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Where Does Inspiration Come From and How to Find It

We all lose our enthusiasm, even confidence, and feel discouraged sometimes. At these times, we feel completely and utterly stuck. The absence of inspiration in the lives of people often results in irrational fear, anxiety, confusion, and sadness. Inspiration is the force that drives us to achieve our goals, makes us creative, and keeps us going when the going gets tough. How do we find inspiration and where does it come from? 

Inspiration comes from several sources: nature, religion, dreams, music, visions, and more. Different people find inspiration in a wide variety of things.  There is no one particular source of inspiration. It can be found anywhere and in anything in life.

Inspiration comes and leaves us, and it does so with no particular pattern, reason, or routine. Although we can position ourselves to be inspired, there is no way we can make inspiration randomly hit us. Knowing where inspiration comes from and how to position ourselves for it in life is an important matter. In arts, how do we find inspiration? Does inspiration come from within? Continue reading for answers to these questions and much more.

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Where Does Inspiration Come From and How to Find It

Inspiration is not a process that can be controlled and is often unstable, regardless of one’s station or field in life. It is like an ocean. It is in constant flow, with one wave rising and then receding. It comes sometimes when you least expect it and goes in little spurts of action. To the ancient Greeks, inspiration comes from the Muses, who are the goddess daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences. So, the question of where inspiration comes from is indeed a very old one.

Even today, many people feel they get their inspiration from the gods and goddesses. Some others feel their inspiration comes from nature, religion, music, history, dreams, and visions, amongst others. The mathematician Rene Descartes, scientist Kekule, and famous writer Stephen King, have all said they got their formulas, discoveries, and story ideas, respectively, from dreams and visions. To others, inspiration comes from outside themselves and they have no control over it.

Some scientists have tried to use the concept of neuroplasticity to explain where inspiration comes from. According to these scientists, the human brain can continue to form new connections and neural pathways even into adulthood. When you make the connections, your brain is restructuring itself to accommodate new processes. Our memory can sort and connect pieces of information based on their relationship with each other, the more ‘plastic’ our brain is, the more we can form creative and inspirational thoughts. To enhance a high level of plasticity in our brains, hence getting inspiration, they recommend that we do things that exercise our brains, such as reading, meditation, exercise, and playing video games.

Does Inspiration Come From Within?

Inspiration comes from within, and also from without. Generally, it is accepted that the best kind of inspiration is generated from within because it produces the best results and has the longest-lasting effect. We can get inspired by merely seeing a movie that “touch” us, reading an article, or hearing a story. These are considered passive inspirations. 

Getting inspiration from outside may make a person inspired for some time, but won’t drive action. Inspiration from within often makes us enthusiastic, think differently, compels action, making us take risks and create new ideas. An inspiration that comes from within makes us creatively utilize our ideas. This type of inspiration is also known as Intrinsic Inspiration which makes us create the world around us, instead of waiting for some external forces to put us in the ‘Aha! Moment.’ 

Where Does Inspiration Come From In Art?

Where Does Inspiration Come From and How to Find It

For an artist, inspiration can come from anywhere and anything. Any occurrence can inspire an artist, and since inspiration comes unannounced, many artists keep an open mind and are always ready to dive into that moment of epiphany. Whether in literature, music, cinema, painting, or sculpting, artists have always mentioned different sources of inspiration, some of which include:

Ordinary Experience

Many artists have said they were inspired during situations people will consider to be ordinary such as a sleeping child, a running automobile, traffic, and colors experienced during sunset.

The Environment

The natural and manmade environment has served as a rich source of inspiration for many artists. Many modern-day machines and buildings were inspired by the natural and constructed environment.

Inner Feelings and Imagination

By following their feelings and creating a very clear image in their minds, many artists have fleshed out many great works. The painter, Henri Matisse, is known to have given this answer as to why he pains: “To translate my emotions, my feelings, and the reactions of my sensibility into color and design.”

Search for Order in Disorder

The drive to make order out of disorder has been an inspiration for many artists. Thoughtful, deliberate designs and patterns fall under this category. Even an intentionally created disorder could have been inspired by real chaos.

How Do You Find Inspiration In Life?

Inspiration cannot be forced on another person. We all have to do our choosing and positioning to get inspired. For instance, a person who seeks inspiration to write can position themselves for one by reading the autobiography of a great writer, attending writers’ workshops, and going to a reading by a favorite author. Depending on the person, there are several ways to find inspiration in life. The following are how some people, generally over the years, find inspiration:

  • Exercising
  • Reading
  • Meditating
  • Listening to music
  • Observing nature
  • Traveling to different places
  • Getting involved in acts of kindness and charity
  • Working with children
  • Interacting with strangers
  • Learning a new skill
  • Following quotes of great people
  • Morning routines
  • Watching videos
  • Religion
  • Tackling obstacles
  • Overcoming fear
  • Documenting thoughts and ideas
  • Experimenting and exploring
  • Going beyond the comfort zone
  • History
  • Hardship
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