If you’ve been procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed or just plain blah, a heaping dose of inspiration is just what you need to get the creative juices flowing again. You know that amazing feeling of ‘anything is possible’ that makes you feel empowered? Research on inspiration shows that there are things that we can do to cultivate this experience.
According to psychologists Victoria C. Oleynick, Todd M. Thrash and Paul D. Kieffaber, “inspiration is a motivational state.” Their inspiration scale indicates that “openness to experience” is the first quality necessary to experience inspiration. They also found that inspired people are less competitive, have a stronger desire to master their work and were intrinsically motivated. People who rated high on the inspiration scale reported higher levels of self-esteem and optimism as well as greater levels of spirituality and meaning (Why Inspiration Matters, Scott Barry Kauffman).
We can use the research of Oleynich, Thrash and Kieffaber to increase our own ability to experience inspiration and also to meet our goals. According to Scott Barry Kauffman of The Harvard Business Review, “Inspiration facilitates progress towards goals.” While we live in a culture and time that often underestimates the importance of inspiration, Kauffman writes that “Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations.”
Research on inspiration has shown “effort is an essential condition for preparing the mind for an inspirational experience.” In other words, if you set the intention to be inspired you are more likely to experience this state. Exposure to role models and leaders can also facilitate inspiration (Kauffman).
Below are seven habits you can cultivate to stay inspired, experience the most joy and make the greatest impact with your talents in the world:
1. Meditate. If openness to experience is the most important first step, it is essential to clear the mind to allow it to be receptive.
2. Collaborate. Collaborative people eliminate competition from their mind by seeing opportunities to build bridges and community.
3. Use affirmations. Self-esteem is an important component to seeing possibilities. When you feel good about yourself you start to believe that you can accomplish important things!
4. Find a role model. This doesn’t have to be someone who agrees to be a role model. If there is someone who you admire in the world, study them. When you feel down, read their advice, watch how they conduct themselves and feel yourself expand into an empowered mindset.
5. Travel. Seeing new sights broadens our perspective. This can be as simple as a day trip or going somewhere new in your town. When you experience new things you cultivate an open mind.
6. Take action. Goals and inspiration have a cyclical effect and influence one another. To continue feeding your inspiration, you must take action when it inspiration strikes!
7. Have a purpose. Being intrinsically motivated means that you are not looking for external approval. If you are working toward a great personal mission you are more likely to want to keep expanding beyond your perceived limitations and feel a sense of meaning each day.