I feel inspired at the moment.
I’m hopeful, happy, and full of motivation. A lovely sense of purpose and progress courses through my veins.
I say it’s ‘lovely’ because it makes a welcome change to how I sometimes walk through life…
It doesn’t take much for me to lapse into a state of lethargy! For whatever reason, my mind often takes me to melancholic places, and it sucks the energy and joy from the day.
If rumination was an Olympic sport, I’d be in contention for a medal.
Obviously, this hasn’t just miraculously stopped. I still regularly have days when I get into a mental funk.
But, for a while now, the general backdrop has remained overwhelmingly positive. More often than not, I can’t wait to wake up and start my day.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all feel like this, all the bloody time?! It would be a bit of a dream for me. Why?
Because I’m terrified of living an ordinary life. I want to live boldly, fully, and wring every ounce of possible experience I can from my days. That’s far harder to do when you’re down in the dumps!
The whole point of this blog is to help people (including myself) realize what they want from life. I want people to live the best life they possibly can.
Finding inspiration is a great place to start.
In fact, I can’t think of anything else better for galvanising positive change. But how do you go about cultivating and/or finding inspiration?
I thought I’d offer some thoughts based on what I find personally useful.
Read on for the current source of my inspiration in life, and, hopefully, some helpful ideas for discovering some of your own!
My Inspiration in Life: What Inspiration Means to Me
It’s like I said in the introduction:
More than anything else, I want to make the most of my life.
In a way, that is my ultimate life inspiration.
It’s why I’m travelling now, instead of sitting in an office. It’s why I’ve chosen life on the road, away from the comfort and security of friends and family, to do something a bit different. It’s why I’m working hours on end trying to grow this blog and make a passive income from it.
I want to free up time, push myself, and focus on projects and ventures that bring me joy.
Ultimately, I guess my inspiration in life is related to fear.
I’m scared of being on my death bed one day and feeling like I still have life left to live. Life is one enormous opportunity; I’m terrified of squandering it.
I see this as my macro-level inspiration. That’s what inspiration means to me.
(On the subject of goals, check out these 100 life goals to help find your aim in life)
At a micro, day to day, level, I get inspiration from all manner of sources.
I listen to podcasts from inspirational people. I read inspiring books by inspiring authors, about interesting and inspiring topics. Sometimes I just look around me and find inspiration in the world outside.
Each source of inspiration feeds into my ‘why’, and reminds me how I want to live.
Benefits of Meaning of Inspiration in Life
Why is inspiration so valuable? Here are some of the key benefits I think being inspired provides.
1. Positivity & Hope
It’s hard to feel inspired and negative at the same time.
To be inspired is to be stimulated. It pokes and prods and invigorates you into charting a course. Inspiration is energy! You can’t help but feel better about life.
Inspiration goes hand in hand with creativity.
And creativity is central to doing things differently. For me, creativity is about having new ideas, thinking outside the box, and living in a novel way.
It often takes a moment of inspiration to get there.
3. Hard Work
Nothing in life that’s worth doing is ever easy.
Everything from attaining fitness goals to career goals takes hard work to get there.
Sticking it out through thick and thin is tough.
Inspiration can spark and sustain the drive you’ll need to get through.
Having ‘drive’ allows you to keep your foot on the pedal, over time. You navigate the good and the bad and commit to a certain outcome without getting derailed by difficulty.
The meaning of inspiration can be revealing.
It can shine a spotlight on hitherto unrecognised aspirations. Being inspired catalyses action and slingshots you towards newfound purpose.
That’s no small thing! Meaning and purpose are vital to a sense of fulfilment and wellbeing.
Ultimately, inspiration leads to far better results.
It’s like walking through life with a jetpack on your back. You’re stoked to get going and exceed in one way or another.
There’s no limit to what you can do when you’re truly inspired to take action.
6. Antidote to Apathy
Apathy is toxic.
You walk around in a constant funk.
It’s a one stop shop to mediocrity and a subpar life.
