Inspiration is a beautiful, yet cruel, mistress, wouldn’t you agree? Perhaps not. For each person’s inspirations are different, as of course, each person’s aspirations are different. Part of what makes us all unique individuals I suppose.
For me, inspiration is a harsh, cold-blooded bitch who flits in and out of my life whenever she sees fit. She knows I am her slave, and without her I am no more productive than an ant separated from the colony. Yet, when I am enveloped in her clutches I become as powerful as a sun-soaked Kal-El, ready to swoop down and take on all comers.
What is inspiration? Well according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, inspiration has four definitions, but disregarding the act of inhalation for which the word inspiration can be used as a synonym, all of those variations tie directly into its most common definition:
a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.
b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.
c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.
In essence the above, is simply three different ways of saying the same thing depending on your outlook or the nature of the inspiration an individual has received.
We as human beings can be inspired by all manner of things, from texts written down in our various Holy books to the deeds of other human beings. Often, people are inspired by such things due to a desire to emulate their inspiration, whether it be the humility and piety of Jesus Christ to the all-conquering footballing ability of Lionel Messi. One thing that remains true though, no matter who or what influences you, is that people cannot choose that which inspires them. For some people, the speeches given by Adolf Hitler are rousing, inspirational calls to duty whereas to others they are mindless drivel spouted by a racist with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. The actions of Nat Turner inspired slaves across the Deep South to revolt against their masters, whereas to others Turner was a trouble-maker making life worse for the subservient “loyal” Negroes.
I myself, find inspiration difficult to come by. Perhaps it shows how far removed from reality I am, that I find more kinship with historical and fictional figures than I do with much of the living. I am often inspired by those in the sporting world, but due to several medical conditions, and a woeful lack of talent such aspirations are as mythical as unicorns. Perhaps it is merely ego, but there are very few living people that inspire me. Even those that did several years ago have mostly fallen in my estimation of them. Why is this? I have no idea. Am I just a cynic? A misery-guts with a pessimistic outlook on the world, never focusing on others achievements, but rather only noticing their flaws? Does it even matter?
Anyone who knows me personally knows I am quite the misanthrope. It made the four years of my life I dedicated to becoming a rap artist an extremely difficult and trying time. Though the love of the art fuelled my passion and led me to explore avenues well outside my comfort zone, my misanthropic tendencies always held me back and a loss and inability to regain inspiration ultimately led to my backslide into solitude.
Without inspiration, the life of creative is that of one living within a void. There is nothing there, you are alone, floundering, attempting to reach out for something you cannot see, feel, touch, taster nor hear. There is nothing you can do to rectify the situation, as any self-respecting creative knows that forcing your way through a dry spell only leads to drastic dip in quality and often a dip in self-confidence that comes with seeing your standards lowered.
In my experience I have found, that there is a sole way out of this trap. Self-inspiration. Learning to inspire yourself is an essential task for any creative, especially one that suffers with a lack of stimulation such as myself. Immerse yourself in your own creativity. Become your own favourite artist, rapper or film-maker. Love your own art. Once you do that, you find that there will be no need to take inspiration from the world as you challenge yourself to improve and constantly rise higher.
Lastly, I feel that I should share the five people who inspire me most on this planet. Nathan, Grace-Ann, Simone, Morgen and Asmara. In other words, my siblings. My sisters possess a work-rate that is incomparable and a single-minded dedication to progression. They let nothing deter them from what they wish to achieve and continue on, no matter how large the obstacle they face. My brothers have lived their lives according to how they wish to live with no apologies or true regrets. They never listened to voices attempting to dissuade them from what they pursue and continue to live like true men, according to their own rules as no man’s thrall, compromising their beliefs for nothing. I love those guys immeasurably.
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” – Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street)