Inspiration is a tricky thing. It is fleeting, hard to describe, and impossible to fake, yet inspiration is the thing that comes to us on a seemingly fleeting basis to drop ideas, words, and themes into our laps. The trick is, they say, to realize when inspiration has struck and run with it as soon as possible.
I argue that inspiration is present in all of us every day. It’s not some invisible force that drops little care packages onto our desks when we’re not looking, but rather the exact opposite. Inspiration strikes when we’re actively looking for it and welcoming it. When you live your life present in the moment and proceed with an air of thankfulness and observation you will find inspiration in nearly everything you see.
The Gift of Inspiration
It seems odd to say this, but inspiration comes to me far too often for me to handle it as I would like. This isn’t because I’m a super genius or attuned to some magical radio station but just because I look around and think.
Inspiration doesn’t have to come in the form of an idea for a book/blog post/website, it can be an overall approach for how you handle projects and life as a whole. Inspiration can come from positive sources just as well as from negative ones; it’s how you frame the situation that matters.
My inspiration to be a better person and provide as much good in the world as I possibly can came from one of the most sad and negative experiences in my life. While I would give anything to to get a do-over and lose that inspiration and have the person back with us, the inspiration is how I honor their memory.
On a much more positive note, my latest round of inspiration comes from something that I’ve loved since I was a freshman in high school: a musical. More specifically the new musical “Hamilton.” This musical mixes modern rap and hip-hop with the tropes of classic broadway in a manner that I find captivating. If you haven’t listened to the soundtrack yet, you really need to. Even if you don’t like musicals, you seriously should give it a listen.
My inspiration doesn’t come from the musical itself however, but from its namesake, Alexander Hamilton. The life of Hamilton is one that I doubt the best writer could have come up with as a fictional character yet there he was, as big as life. The musical is based on a biography of Hamilton by Ron Chernow and is definitely worth a read.
Hamilton is an inspiration on many fronts. First, he survived a childhood that would wreck even the strongest of minds and not only survived, but thrived. He took that pain and loss as his own inspiration to be the very best and most impactful man he could possibly be. So much so that he was one of our founding fathers, the first Secretary of the Treasury, started the Coast Guard, and basically helped make the government that, for better or worse, we have today.
Hamilton’s voracious writing and reading is what inspires me the most. He had so much to say and share that it appeared at the time that he must write nonstop. He used the written word as well as his ability to turn a phrase and speak publicly to fuel our revolution and the eventual building of our government. If that doesn’t show the power of a word, I don’t know what does.
Hamilton came from literally nothing and by sheer force of will made himself into a man that while hot-headed and over-zealous, was one of the most important men in our nation’s history. He was so impactful that his widow Elizabeth dedicated the remainder of her life after his death in a duel with Aaron Burr to honoring him and showing the world how great of a man he truly was.
Today thanks to her actions and biographers like Chernow we have a much more positive image of Hamilton than was common upon his death. So much so that a hit Broadway musical can sign his praises nightly, and what better place for this to happen than in New York, Hamilton’s adopted home.
The fact that by reading everything he could and writing as much as was possible gave Hamilton the tools he needed to succeed inspire me to be better. To be a better writer as well as a better reader, too. Whether I’m writing something for fun or for one of my clients the idea seems to ring true that the written word is a far more powerful thing than we give it credit for. It can inspire as easily as it can destroy.
Just as a person should show a sense of importance when handling a weapon or other dangerous implement we too should show that same reverence with writing. A correctly worded sales pitch can work on the mind of the customer and convince him or her to buy from you just as well as Hamilton’s cries for freedom helped found our nation.
My inspiration from Hamilton is simple: there’s no excuse to not be better. Nobody sold a product or an idea by offering an excuse. By offering up the best possible writing I can muster I hope to give each and every client far more value than they pay for as to leave their business and the world a better place for it.
So what’s your inspiration? What gets you moving and working and trying to be better every day? Let us know in the comments and for once, we can make the comments section a place people actually WANT to read.