The Search For Inspiration

Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith shares his best advice on how to find and ignite inspiration.


We all want to feel inspired in our lives, and it’s good to get into the habit of seeking inspiration rather than expecting it to find you.

As a writer, I am always looking for new things to write about. The ideas that come seemingly out of nowhere are always the best, of course. I love writing from that place where my heart and head are one and the ideas just flow like a Zen waterfall.

But that’s not an everyday occurrence. Like most people, I usually have to look for inspiration — creating from my experience — not because the mood has simply swept over me.

If you want to succeed in life, you can’t always wait for one of the daughters of Zeus to come knocking on your door, saying, “Hi, I’m your muse and I’m here to inspire you.” You need to kick-start your own creativity through whatever means necessary.

Sometimes it takes walking outside to take in the great view, breathing in fresh air and letting my imagination wander. Other times I may be sitting in front of the TV. I can be moved by what the world is going through, and the words just pour out of me. And there are also those times when the ideas just aren’t there, and I have to work harder to find inspiration.

One method is not necessarily better than others. But I do find that inspiration and perspiration work hand in hand. I rely on both.

If I need to work at my creativity, I know it’s not a bad thing. Although I may procrastinate a little, the job will eventually get done. That’s because I know I will complete the tasks I take on. I believe in my ability. When I see something is beyond me, I move on to something else. I have learned from experience that sticking with my strengths makes my life better, and I learn new things every day that keep me on this path.

If you want to succeed in any venture or project, you have to take whatever steps you need to get there, even if you don’t want to. You have to put one foot in front of the other to achieve success. This applies to everything from writing the Great American Novel to doing the dishes. If you just start, you can be done before you know it. Legend has it that Jack Kerouac wrote “On the Road” in three weeks. Now that’s inspiration!

Here is the key to making new things happen. Know that you have the ability to achieve what you want. Finding inspiration and having confidence in yourself is what you need to get started. It all happens in your head, and you have more control over the results than you know.
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If you start with an idea, you will be surprised at how it can come to life.

There are only three steps all great creatives, from Mozart to Disney, take. They see it (or hear it) in their heads, they believe in it and in themselves, and they create it. It takes a combination of desire, discipline and determination. You have it within you. I invite you to get it out and make it happen.

(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)

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