Recently, I shared with you my thoughts on what inspiration is and how it can be found. I want to take you through some of the places I have found inspiration. Whilst I admit that there are a million places to find inspiration, I share with you ten of such that have worked for me and other people I have had the pleasure and privilege of learning from.
- SETBACKS – Everybody likes to remember the good old days and the things that brought us joy the setbacks. Much as our setbacks bring with them frustrations and disappointments, they can be the perfect place to find inspiration. Instead of feeling a loss of enthusiasm, embrace each failure as an opportunity for growth and development. Soon you will find the right and perfect way of getting things done as said by Thomas Edison,“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Setbacks are not destinations, they are simply bumps on the road. Take a look at some of your recent setbacks and you will find some inspiration that can propel you to success and relevance to your generation.
- PEOPLE : Society makes room for the stories of people who either experienced success or spectacular failure and in those stories we can find nuggets of inspiration to kick start the next project. In the success stories of other people you will find possibilities, ideas that can transform your life and that of others. In the stories that tell the failures of others, you get a rare opportunity to learn lessons with the investment of self, time and resources. You can find inspiration from biographies and autobiographies, blogs and journals – stories laden with inspiration are all around us. Recently I was inspired by the story of a child slave turn serial entrepreneur on the radio. His words taught me a lot of things about life and how to rise from a position of seeming disadvantage to a place of success and benefit to society. In the twenty-first century, information is readily available on a variety of platforms and one can find inspiring stories from recent times as well as history with relative ease.
- MUSIC – I learnt that by broadening my taste in music, I exposed myself to possibilities. Music has a way of lifting you emotionally to a place where your thinking is clear and fluid. Once upon a time I cared less about Classical Music until I chanced on a a compilation of the Great Composers from Bach, Handel, Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven in a London music shop in the UK. The entrancing power of music from songs played with a single stringed traditional Chinese Guitar has brought me many moments of inspiration. Music irrespective of genre and style has the power to engender inspiration. A good friend of mine prefer to listen to hymns when he feels overwhelmed and want to get some inspiration. Playing a musical instrument can also help you find inspiration. I have been trying my hands at playing the guitar and piano and I can tell you my progress has been quite abysmal but anytime I sit to play I walk away refreshed and inspiration finds me easily.
- NATURE – Ghana is blessed with beautiful beaches, hills and mountains, lakes and waterfalls that are sure to inspire you. Taking a walk on the beach or just watching the waves crash onto the shore will sure bring you epiphanic moments. The hills and mountains also hold enchanting powers that will set your mind floating away in awe. There are many places around you that can provide you an escape to a place where your creativity and clarity of thought can be unleashed. Have you ever watched the sky on a starry night or when the full moon is up? Try it sometime and you’ll be amazed the creativity it will release. Next time you need a place to find inspiration, don’t look too far – nature can help.
- CHILDREN – Watching children play and interact with each other in bliss and innocence is such a revelatory experience. The careless abandon with which children play for me shows the possibilities that exist once we are convinced that all is well and we have no need to be anxious. I have always loved the company of children, growing up and now more so since becoming a father. I always look forward to playtime with my two sons because they give me a boost that life can be fun. I have had a number of EUREKA moments from conversations with my boys and other toddlers.
- GOOD COMPANY – There is a transformative effect when we surround ourselves with like minded and very driven people. Peer pressure therefore becomes a force that propels us to greatness and not a distraction from the cause of our lives. Good company is important to spark great ideas that can lead to actions that change the world. Many think that great company is when you spend time with intellectuals but I believe it is when you invest your time in being in the presence of people who are driven by life’s many possibilities – those who interrogate on a daily basis what they could do to make this world a better place for all. Being in the company of creative people can release your own creative juices.
- TRAVEL – Last week I travelled with colleagues and listeners of 97.3 Citi FM to the Elimina Castle as part of the Heritage Month and I observed with interest the life of some fisher folk who had docked near the Elimina port. I was taken by the brief observation of their life that I was purposed to visit them again and make a documentary film about their life and community. Stepping out of your environment exposes you to different cultures and traditions and history of places and things. This broadens your the scope of your minds eye and can make a difference in what you do in your life. The well travelled mind is a wealthy mind.
- SOLITUDE – Solitude is a great thing when it is spent not out of anxiety and depression. A life lived with moments of solitude is a fuller life. If you cannot spend time with yourself and allow your mind to float away with a notepad within reach, you may pass many opportunities to express creativity with profundity. Be aware of inspired moments that happen as though they were by coincidence. Remember Archimedes was inspired to develop the theory of relativity while alone in a bath tub and the concept of gravity was knocked into Isaac Newton’s head while he sat under an apple tree.
- PHOTOGRAPHY – Photography is a great pastime which inspires me always. I have have many epiphanic moments behind the lens – even during commercial photography assignments. You don’t need an expensive camera to make great photos. Being absorbed in photography can unleash a great creative force for good.
- ART - I recently discovered a new way of finding inspiration – making art. At the mention of the word art – many think of the viewing and appreciation of art. However spending time to make some art – whether its playing with some crayons or doodling on a piece of paper or making clay figurines, art always has a calming effect on mind and body allowing for creativity to flow easily. In some cultures, art is used as a means to facilitate brainstorming sessions for top level managers.
It is my hope that you start looking for ways to generate inspiration and join me in the quest to leave a solid mark on our world. It’s our time! It’s all in you and I!
Till the next edition of The Rainmaker Diaries…
Go Forward! Make Rain!