Let’s face facts—life isn’t always a 24/7 upbeat and inspiring parade. We face hardships, we get bored, we get discouraged. Maybe we don’t love our job. Maybe we just don’t feel motivated or inspired by our current list of passions and goals.
And it can be really hard to take action or go after the things we want in life when we aren’t feeling inspired.
Instead of waiting and hoping for inspiration to magically come to us, what if we could call inspiration to our door whenever we wanted?
Inspiration Is What Gives You Life
It turns out that we can. Inspiration is what makes you feel alive, what makes you want to take immediate action, and what makes you want to jump out of bed, connect with others, and engage with life more.
When we’re inspired, we breathe life into the different projects and relationships in our lives. We get inspired to buy a gift for our friend or partner. Or we get inspired to take on an extra project at work. Or we get inspired to dance in the middle of the street.
Inspiration is the spark that prompts us to be more involved with life, and the fire that lights that spark is our passions.
When we’re passionate about something, it feels like we can do it endlessly, like when we’re having a passionate conversation until late into the night, or when we’re passionately playing videogames and just have to beat “one more level,” or when we’re passionately dancing at the club.
And we can actually map those passions to create a formula for inspiration to come at all times.
Even if you feel like you’re just not a passionate person—or that nothing really lights your fire—I’m calling your bluff. Every single person has things that make them come alive, things that turn them on to life itself.
You just may have spent so much time doing unpassionate things in your life that you’ve dulled your sensitivities to your list of passions. However, we can reignite that fire pretty easily.
We just have to explore what you’re sensitive to.
Passions Are in Your Sensitivities
When we’re feeling really inspired, it’s a lot easier to become inspired because we’re sensitive to inspiration and passion in those moments. On the other hand, when we’re not feeling inspired, it can feel nearly impossible to get there.
When we’re children, we’re usually a lot more sensitive to our passions than we are when we’re adults, simply because we get to do more inspiring things. It’s a lot easier to stay inspired when we’re playing games instead of paying the bills or driving in traffic.
However, that means that we can rediscover those passions pretty easily by starting with what we are sensitive to in life and then creating a list of passions.
Every single person has unique sensitivities that they’ve had since they were born. Some people are sensitive to music, and the right song can change their mood instantly. Other people are sensitive to freedom, and they start to feel trapped very quickly.
Sensitivities are the stuff we feel. They include our passions, but they also include our pain. So, if we’re not feeling particularly passionate, focusing on the passions we can’t access will only make us feel worse about ourselves.
Instead, let’s start with the stuff that kind of sucks.
Map Your Pain to Discover Your Passions
Grab a piece or paper or open up a Word document, and answer the following questions:
- What is one of the most challenging or frustrating moments of your life (that doesn’t feel re-traumatizing to think about)?
- What were five things you felt in that moment? (e.g. “I felt angry, disappointed, stuck, not good enough, and embarrassed.”)
- Now, flip it. What would you have rather felt in that moment? (e.g. “I wanted to feel calm, excited, motivated, worthy, and proud.”)
- Take the words from Question #3 and start listing out any time you’ve felt those words in the past. Did you feel them with any particular friends? Did you feel them playing any games or in any hobbies? Did you feel them doing any work projects?
- Start to notice patterns in the past and create a list of passions for the future (e.g. “I felt proud on the day of my wedding. Being connected to friends and family makes me feel proud and is a passion of mine.”)
How to Make a Foolproof List of Passions
It might take some finagling to modify those past instances of your sensitivities into present moment experiences. For example, you may no longer engage in that hobby, have that job, or hang out with those friends. So, as you start listing, be realistic about what will work for your current lifestyle.
The important thing to note is you’ve felt lit up in life somewhere before, and we can map the very sensitivities that make you feel alive and lit up, and then replicate that feeling.
Let’s say that one of the words you wanted to feel is “connected.” In the past, maybe you felt connected in deep conversations with friends. Even though it’s unlikely that you’ll have time or space for deep conversations with friends every day, you know that connecting with friends lights you up.
So, maybe you know that the second you’re feeling uninspired, you send a quick text message off to a close friend. It might not be the long conversation that happened in the past, but it’s sure to give you a little infusion of inspiration.
Or let’s say one of those words is “playful.” You remember feeling playing at the sandbox as a little kid. You’re probably not heading to the playground as an adult, but you know that no-pressure creative time is important to you. Next time you’re feeling uninspired to meet that deadline, you take an hour with your coloring books and then get inspired to finish your work.
Choose Three Things to Do Daily
You may—and hopefully do—have a long list of passions now. Take a look at the list and choose three things on it that you can realistically do every single day. These don’t need to be monumental things. In fact, it’s best if they’re super simple and practical to do daily.
Maybe you choose to dance for three minutes every day before getting in the shower to feel playful. Or maybe you start drinking chamomile tea every night to feel relaxed. Or maybe you start a morning to-do list to feel focused.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you can realistically do it daily, and it makes you feel some of those words.
The more often you do it, the more sensitive you become to the things that make you feel passionate and inspired, and the easier it is to become inspired at a moment’s notice.
The rest of the passions—that you aren’t committing to daily—become your reserve list. Any time you need a little extra boost, just take a look at that list of passions, and you can feel inspired any time you want.
Why It Works
The trouble with most passion and inspiration advice is that it’s pretty generic—and it may or may not work for you specifically. However, if we start with your sensitivities and experiences where you’ve already felt those sensitivities, then we have a proven formula that works for you specifically.
Instead of pushing yourself to be someone you’re not, it’s a lot easier to find inspiration in who you already are and what you’re already sensitive to.
If you’ve felt a lot of frustration or pain around isolation, chances are that you’re sensitive to connection and feel more inspired when you’re connected. If you’ve felt a lot of frustration or pain around feeling unsafe, chances are that you’re sensitive to it and feel more inspired when you’re safe.
So, if you’re feeling connected or safe or whatever you need to feel, then you’re going to feel inspired, and we can use that formula to build a life based around your list of passions and what lights you up.
Always Feel Inspired
Just like staying in shape, the best way to get inspired is to never get out of it. The less inspired we feel about life, the less sensitive we are to inspiration. The good news is that we each have our own unique sensitivities and passions for how we feel inspired.
If we make a list of those passions and keep it handy—and even do three things from it every day—then we have a foolproof formula for getting inspired at the drop of a hat, and we’re constantly becoming more and more sensitive to that inspiration every day.
Inspiration doesn’t require a certain job, hours of time, or even a certain amount of money. Even if we only have five minutes free a day, we can do things that we know put us on track for inspiration and new action. Because, when we’re inspired, we’re motivated to take new actions and start changing our lives for the better.
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Featured photo credit: DJ Watson via unsplash.com