What Is Inspiration?

What is actually happening behind the creative scenes?
What Is Inspiration?
In: Newsletter

Hi Friends,

I hope you’re having a great weekend. Today I wanted to introduce a new article series I’m working on about inspiration.

The idea came from many recent conversations with fellow entrepreneurs. Instead of talking about motivation and perspiration, what if we focused our efforts on inspiration?

For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a scientific and practical guide building, capturing, and maintaining inspiration. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

— Kevin K.

What Is Inspiration?

Inspiration affects everyone. It's not reserved for an elite class or a particular form of creative endeavor. It is universally experienced but privately defined.

The difference between persistent hard work and the lighter spark of creative fire that allows an idea to take flight is deeply elusive. These rare moments of internal creative combustion are what we informally refer to as inspiration. But what actually separates inspiration from any regular, mundane moment of our lives? What is actually happening behind the scenes?

As noted in the paragraph above, the scientific and historical definitions of inspiration refer to the process of breathing in or inhaling. But in the more colloquial, albeit amorphous definition, inspiration is defined as "breathing in or infusion of some idea, purpose, etc. into the mind; the suggestion, awakening, or creation of some feeling or impulse, especially of an exalted kind."

Well, that feels a bit overwhelming and, in all honesty, poorly connected to the emotions evoked during moments of inspiration. To really understand inspiration, we have to move beyond such a simple structure. A definition that illuminates the delicate phenomenon of inspiration. One that captures the insurgent descent into madness or brilliance. One that extracts the intense sensations that course through our veins, sending goosebumps down our spine as we're struck by the all-too-elusive spark of inspiration.

Inspiration is not solely determined by serendipity or hard work. Inspiration is the delicate mix of these ingredients, only extracted following creative ventures. It passes through you, surfacing our most exciting and meaningful moments. Inspiration pushes us to make great leaps of faith. To be brave in the face of adversity. To embrace ambiguity and power ahead.

Inspiration is persuasive and fleeting. When it leaves us, we desperately try to find it. To receive its energy, we must be present and mindful. To capture it, we must firmly understand the process and phases of inspiration. What we choose to do with it is up to us.

Internet Reading

1. Why Aren’t We Talking About LinkedIn?

I’ve often pondered LinkedIn’s role in personal and professional life. What should we share on such a network? As the line between what defines business and social blurs, we should be wary of a system that avoids clear lines and lulls us into a false sense of professional security. Maybe it’s time for an updated LinkedIn to enter the market?

2. What the Superhuman Controversy Reveals About the Shifting Ethics of Software

Silicon Valley is notorious for glorifying certain startups. Much of the fanfare comes from VCs and fellow entrepreneurs, creating a cult-like communication vortex. A few weeks back, Mike Davidson stood up to the Twitter-verse in an effort to call attention to the less-than-upstanding pixel-tracking practices of tech’s startup flavor of the month: Superhuman.

3. Why governments should prioritize well-being

“In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a "well-being economy" -- which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart -- and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.”

Apps & Tools

Clockwise— An intelligent calendar assistant that uses machine learning to free up your time.

It’s rare to feel product-creator envy, but Clockwise drew it out of me. This little app does one very critical thing: protects your time. As meetings dominate more and more of our creative time, Clockwise offers an intelligent alternative to managing and blocking time to do meaningful, in-depth work.

Creative Inspiration


Peace signs, tie-dye, flowers, and a steady flow of mind-altering substances; for those of us who weren’t around during Woodstock, these details overcrowd our knowledge of the musical performances during one of the centuries most significant cultural events. But, in a rare look behind the scenes, this new series from producer Andy Zax allows us to relive the music and sounds of the musical sensation of 1969.

Check out the NPR podcast with Andy Zax ↗


Weekly Challenge #11

Wake up and watch the sunrise.

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.

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