The Well of Inspiration


One of the things I've always been fascinated with is the ability to inspire. In fact, inspiration as a whole is a subject that I have always been drawn to. And no, to dismiss the obvious, I'm not talking about the "fake" kind of inspiration here. You know, the cat hanging on and telling you to hang on poster? Or even the video a friend posts on your wall that they might have found to be inspiring, but you couldn't care less about. No, I'm talking about the punch in the gut, knocks you over, hits you by surprise kind of inspiration - the kind that everybody, whether they will ever admit it or not, seeks on a near daily basis.

The fact is, when we are truly inspired, we recognize and feel it almost immediately. And why is that exactly? Because it changes us. It impacts us. It draws us forward when a wall seemingly blocks our path. Finding inspiration isn't a common thing. We might seek it on a daily basis, but that doesn't mean we necessarily find it either. Yes, true inspiration is somewhat of a rarity - a treasure, so to speak. And when we happen to find it (or it finds us), there's no denying the effect it has. There's also no denying that if a place sold inspiration as if it were a product, people would be lining out through the streets.

So yes, I think we can all agree that inspiration is a generally positive thing. It gives us strength when we need it most. It allows us to form new ideas that perhaps might someday change the world as we know it. It's that voice that tells us to, "keep moving" when all we want to do is stand still. And most of all, it infects the people around us - inspiration can be very contagious. People have the ability to pass the torch that lit them to another person who might need it more. If they want.

The only problem with inspiration is... well, to put it quite bluntly, there's no well. There's no infinite supply of inspiration that we can just run our hands through and walk away from each day feeling renewed.  It makes sense though. Why would something rare be so easy to find? Why would it be so easy to obtain? You've heard all the cliche's in the book about life, so I won't throw another one at you... but we all know that the best things don't ever come easy. Inspiration is the same. Right?

...I think that's bullshit.

Why am I writing about inspiration? Because I think that everybody on this planet needs it. And if someone reading this, right now, this very second, is hungry for it... then guess what? I'm about to deliver it to you through the convenience of this note. But you're going to have to keep reading in order for that to happen. It's a risk - one that you're just going to have to trust me on and take. Ready? Any second thoughts? Good. Let's jump into it.

So there's not a well of inspiration that exists. I get that. Just like I get that there's not a fountain of youth or a sauna that magically erases student debt. But what I DO believe is that every person has some sort of "well" of inspiration that they draw from. Whether it's a person, an event, an object, a picture, a song, a place, a movie, a quote, an anything - it doesn't matter. Everybody gathers inspiration differently. Let me repeat that again because it's important: Everybody gathers inspiration differently.

You know what's the worst thing you can do with inspiration? You probably guessed it - waste it. The worst thing you can do when something truly inspires you is to dismiss it. Some people feel inspired and treat it like a runners high. Sure, they feel it and begin to use it... but the second they don't feel the inspiration or feel its potency leaking out, they stop moving with it. They stop carrying it with them. And suddenly, the well becomes dry. There's nothing in it. And here we are again, a vicious cycle, seeking inspiration just long enough to move us forward only a few feet just to stop in our tracks again.

Look, it's inevitable. If you wake up one day and something happens to make you feel suddenly inspired, you're not going to carry that momentum with you forever. It's going to decay over time and pretty soon, whether you want it to happen or not, you'll lose it. Dark thoughts, perhaps, but I'm not trying to be naive here - I know it because I've felt it. For instance, to throw my own life in as tribute... what's one of my goals? Well, I really want to become a successful writer someday. Now, do you really think that if I wake up one morning and feel inspired to do that, that feeling will last me all the way until I reach my goal? To you think that feeling I had that one morning will last me writing 315 pages?

Of course it won't. I could never possibly expect one thing to inspire me through all of that. Sooner or later, like everybody else, I'll hit a wall and I'll run out of steam. But here's where many of us, myself very much so included, make a mistake: When we lose inspiration, we often wait for it to come. It's almost as if it's this star that we're looking at and wishing on every night. And when we wake up the next day and it's not there or doesn't arrive, we get frustrated. And wish harder and harder until months have gone by and we have been sitting idly at our desk just "doing" life - not achieving and living it to its fullest potential.

This is why we must build our own well. This is why we must build something for ourselves that can contain those drops of inspiration. Something that won't let it dry out. Something that can allow it to grow. Something that we can look down at even during the darkest of nights and still see our reflection in underneath the moon light. That way, when we gain inspiration, it doesn't go away. We hold on to it. It becomes a part of our collection. And whenever we are thirsty for it, all we may have to do is drink it.

Wait just a gosh darned second... loop hole. "Kyle, if I'm drinking a bunch of this 'water', won't it run out sooner or later?"

I guess it's easy to think that way. But really, I think one of the biggest misconceptions about inspiration is that we seem to believe that it disappears once we use it. Which, it actually doesn't. That is, unless we allow it to fade away.

Think of a person that inspired you. A person that gave you the courage to do something. The words they said for you to do it. Or perhaps the action they showed that made you take the next step. All of that happened. And nothing or nobody can ever take it away. Even if the person isn't physically there anymore... how they inspired you remains eternal. And thus, the inspiration itself remains eternal as well.

That's why if you build your well in the right way, you can never lose the inspiration even when you're tapping into its resources. Those people or those things that inspired you - they will ALWAYS be there. Again, and this is so important... if you let them be there. If you hold on to the people and things that inspire you, all you need to do in order to feel inspired is take a second to look.

I get it - life is hard and there are some days where maybe we don't even want to be inspired. Maybe we've been kicked down so hard that all we want to do is lay there. I've certainly been like that, more often than I care to admit. But that's the thing about being resilient in life - no matter how much things might change or become crazy around us, we can still control what inspires us. Maybe we might not always feel intact.. that's all part of being human, after all. But don't let life drain your well. Don't let someone take what you built away from you. You've spent your whole life building something, so are you really going to let one thing or obstacle break everything down?

The relevancy and root of all this is that I'm learning this lesson currently in my life, and I wanted to share what I've learned so far. I guess what I'm trying to say is, a couple months ago, I thought my "well" of inspiration was completely empty and dried up. Which, honestly scared me because anyone who really knows me knows that I'm drawn to being optimistic and inspired at almost all times. It's my fuel, essentially. Well, I took the time to stare at what I thought was empty over the last few months of my life, and I've discovered that the only reason I couldn't see it before was because I had forgotten where I put it. And as I began to reflect and see the things and people in my life that have given me so much, I started to see the well fill up again. And each day, it gets a little deeper.

If you're looking for inspiration, there's a fairly good chance that you're already carrying it in you. All you need to do is shut up, sit down, and think. Breathe, take a walk and remember the people and things that have gotten you through to this point of your life. And then, once you start seeing and remembering, I want you to get excited. Because guess what? You'll keep finding more and more to add to your well along the way. Each day offers another opportunity. So get excited about tomorrow, but don't forget what's already there today...

In the end, we only get a certain amount of time to fill up our "well" of inspiration. For me, or you, that could be taken away at any moment. And our goal should to make what we build something that other people can use too. Inspiration is a communal act. If we have a way to help someone else, you better damn well find a way to do it. Now that's wasting inspiration - when you know you can help someone else, but refuse to do it. Use what you built every day to move you along in life, and help other people when they get stuck. We're all in this mess together, so why not make things easier by inspiring one another whenever an opportunity to do so arises? Don't waste inspiration - use it. And once you've used it, spread it to somebody else. And once you've done all that, and you're staring at the wall again... remember all the times you broke it down.

And then break it down again.