Inspiration: what is it and how do we get inspired?
London during the first lockdown
One of the things I noticed most during the pandemic was the lack of inspiration I felt. Without being able to go anywhere, see things, meet people face-to-face, something fundamentally was missing for me.
After all I live in inner London, not far from many museums, cinemas, restaurants, theatres and many cultural attractions. It was the oddest feeling to experience London as a ghost town. I missed the noise, the colours, the vibrancy, the life of this city. As much as I complain when London is packed - this was the opposite. Not a soul on the roads. Rather eerie.
Right at the beginning of the first lockdown I decided to drive into town and document the deserted streets and iconic shops. A little bit worried whether I'd be stopped by the police, I figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully this will NEVER ever happen again where we find ourselves in lockdowns.
The one thing I remember distinctly is the incredible weather we had during the first lockdown. That was like a gift. I mean going though a lockdown was hard enough, but the extraordinary weather seemed to make it a little bit easier for people. You can see the incredible sunshine in the photos.
1. Liberty Department Store, London
2. Apple Store, Regents Street, London
3. Regents Street, London
4. Regents Street, London
5. Selfridges Department Store, Oxford Street corner Duke Street, London
What makes us feel inspired?
It took quite a long time for me to feel even a little bit inspired again. I don't know whether I'm back to full on inspiration mode - I doubt I am. Have you noticed a lack of inspiration too?
For me, inspiration is the drive to learn something new, something more, something that I didn't know before. It has a lot to do with curiosity. So, when I'm feeling curious and looking for experiences, I'm open to being stimulated and inspired. This usually involves some kind of talk, podcast, intimate chat with someone, it can be a blog post, a book, a film, some art and so on. Something external, I suppose? That does not mean that I don't find a great sunset or a walk out in nature inspiring. I find self-care very inspiring and it makes me feel good. It's just that for me personally it has a lot to do with experiencing or learning something new...... truth is inspiration is a difficult concept to explain and understand.
During the pandemic, I was fine. Like many others, finding my feet, dealing with Zoom calls and generally just getting through it. The real lack of energy, zest and curiosity came after everything opened up again. I'm still not going to lots of museums or rushing about too much. I'm taking it day by day, trying not to overwhelm myself, but keeping a steady flow. Of course, everything in the news doesn't help, but I'm convinced we will all come through this better, stronger and with more zest for life than before. We need to practice patience and gratitude.
How do we get inspired?
That's where curiosity comes in. I believe that curiosity is crucial. The other part that is rather important is to have some kind of knowledge, understanding and interest in what we want to be inspired by. As an example, I'm not the greatest fan of abstract art. No reason, it just doesn't speak to me. So if I'm invited to go see some abstract art, I doubt I would come away feeling inspired. That's because I don't have enough knowledge, understanding or interest in it. There is no hook, so I will just glance blankly at the art and not really fully engage.
If you're someone who does not usually get inspired or even seeks inspiration, maybe try and connect with something you are interested in, but would like more knowledge of. I know this sounds like planning it - and yes, planning to be inspired is definitely a way forward. I'm currently actively looking for things to inspire me. There is no surprise. I'm consciously trying to immerse myself in unfamiliar situations, listen to experts talk on subjects I'm interested in.
Inspiration, despite what people might think, is a planned course of action. When I'm feeling down, one of my tools is to actively make the effort to get inspired. I literally try and invite inspiration in. Writers talk about inviting the muse in by showing up daily to write. I know that this is a great cure to my state of mind.
Have you ever thought about inspiration in these ways? Want some new and creative ideas - out of the box thinking? We've put together a bundle of Mapology Guides for anyone looking to start something or make something happen.