The sounds of the sea. Crashing waves. Sitting at a cafe’ and people-watching. Bus-rides. Make-up and nail-art tutorials. Fashion shoots. Stories about people who with great courage overcame their deepest fears and difficulties. Compassion. Empathy. A brilliant idea. Music. Lyrics. Poetry. A thought provoking film. A good book. My best friends. My peers. My family. Bloggers. Those little details and observations in life that we miss if we’re moving too fast. Old abandoned buildings ripe with possibilities. An engaging speaker. An attentive and gracious host. A good sense of humour and a beautiful smile. Simple yet effective design and marketing. Captivating illustrations. Watching a dancer or someone who is involved in sports express what the human body is capable of. The mysterious ways of the moon. Travel. Other cultures. Exercise. Learning. Doing something for the first time. Helping others. Life.
The list can go on and on.
There is no fixed formula for inspiration, although most would agree that when it hits you, you have to contain it there and then before it fades away. It’s almost like that dream that seems so vivid when you wake up but you can’t seem to recollect when you want to share it with someone else.
This week I embarked on a ‘little’ project which I have been long thinking about but never got around to starting. I was motivated to finally give this project the light of day, because (1) I run an inspiration blog after all, and (2) I am entering this blog post in a competition for the chance to win a scholarship at the Blogcademy in London next month. Blogging, writing, media and journalism mean a lot to me and inspire me to inspire others. I want to turn my dreams into reality by investing time, money and energy into my passions. I believe in working hard and making sacrifices but sometimes I get side-tracked and focus on making a living instead of making a life. I have spent money on a web design course which I attended all summer up to mid-autumn. I’m also practicing with my camera and video editing, and I just got a photo shoot done. I’m currently shopping for a new laptop too. These are exciting times and I think attending the Blogacademy would be the cherry on the cake. The speakers at the Blogacademy are three of my internet heroes and the chance to meet new people who are also looking for inspiration is also tantalizing. Community and collaboration are great sources of inspiration. To get the chance to sit in a room with passionate individuals from different countries and backgrounds and discuss the same topic but with different views would be a dream come true!
In order to make this happen I asked my friends to answer the question “What inspires you?” either in words or any other medium of communication. I left it open on purpose to make it easier for them to answer. However, I was discouraged to find out that many could not actually answer this question. Most of my friends said it took them a good few minutes to think about it. Others were embarrassed to talk about what truly makes them tick. So I put people into a role-play situation. I told them to imagine that they were being interviewed for their dream job; a job where they can express their ideas/talents and achieve their dreams. Then I asked them to imagine that at the end of the interview, the HR Manager asks this simple yet surprising question which they were not expecting: “What inspires you?”.
These are some of the answers I got:
I guess the reason why we find it hard to identify what inspires us, is because it is not a question we ask ourselves often. No matter how hard I prepare myself I often get stuck when HR Managers ask me that kind of question in an interview. In HR lingo, these are called behavioral questions. They’re called behavioral because they often address your actions in a particular situation (“Could you describe the greatest challenge you ever experienced in the workplace and how you handled it?”) and some are just to gauge how creative and sharp you are (“If you were an animal what would you be?”). I know HR managers ask these questions because job interviews are the crappiest part of their job and so they want to torture us, but we shouldn’t totally disregard them. If you’re reading this post, I urge you to get a pen and paper and write down all the things that inspire you and hang it up somewhere you can see it and be reminded of what sparks your life. Don’t worry if you’re not really aware of what inspires you. Just leave the paper blank and every time something ‘sparks’ you, write down the who, what, when and where of your Eureka moment. You should especially do this if you’re feeling ‘stuck’ in life and want to start a new project or continue one you’ve left on the back burner.
I hope to help others in finding their spark through this blog and this ‘inspiration’ project. Whatever happens with the scholarship, I’m glad I got people interested in the topic. I’ve also had a few enlightening conversations with friends who felt ‘stuck’ answering the question. Some local creative community people also expressed interest in answering the question in an interview setting. I’m pretty excited about that as I can turn this into a neat monthly feature where readers can get inspired too. Thank you all so much for your input, especially to those who have took the time to thank me personally for the content I’ve posted in the past and to encourage me to keep on blogging. Hope you all have a lovely festive season!
Sending lots of sparks & sparklers your way,