are a super regimented person, following a very well-scripted day, every day, with nearly zero surprises in life, OR you are a thrill seeker waking up every day not knowing if you are going to jump out of a plane skydiving, taking an alternative driving route to work every day — or anything in between, Inspiration is a key “fuel” driving happiness and success.

A Critical Fuel…Source

If inspiration is a fuel, then the source of that inspiration is worth spending time thinking about.  The reason is that having a “systematic” source of inspiration is a tremendous advantage for those as compared to people who get inspired, but in a random, by-chance way.  If we agree that inspiration is a critical fuel, you are well-served at spending time identifying what things really inspire you the most.  Write those down and don’t lose that list!!  THEN, think about what the source of those inspirational things is or what has to happen in order for those inspiring activities to happen.  What creates or causes that inspiring information/content?

The Process of Creating Systematic Inspiration

Example:  let’s say that you determine that collecting stamps inspires you.  Then, it would be interesting to know how often you are actually engaged in that activity.  3 or 4 times per month?  First observation might be:  I should put myself into that activity much more than 3-4 times a month.  How about 2x per week or more?  Then, you identify what has to happen in order to be engaged in stamp collecting 2x or more per week.  Write that information down, because it is right here in this process where you are identifying important barriers that must be overcome to create systematic and constant inspiration.  In our stamp collecting example, you might determine that the main time you engage in this activity is on Saturdays.  Why only Saturdays?  Maybe because that is when ‘most’ people engage in stamp collecting.

You get the picture here, and this is obviously a make-believe example, but the reality is that we all have important sources of inspiration that we are underutilizing, not fully aware of how powerful they are, and not fully tapping into.

Multiple Systematic Inspiration Sources

Not only is it important to identify the best sources of your inspiration, but it is also to ensure you have multiple ‘systematic’ sources of inspiration to tap into… 4 to 6 go-to guaranteed sources of inspiration is best.  Why?  Well, even those inspiring activities can get boring (too repetitive and predictable).  Being able to cycle among 4-6+ different sources of inspiration creates a freshness and unpredictability that you must balance with predictability.

For me personally, some sources of inspiration are: I love classic/old cars, reading non-fiction books on business or success, exercise and fitness training, writing, spending time with my wife and girls, volunteering, and home repair/upgrading.  I have more, but that is seven very important inspiring activities.  So, I look at how often am I engaging in these activities.  Anything less than 3-4 times per week — I would want to take a hard look at why?  Then, I determine how can I make these sources of inspiration happen more frequently, “automatically” or “systematically”?  The ultimate situation is where you have a bunch of these inspiring activities happening frequently daily, almost without having to even think about them.  They just happen.

The Biggest Hurdle

I know the biggest hurdle for most people is: “I can’t do many of my most inspiring activities very often because I have to work at my job.”  If this is you, then you have to get more creative about how you can fit these inspiring activities into your schedule.  This ‘I can’t’ thought process is a huge roadblock to installing more frequent systematic inspiration.  If you work 8-10 hours a day and sleep 6-7 hours a day, that still leaves 7-10 hours for installing more and more frequent inspiring activity.

Most of us have ‘dead’ time that we have built into our regimented daily agenda.  Try to locate these hidden time-wasting portions of your day and convert them into inspiring activity.  TV can be inspiring, but it may be sucking up a bunch of time and is not in your Top 10 most inspiring activities.  Procrastination can suck up a lot of time – filling time with ‘busy mindless work’.  A great technique is to combine two inspiring activities into the same time slot.  For example, exercise inspires me and classic cars inspire me.  To best utilize time and leverage inspiration, I read classic car magazines while I exercise.  Or I read or listen to non-fiction success books while I exercise.  Same can be done during lunch time.  Maybe listening to a certain type of music inspires you, and reading fiction books inspires you —- these could both be done at the same time over a lunch hour, even while you eat (if eating inspires you, then that is 3 inspiring activities at the same time)!

The key is to determine what your greatest sources of inspiration are and get those installed into your daily regiment and have them happen automatically.  Try it and I think you will see a big ‘boost’ in your enthusiasm and happiness and success.

Be Your Best,
Todd D. Gifford

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