Being inspired renders apathy obsolete. You could market inspiration as an instant apathy-killer. A bit like how it’s an antidote to negativity, it’s a cure-all for feelings of indifference too.
7. Incredible Life
All told, inspiration makes for an incredible life.
You’re energized, hopeful, and engaged; you’re instilled with a sense of purpose that drives action and overcomes obstacles.
Inspiration is anathema to ordinariness.
And to that end, it’s worth going to the greatest depths to find it.
Key Sources of Inspiration: Where to Find Life Inspiration
Searching for inspiration? The following sources should help stimulate it.
Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes it jumps out at you unexpectedly. Other times, you have to work hard to mine it from nothing.
Hopefully, the following sources of inspiration will help you find it in your life.
1. Thought Exercises
Thought exercises can be a remarkably powerful way to spark feelings of inspiration.
There’s one in particular that I think about a lot. It goes something like this:
Imagine being on your deathbed at the end of a long life. You’re lying there, preparing to die, when a magical being approaches.
They tell you they’re going to turn the egg-timer of your life on its head, such that you’ll live it over again from scratch, in exactly the same way, from start to finish. From birth to death, you’ll live the same life again. This process will repeat again and again for the rest of time.
What feelings are evoked from the idea of living your current life over and over again?
If it’s positive, and you can’t wait to get back into it, then that’s a good sign! You’re obviously doing something right. But if it feels like a punishment, then it’s a clear warning sign.
You’re obviously living a life you’re unhappy with.
This realisation can be a powerful catalyst for change. It can inspire you to take action and do things differently.
It’s all too easy to pretend we’re going to live forever.
Why else would we settle for a mediocre life?
The thought that I could die tomorrow, or be diagnosed with a terminal illness, is one of my greatest motivators. I want to at least try and make the most of my time.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it isn’t always this black and white.
Life can be truly unfair and deal people an almightily bad hand. Your current circumstances may only be down to force of circumstance.
Even so, if there’s any wiggle room for improvement, then I think it’s worth exploring.
When I think of wasted time I think of going through the motions. Time goes so damn fast! It’s a limited resource. I want to milk it for all its worth.
Struggling for inspiration? Stop and really consider that you might die soon. If that doesn’t work, then think about someone you care for dying!
This one is big for me.
Like I said earlier, I think a lot of my life inspiration comes from a simple fear of missing out.
I’m scared of leaving money on the table! I want to live differently. I want to push myself to have extraordinary experiences. I want to be the best version of myself I can possible be.
The fear of failing in this pursuit inspires me to try even harder.
What are you scared of? How can you use it to fuel your journey and enhance your life?
4. Deciding Your ‘Why’
Your ‘why’ is a key player in feeling inspired and maintaining drive.
It’s not what you do. It’s not how you do it. It’s why you do what you do.
I could say that mine is living the fullest life possible. That’s what drives me to certain actions and guides my decision-making.
In this way, having a ‘why’ serves as an invaluable north star.
It’s your ‘raison d’etre’. It’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning; the thing that drives and motivates you forward.
Pinpointing your ‘why’ is a direct method of cultivating inspiration.
It’s a central ingredient to feeling truly inspired for the long term.
5. Taking Action
Inspiration is nothing without action.
It might feel nice.
But by failing to act upon inspiration, you do yourself a major disservice. Nothing objective changes.
Ironically, I’ve found taking action can spark inspiration too. It is cause and effect of inspiration rolled into one.
Struggling to feel inspired? Do something that resembles progress. Growth stimulates a feeling of inspiration like nothing else.
Go for a run. Go to the gym. Learn a new dish to cook your family. Start a journal. Create a business plan for an idea you’ve had. Heck, it might just mean doing the dishes, or mowing the lawn!
I can relate to the power of this approach.
At the end of last year I came out of a long term relationship. I was devastated and lost literally all motivation. I didn’t want to do anything at all. Everything seemed totally pointless.
