Do You Know These Three Phases of Inspiration?

Understanding how we can instigate and motivate.
Do You Know These Three Phases of Inspiration?
In: Newsletter

Happy Sunday,

This week I’m sharing my new post on the Three Phases of Inspiration this week. In the process of researching and writing this post, I was surprised at how intuitive, yet nonobvious these phases are. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Work-in-progress: I’ve started crafting a series of Handbooks that I’ll be posting in the future. The main difference between the Handbook and blog articles are the depth and the format. The Handbooks will resemble a book, only with the added ability to be updated.

— Kevin K.

Do You Know These Three Phases of Inspiration?

It should come as no surprise that most scientific studies avoid the topic of inspiration—and for a good reason. Inspiration has a unique quality that makes it difficult to distinguish and even more difficult to quantify. It's like describing air—you know what it feels like, but the language falls short in producing a clear, lasting, and universal description. Furthermore, the word itself carries with it a plethora of implicit personal definitions. Scientists prefer to concisely craft a succinct description that can be tested and validated.

Even as we pen words that help us create a framework, the concept remains too abstract to operationalize. Knowing the definition does little to increase our ability to capture or act on inspiration. In that way, inspiration remains ambiguous. It is used interchangeably about a mythical state of insight and creativity. But it’s easier to understand than it may seem.

To form a more robust and active understanding, we must parse the conceptual characteristics into phases. In doing so, we realize there are three key states of inspiration: instigation, realization, and motivation.

Phase 1. Instigation refers to the involuntarily generated and influenced nature of inspiration. Inspiration is instigated and responsive to an external stimulus before it is internalized. This instigator can arrive in the form of an idea, a work of art, a beauty realized in nature, or even a characteristic discovered within another person. Inspiration appears in a free-flowing fashion, passing seamlessly from phase to phase.

Phase 2. Realization takes place during the transition between our reaction to the stimulus and the impulse to act on the revelation. It produces a small opportunity to apprehend the inspiration from the stimulus. The general characteristics of the realization phase are expressed through what is often recognized through creativity or creative output. This is where many of our inspirations are translated into ideas or insights.

Phase 3. Finally, we arrive at the final stage of inspiration: motivation. The new awareness produced by our reaction to a stimulus, which is then translated into a new response, is then advanced to an intent to actualize and express this new vision.

Since each of these phases feels quite atomic, they often go unrecognized. But, through our mindful recognition of these details, we’re able to harness each in order to accelerate our creativity. Armed with this newfound understanding of the phases of inspiration, go explore and appreciate your inspiration at a deeper level. You might be surprised by what you notice.

Internet Reading

1. Three Years of Misery Inside Google, The Happiest Company in Tech

This Google insider gives us a look into the way a tech giant built and destroyed a mediated discourse system. From the James Damore memo to ongoing leaks and media battles, the activism inside Google broadly resembles the controversies exposed in campuses across the U.S.

2. Separate Who You Are from What You Do

“Your worth as a person is not tied to your position on the org chart. So when someone criticizes a report you wrote or a presentation you gave, remind yourself that they’re criticizing the report or the presentation, not you.”

3. Solitude and Leadership

It’s easy to judge leaders based on what we see. But anyone who’s been in a leadership position knows how deeply isolating it can be. When you’re responsible for making the hard decisions, you really must know who you are and what you stand for. Spending time alone is a great way to gain insight into who you are.

Apps & Tools

Stacks — curated list of tools and apps used by people you know.

I'm excited to see this little app from the team at It’s still in beta, but it looks like a promising way to dive into productivity stacks of people you know. Bump me up so we can all enjoy it!

Creative Inspiration


This black little wearable device monitors the quality and safety of the air you breathe and can easily be attached to a bag or piece of clothing.

As well as picking up areas of high VOC pollution, the device can also measure potentially less damaging, but equally important air quality indicators, such as atmospheric pressure, temperature and air humidity.

The data collected from all of the device users is pooled to provide an aggregated environmental map of the air quality around the world that is free to access via an app.


Weekly Challenge #12

Purge the negative and unproductive apps from your phone.

Enjoying Path Nine?

If you liked this post, I’d really appreciate it if you share the post!

Thanks for reading, and see you next week,

— Kevin K.

More from Path Nine
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Path Nine.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.