Inspiration Is Not Perishable.
Inspiration Is Not Perishable.
(This post was written in response to the situation documented here: Learning Pains - JP)
Jason Fried’s saying, “Inspiration is perishable” is a cop out. Here’s the problem. With this mantra in the back of one’s head, it’s way too easy to easy to find an excuse to not finish a project, or substitute in a new exciting project. It’s too easy to give yourself permission to quit.
Inspiration is perishable ONLY IF YOU ALLOW IT TO BE. Or has everybody forgotten that feeling inspired comes from INSIDE YOU, not from the outside. It’s not like it’s some sort of screaming banshee who enters your body and motivates you to take your next shit. It’s an internal locus of control. You feel a connection so strongly to something that you are motivated to the task.
Two people can listen to the same speech and have two different reactions. One can be inspired and the other agnostic. What does that tell you? That inspiration, much like motivation, is an internal force that can be stimulated externally or internally. And you bet your ass I’ll pick the guy for my team with the internal stimulus over the external one any day.\ \ When people tell me that they want to act on their inspiration right now, I think great. But if it gets in the way of their original project, I think that they can’t control their motivation well enough to execute their original goals. Do they have to be constantly inspired to finish? What happens when their motivation for the new project runs out because of unforseeable complications? Will they still finish? It’s the last 10% of execution that matters most. Without it, you have an incomplete project. Read the caption above, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration…” Same goes for execution.\ \ Now I get the part about acting on inspiration right when you feel it. Sure, when you’re all reved up about something, you can channel that energy into a project. I’m doing that right now with this post. But don’t let inspiration conjure up new distractions. I get inspired a lot, but as my collegue JP once told me, “Don’t mistake passion for priority.” Our company, Reflect7 has done this a few times and we’re about to do it again. If I were to act everytime I get inspired, I’d get no where. A sort of inspirational A.D.D. where I would switch from one project to another. Inspiration can motivate, but if it’s your only motivation then good luck finishing something.\ \ I hear the points, “If our hearts arn’t in it anymore, the project will suffer.” OK, get your heart back into it. Realize why you came up with that project in the first place. At some point, you were inspired to do that project. Maybe you wanted to bootstrap your company. That’s why we started our iphone sports apps. Just because that goal is not saving the world, doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. In fact, if you want to help the world, bootstrapping your company may be the most important step to acheiving that goal. Then you free up your time to work on projects that fulfill your purpose. Which brings me to the title of my next blog post, “Legacy does not equal purpose.” But we’ll save that for tomorrow.
So don’t worry so much about being inspired. Think about all of the small goals you need to accomplish to fulfill your large goal. Then think about why that large goal is important to you and the world. Think about the happiness you’ll feel when you accomplish it. Take the thought process out 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, until your on your death bed looking back with no regrets. Now think about all of the negative consequences if you don’t follow your goal. Think about it after 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, and after living a life of regret. Do this and you’ll find yourself motivated again and you’ll know that Inspiration Is Not Perishable.
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