Well, the holidays are upon us—it’s the middle of December and the population seems to have doubled. I’ve been avoiding the shopping malls but I know it’s inevitable for many, so I wish you short lineups and kind salespeople. This year, my family decided to do a DIY Christmas, and I have to say I’m thrilled about it. It can be hard to feel original when you’re surrounded by people purchasing the very same toy, tie or bubble bath. That same principle can be applied to the young professional: when so many young people are milling in and out of jobs and university programs, it’s easy to feel like a slice of white bread in a cheap loaf—a dime a dozen. But you’re better than that.
Inspiration, motivation, a muse—whatever you want to call it—is something we can all reach for and obtain. Sure, I’m talking about abstract concepts as tangible items, but they’re just as available to you. A book, a series of pictures or even another human can be the spark that lights your fire within: when we’re motivated, we set the bar higher for ourselves, without getting distracted by the desire to procrastinate or play Mario Kart (nothing against the latter!). We feel a force within ourselves, that is indeed as powerful as the more famous Force, or even Shwartz (if you recall one of the greatest films of the modern age, Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, liquid Shwartz is an impossibly bright gold fuel that powers a whole spaceship!). That’s how I picture pure inspiration—magical, golden energy that hits you and shifts you from Neutral to Drive.
An inspired person lives on a higher plane of existence. They tend to have a sparkle in their eye, a look that says “I have ideas, and I’m more than capable of putting them into action.” Who wouldn’t want to hire someone with a visible sense of confidence and capability?
It’s not always easy to find inspiration when you’re unemployed, or even at a job you already have (humming fluorescent lights; grey walls; people’s faces lit eerily by their monitors). Whether you have a big, empty wall to pin things up on or an idea board to keep encouraging images on, start motivating yourself by means of inspiration. It can only help you move onward and upward.
In my personal office, one wall is dedicated to inspiration, and a comfy, old chair sits opposite. If I’m feeling stuck, frustrated or lazy, I can let my mind wander, thoughts floating out and occasionally bumping into the positive energy that comes from an item on my wall. I have everything from an infographic I designed for a local institution; hilarious postcards from my cousin’s travels; my own artwork that would otherwise be tucked away in a folder; a set list from my first Peter, Bjorn and John concert; a small Feist poster—you get the idea. When I focus on my wall, I am overcome with ideas that make me happy: my own successes, music that makes me feel alive, funny memories and beautiful images.
If you don’t have a wall to post on, you can make as many digital pin-up boards as you want for free on Pinterest. You could make a board for different “genres” of inspiration, or create one massive, eclectic, virtual board to overwhelm you with musings, ideas and courses of action. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the world is your oyster, but it’s up to you to find the proverbial pearl. More often than not, the best way to achieve greatness is to follow your own inner drive. I will leave you with a seasonal message from Dr. Seuss, with a twist:
It comes without ribbons, it comes without tags.
It comes without packages, boxes or bags.
Inspiration isn’t something you can buy in the store.
Inspiration, it seems, means a little bit more.
Season’s Greetings, everyone!