11.16.2014

3 Problems with Being Inspired


Every once in a while there's a moment where everything is crisp and clear. Where any self-doubt or external obstacle seems meaningless. Where you feel you can take over the world. That you will take over the world.

Inspiration.

It's the pits.

I mean, it's pretty wonderful, feeling limitless and empowered and energized and in control and all the things you hope to feel every day when tackling a big project or working out life. But it also brings with it some problems:

1. When he pendulum swings from great to awful
I was at a professional conference recently where I had these little fireworks in my head about all the things I'm going to do and become in my professional life. My pen and notebook couldn't keep up with the inspiration as I thought out plans and made lofty goals. By 25 minutes after the conference, safely back at my office in the realm of reality, I looked over my notes, only to be filled with an overwhelming dread. The fireworks of possibility had burned out and had left singed in my psyche holes that weren't there before. You can't see the world the same way again, but the world is the way it was.

When I was in high school I volunteered with a program in Mexico and remember talking with the program director about how great it would be to take these kids who literally found their homes and meals out of the city dump to my hometown, just to give them a taste of potential. The program director kind of sighed and said something like 'And life would go on as normal' - a comment I didn't really understand, but can identify with a bit. Like, life wasn't so bad before I knew it could be better. But now I know it could be different, can I be satisfied with the not so bad now?

2. With the rise of expectation and possibility comes the increase in risk and disappointment
Great doers of the world say all the time (or at least they are quotes often on inspirational boards) that going big usually means failing big. Joseph Smith said that 'a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary until life and salvation.' Robert F Kennedy said that "only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." Oprah Winfrey says "This is your moment."

Roll 'em all up (along with a hundred other quotes about how important it is to jump off cliffs before you can fly and all that crap) and there's a theme you get: If you want to be amazing, you've got to trudge through some mud first. And by mud I mean (they mean): lose money, disappoint people, hate yourself, be told you're wrong, be told you're anything but what you're trying to be, lose hope, wonder if anything will ever pay off, give your heart and soul for very uncertain outcomes.

Misery. You want it?

3. It all comes down to you
I don't know if I'm particularly prone to needing validation, or if it's common in the age of the internet forum, but I ask Google everything. How do I make sure my pie is venting properly? How do I start a conversation with a very wealthy person that I've never met before? How do I ask a person of great wealth for a gift of $10,000 or more? What are all the reasons daylight savings should be abolished? What is the best way to make sure my butt doesn't get all saggy the closer I get to 30? How do I make sure my marriage will last? Why are people selfish? Why are people generous? Blah blah blah...

There's an answer for everything, except: I want to be this person and do these things but I don't know if I have it in me- the time, energy, and personal capacity - to really live to my potential. How do I make it happen? How do I find the balance between striving and satisfaction? How do I know where my priorities should be? What decisions in life will I regret?

There's something really wonderful about the individuality of inspiration, but it's also daunting and frankly, obnoxious to see what could be and know that the only thing keeping me from all that could be is me - my desires, my will, my dedication to that inspiration.

So I'll take my inspiration- personal, spiritual, professional, whatever. I'll take it and ask Google how to handle it (PS: Just asked and there's no answer to that question at the moment), and hopefully it propels me forward to something greater.


1 comment:

Trish Bratten said...

Very interesting thoughts. I can only add that by your 60's you realize many goals are no longer achievable; Billy said 40 was when he knew he would never be president of the United States.
Moral? Go for it!