I watched a YouTube video on heartbreak (pretty tragic, right!?). In it, this guy talked about the power of taking action and feeling a sense of progress.
I decided to buy a new domain name and get started planning a new blog.
I designed a logo, made it on the computer, and set about the task of establishing a new website. That was the origin of What’s Danny Doing!
It wasn’t smooth sailing. There were major ups and downs. But it was a useful distraction, which led to further action, and additional positive decision-making.
Now I’m here, 8 months later, feeling more inspired than ever before.
6. Time and Isolation
When was the last time you sat down by yourself, in silence?
…Being asleep doesn’t count!
I reckon spending time alone and with no external stimulation is key to a healthy mind. It definitely seems key to self-awareness. After all, it’s in these moments that you learn about yourself.
You get to see where your mind goes. You can hone in on how you’re truly feeling.
Life is full of distractions that make it hard to do this.
We need space to think. We need time and silence to be creative and come up with ideas.
I find that spending time alone, in stillness, with nobody else around, and simply ‘being’, can be enough to stimulate self-discovery and true inspiration.
7. The Internet and Social Media
Okay, those are the deep and meaningful sources of inspiration behind us!
On to some more tangible ways to find it.
The first? Social media.
I’m actually not a big fan of social media. I think it’s a massive time drain, which works against my desire to make the most of my days.
However, it’s obviously an incredible tool for connecting people around the world.
You can also come across some truly inspiring people. Used in the right way, you can discover amazing individuals and ideas that trigger positive change in your life.
Some influencers do it right. They seem genuinely passionate about inspiring people and bettering lives. Tom Bilyeu, Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo and David Goggins are four examples I recommend checking out.
The internet is one of my primary sources of inspiration.
It’s an absolute treasure trove of it. You have instant access to some of the world’s most inspiring people ever! You can literally bring these individuals into your life, by virtue of the web.
I listen to podcasts and watch interview-type videos of this nature (on YouTube) every day.
It’s almost unbelievable to think that the greatest and most inspirational people of our generation (and history) are at our fingertips.
I recommend mining this resource for all it’s worth in the hunt for inspiration.
I love a good quote!
It’s amazing how much power can come from a few well-chosen words.
Inspirational quotes are some of my favourites. The internet is full of them. If you’re short on inspiration, just run a quick google search and you’ll be inundated!
I’ve found it personally useful to commit some to memory.
Here are a few of my favourites:
“Live life such that the fear of death can never enter your heart” – Tecumseh
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” – Anais Nin
“Throw yourself into the river of life and let the questions disappear” – Buddha
“I will not die an unlived life” – Dawna Markova
I find having a quote or two to draw upon can make a big difference when inspiration is in short supply.
9. Books, Videos & Films
You find inspirational books, videos and movies everywhere you look.
They can be truly awesome sources of inspiration and motivation. The movie ‘Rocky’, for example, is probably high on the list for lots of people!
I’m a little cautious of relying exclusively on these sources though.
They can provide a short, sharp burst of inspiration. But it’s often short-lived. I read or watch it, and feel pumped up to make some positive change.
Then, within hours, I’ve forgotten about it!
That said, one or two of these sources have had a lasting effect on me. One book of this nature that I read recently was called ‘Can’t Hurt Me’, by David Goggins. If you’re looking for an inspirational read, then I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Click here to check it out.
10. Friends and Family
Sometimes you don’t need to look too far for inspiration.
Friends and family can hold all the answers you need.
Look around you to see what they’re doing. Where are they excelling where you aren’t? What can you learn from them? How can you gain from their example?
I actually find it easy to get disheartened when I feel like I’m somehow ‘doing worse’ than my peers.
I try to pinch myself and take the positives instead. Use it as fuel for the fire and see how you can emulate the success of high-achieving friends and family.
There’s inspiration to be found in nature as well.
Try and get out into the great outdoors every now and again.
I find natural beauty inherently inspiring. Mountains, forests, grassy plains, rivers, lakes and oceans…It doesn’t matter.
