Jumpstarting 2011 with Inspiration
Many people need an inspirational jumpstart this time of year. True, there are many of us that are infused with energy as we take on the New Year. But, as most resolutions don’t hold their charge, often our inspiration needs regular refueling to maintain momentum.
But where do we go for inspiration? Our tendency is to look outside of ourselves to get moved – someone’s act of courage or resiliency, an experience in nature, a film that lifts our spirits or any event that takes us to a higher level. Often just the passage of time – the blank slate of a fresh year alone – can motivate us to feel and act differently.
External inspiration alone, however, only goes so far. It’s not sustainable. True inspiration is essentially an inside-out job.
Inspiration is a feeling – you can feel when you are inspired. Without feeling, inspiration is just thought. It’s when thought combines with certain feelings, that inspiration is ignited. Everyone has different “biological” signatures for their various feelings. So ask yourself – “When I feel inspired – what do I feel in my body?” It’s valuable to know this.
Researchers and practitioners of emotional intelligence refer to this knowledge as emotional literacy. Emotional literacy is uncommon because most of us aren’t implicitly taught how to identify our feelings – how to recognize and name them. Recent studies show that the more that we develop this skill – the more mastery we have in using our emotions as a resource for our well-being.
Inspiration is one of those empowering resource emotions. We can learn to use it to energize and renew ourselves mentally and physically. Once we know how it works for us – we can then mine the external resources we know move us to enable the good feelings that accompany inspiration – and the action it compels!
There are many external resources we can call on to inspire us – to evoke the feeling of inspiration. One very simple – and some might say, hackneyed tools of inspiration, are quotes. The reality is that people still resonate with powerful words and thoughts. How we use them is the key!
Here are a few of our favorite quotes with a bit of narration attached….
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”
Gandhi’s famous quote always raises the bar on our expectations of our own thoughts and actions. It calls on the highest and the best within us to look inward and act accordingly – even if we fall short in our own estimation.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”
It’s challenging to select one of Einstein’s quotes among so many that inspire. We love this one because it can change the filter on the lens we are looking through when we view the world and its events – big and small.
“No force is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”
We tend to think of Victor Hugo’s quote when thinking about big ideas and large-scale changes. But ideas, however tiny, with potential force live within each of us. Some are on a very low flame – while others have flickered for years, waiting for our attention. Focusing on those forces within us, requires us to develop a deeper relationship with our intuition – that voice within that speaks more through feeling than thought. Thought (what we often call our “reason) can stop intuition in its tracks, so we must be attentive.
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly”
A lesser known quote from the philosopher Sam Keen that speaks to the mystery and fragility of interpersonal understanding. There’s a popular idea that we tend to judge others by their behavior and ourselves by our intentions. We’re quick to find what’s wrong with others – often in search of the elusive perfection we demand in others – but not of ourselves.
“By looking inward, any individual has the capacity to rise to greatness”
A bold quote from the prolific author, Deepak Chopra. This quote inspires our work. It reminds us to constantly reaffirm our commitment to a belief that there is greatness in us all – and that the journey there is inward – first and foremost.
“Mastering” our emotions is the most powerful way we can effect personal (and we add collective) change. Nothing is harder – and nothing is more reliable (and ultimately, inspirational) than knowing that at our core – we are strong and loving. Now that’s inspirational. You can go to the bank with that in 2011!
As always, thanks for your readership, shares and tweets. We welcome your comments and thoughts. If you have a quote that inspires – please share with us.
Louise and George Altman, Intentional Communication Partners