Inspiration is overrated. In fact, you don’t have the right to tell me that you’re inspired.
Tech entrepreneurs search Hacker News for inspiration, while others take to watching TED Talks religiously. Let’s try it. Want to be really inspired? Watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech from 2005. Read Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. Go on, I’ll wait - they’re both actually pretty great, two of my personal favorites.
Done? Sufficiently inspired? Great. I’m sure your life is significantly better – I bet you can feel it already, the inspiration coursing through your veins. Maybe you can share the link on Facebook! Email your buddies! Make a quick tweet with a quote:
So inspired… Stay hungry, stay foolish. youtube.com/watch…
You’ll get a retweet and a favorite! Your friends will love the quote. It’s all bullshit. Posting the quote and telling your friends gives you a dopamine high, that temporary feeling that you can take on the world–hell, you’re on top of the world.
But that’s it, you’ve peaked. You’re done. Congratulations. All that inspiration amounts to a big zero in your life, because nothing really changed.
Instead, next time you feel inspired, take a step back and think about what it means for you, what you want to change in your own life. You might get a new idea or get a new perspective. Don’t let it all go to waste by focusing on the feeling of “inspiration.” Go act on it. Quit the job you despise from 9 to 5. Tell your significant other that you love them. Build that thing you’ve always wanted to. Choose to be an artist instead of a doctor. Be resilient. Be thankful. Whatever it is, go do it, now.
Inspiration isn’t that high you get when you feel on top of the world. It’s what you do after. That’s inspiration.
P.S. I have a collection of quotes that I try to live my life by. They really do encompass my values, and I measure my decisions based on them. You can find them here if you’re curious.
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