Something about these places sparks creativity and reflection. The natural world can be so profoundly beautiful that it’s difficult not to feel inspired by it.
Nature also provides a reprieve from the fuss and hubbub of ordinary life. It’s simple, quiet, and wholesome. That break from the norm, and step back from stress, can be enough to help rediscover passion and motivation.
How to Act on Inspiration
Finally, having struck upon inspiration, let’s turn to what to do with it.
Remember, inspiration is a powerful thing! But without action it’s almost worthless.
Don’t let it go to waste. Here are just a few of the ways you could use inspiration to your advantage by doing something with it.
1. Draw Up a Bucket List
Take that inspiration and draw up a long list of things you have to do before you die.
Think about every single area of life.
Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Who do you want to meet? What do you want to achieve?
Write them all down and commit to ticking them all off. Having a bucket list is great way of realizing your priorities and highlighting changes you must make in your life. It’s the ideal way to channel your inspiration.
Here’s my personal bucket list, if you want to take a look!
2. Goal Set
Next up, goal-setting.
This is similar to writing down your bucket list.
However, there’s something more realistic about setting goals. Bucket lists are about dreams that’ll happen at some point in time. They’re more about experiences and encounters than making progress.
Goals are about objectives and forming actionable steps to make them happen.
Channel your inspiration into establish a set of goals for yourself. Treat it as a business plan for life. As yourself these questions:
What do you want to do?
When do you want to do it by?
How will you do it?
They could be travel goals. They could be career goals. They could be personal goals, relationships goals, or fitness goals. It doesn’t matter! Just sit down and write them all out.
Goals help you turn vague, ambiguous thoughts and aspirations into concrete plans.
3. Start Small
With your goals in place, now it’s time to make them happen.
Don’t rush in, all guns blazing. It’s tempting to try and do everything at once.
Pace yourself instead! Take small, measured steps towards your overall aims. Inspiration can be fickle. It can turn on a dime and disappear overnight.
Trying to do too much at once can lead to overwhelm, which is sure to stifle your drive. Start slow and let your momentum snowball.
Sometimes you just have to decide to make something happen.
Think about anything you’ve ever done in your life.
It all started with a decision.
Being truly decisive means cutting off all other options. You burn your bridges and commit to a course of action. There’s no going back. You’ve cast your dice and you’re on the move.
Use the inspiration as rocket fuel to catapult yourself into a decision. Then don’t turn back.
5. Challenge Yourself & Persevere
Inspiration should always be put to good use.
The best return on investment is generally on tasks that will challenge you somehow.
On the other side of suffering lies greatness. But accessing it is sure to have trials along the way. Inspiration will help you chart the course and stick it out.
Cultivate inspiration, bolster your willpower, and do something incredible.
6. Memorize Favourite Inspiration
Feeling inspired is a learning opportunity too.
It’s a chance to reflect on why you feel that way suddenly.
Take stock of the situation. What exactly is it that inspired you? Moreover, what is your newfound inspiration compelling you to do?
Understanding what inspired you means you have a better chance of feeling that way in future. You can put yourself in the same situation, or around the same stimulus, once again. It might have been a solitary thought, film, quote, or conversation.
Whatever the case, write it down to refer back to in future.
Similarly, realizing what you feel inspired to do highlights your priorities. You might discover something new about yourself.
Time to Find Inspiration!
Inspiration is one of the greatest feelings out there. It’s one of hope, excitement, and motivation.
Everyone stands to gain by finding inspiration in their life. It inevitably leads to a more enjoyable, vibrant experience.
My inspiration in life is tied up in my desire to live as fully as possible. Hopefully, this post has highlighted some of the key sources of inspiration from which to find your own ‘why’- that North Star to lead you to an awesome life.
I’d love to get your thoughts. Where do you find inspiration in your life? Did I miss anything out? Let me know in the comments.
And please subscribe to the newsletter too! I’ll send through more posts like this to help inspire and motivate you to live the best life possible.