How a Plan can Guide Your Passion
Inspiration is pretty useful. With it, we find the right words to write that paper. It can enable us to create great artworks, giving us insights that we could never have thought of on our own. It can spur you to finally take action when you thought you never could. At least, that’s what it does for me.
Law of Attraction
I don’t know if you believe in this or not, but I feel like the Law of Attraction plays big with inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that it’s like some sort of magic button where you think about what you want and then you instantly get everything you’ve ever wanted. I think we’re all wishing that were the case. But no, the law of attraction can be simplified to “like attracts like”. Meaning, if you have positive thoughts, you’ll attract positive things into your life. Likewise, if you have negative thoughts you will attract negativity into your life.
So how does this play into the whole inspiration game? Inspiration can put you into a “positive” mindset. How I feel this works out, or how it has in my life, is like so:
– I feel inspired
– I’m constantly thinking about my goal (slight exaggeration)
– I take action on ideas that come up while thinking
– Said actions lead to opportunities
– Take action when opportunity arises
– Get closer to goal
In practice, when I was first looking to become self-employed, I wanted to surround myself with people who were where I wanted to be. I wanted to meet other entrepreneurs and business owners and hopefully, find a mentor as well.
I then took action, in the form of going to events and places where I thought I might find such people. In my little mind, that meant getting up early and going to coffee shops, because “successful” people wake up early and go to coffee shops right? At any rate, eventually, I met the owner of the coffee shop I was frequenting and was able to learn from his insight.
I suppose the key here is to take action on your inspiration. That’s the only real way that the law of attraction is going to have any room to work. Taking action allows the inspiration to snowball because you’re giving yourself more and more opportunities to get small wins that will keep you going. If you get inspired, then promptly park yourself in front of a TV or any other weapon of mass distraction, the inspiration will disappear as fast as a box of donuts in a police station.
“But Alex, what about the Law of Attraction? I can think about what I want even if I’m being a potato!”
Yes, you can, for maybe half a second. A distraction is called a distraction because it takes whatever you were focusing on, and directs it to something else. Maybe you were thinking about how to get more gains in the gym, but then you looked down and were suddenly holding a bag of chips and a tub of ice cream (my two favorite snacks- true story). When you lose focus, you lose focus. There’s nothing complicated about it.
That sounds pretty practical. Did you explain all that just to say that it isn’t?
Not at all, sort of.
Taking action is super important. But let’s say you were inspired to fly. You wouldn’t just go jump off a cliff right? Practicality is the guiding direction for your inspiration. It’s what tells you to take flying lessons or to go hang gliding instead of jumping off cliffs.
Unfortunately, being too practical is also one of the forces that turns productive people into potatoes. The idea comes in; you get inspired, and then you think.
What if this goes wrong?
What if nobody likes my idea?
What if I’m actually no good at this?
There are a million what if’s you could ask and still find no answer. But they’ll always lead to inaction, which most certainly does not get you closer to your goal.
Even so, a bit of practicality (read: planning) can guide your inspiration to lead you to what you want. Take this scenario:
– Get inspired to become a champion fighter
– Take action by signing up for a local competition
– Get pummeled because you have no experience
– Never fight again
And this nearly same scenario:
– Get inspired to become champion fighter
– Do research, discover that a local gym has a former UFC champion training people
– Go sign up at said gym, express your goals
– Train under person who has done it before you
– Sign up for fight at recommendation of your now-coach UFC friend
– Dominate that fight!
– Compete more and more
– BAM! You’re a champion fighter
Inspiration is like a fire. If you are just starting the fire and throw large logs on it, you’ll just snuff out the fire. But if you build on it, start with smaller twigs and sticks, working your way up, you can end up with a real bonfire that can burn anything.
The one caveat with practicality is letting it keep you from taking action. In short, don’t take so long picking out “the right” sticks that you don’t build a fire at all.
How to Let Inspiration Drive Your Action
There’s a simple 5-step plan I typically follow when I get inspired to take action. Take them with a grain of salt. Steps may vary from person to person since no two lives are identical.
- Get an idea
- Now with inspiration, this will probably happen on its own, and maybe even at a not-so-convenient time. Just be sure to write it down somewhere, so you don’t forget it.
- Do some research
- Keyword here is some. And by research, I mean look into the idea a bit. Know someone who might be able to help? Give them a shout-out. Is there a book on the topic you’ve thought of? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, spend some time learning what you can about your idea before you bring it to the world.
- Develop your idea
- Ask around, gauge interest for your idea. You want to make sure it’s viable. Sometimes that means making a sale if you’re selling something. If people are willing to pull out their wallet and give you money for what you’re offering, then you know you’re onto something.
- If you’re idea is validated, then launch. No sense sitting on something profitable that people have already given you money for. In some senses, this step just means making your idea or project legitimate (i.e. legal filings, website, scale up what you’re already doing).
- Make corrections
- There’s a saying that entrepreneurs (creatives/artists/any non-standard path taker) are people who jump off a cliff and build a plane on the way down. You’ll make mistakes. It happens, and they’re super useful. Mistakes are the hammer and chisel that will turn your idea into a fine-tuned value machine.
Some things that may help are daily inspirations and gratitude reminders. Inspiration is notorious for dying out in somewhat a short period. That’s why I always say it’s good to get you to take action, and can push you to follow through with an idea. It’s like a fire, but maybe more like the fire of a match. It burns super bright, and keeps burning until the match burns out. What then right?
Each morning, review your goals. I’m assuming you’ve made your idea into a goal that you want to accomplish. Review it.
Then review what you’re already grateful for. Everyone has something to be grateful for. Even if you don’t immediately feel it, just review a list of three to ten things you’re grateful for. The idea is to get these things into the forefront of your mind. Eventually, you’ll start to appreciate more of what you do have, and not always focus on what you don’t have.
Let inspiration spur you to take action. Be practical with said action and do a little research first. Fuel your inspiration every day with gratitude.