10 Sources of Inspiration for Every Day

A woman sits in a sunny field

Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration can begin with the spark of a brilliant idea. Maybe it’s the premise of a new novel. Or the perfect setting for a photograph. Or an innovative solution to a business problem. 

You might also feel inspired when you help the people around you. Or when you start working on a dream goal. 

Inspiration helps us feel more connected to our work, loved ones, and community. It also fuels our creativity and ideas

But what do you do when the stream of ideas turns into a slow trickle? Or the enthusiasm you had for your goals turns into ambivalence or cynicism? What happens when inspiration runs dry?

Yes, inspiration can be fleeting. But it’s also available to us whenever we need it. You can’t always expect inspiration to come to you. You have to seek out inspiration regularly. 

Sources of inspiration in everyday life

While inspiration may seem elusive and rather fickle, it’s actually very accessible. You can find inspiration in the magnificent as well as the mundane. Here are simple and practical sources to find inspiration whenever you need. 

1. Your observations

If you want to feel inspired, you have to start with observation. Train yourself to observe the world around you. This means truly being present and taking everything in. Look around and use your senses. What do you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell? Whether it’s listening to the rain tapping against your windowsill or admiring the sunlight streaming through the trees or inhaling the smell of freshly cut grass, you will feel inspired when you learn how to observe the world. 

2. Your notebook

The best thing you can do for your creativity is to keep a notebook. It’s where you can write down your ideas, observations, dreams, and musings. You can also use your notebook to collect your favorite quotes, images, and even flowers or leaves. Your notebook is a space that’s just for you. It helps you process your thoughts and experiences. 

3. Your personal treasures

Want to be inspired? Then make sure you indulge your inner child. As Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way: “Your artist is a child.” That means you need to indulge your inner child and create a sense of playfulness and comfort.

Think back to when you were a kid. What were your favorite items or treats? Stock up on nostalgic items like glitter pens, notebooks, and stickers. Or let yourself doodle everyday. Or treat yourself to a favorite childhood snack. These items won’t cost a fortune and it will make your inner child very happy. 

4. Your heroes

Make a list of your favorite authors, musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs, etc. These are the people that you look up to and whose careers you would love to emulate. Now make a list of their influences and sources of inspiration. For example, author Min Jin Lee grew up reading the works of Lois Lenski and Sinclair Lewis. Bill Gates is inspired by the innovative mind of Leonardo Da Vinci. Find out who your heroes are inspired by and you will be inspired by their influences as well.

5. Your local coffee shop

You don’t have to go far to find inspiration. Your local coffee shop is a great place to observe people and take in the different sensorial experiences.

While you’re there, pick someone to observe. What are they doing at the moment? Are they gazing into their coffee mug or typing away on their laptop? Try drawing a sketch of this person in your notebook. You can also swap the coffee shop for a bus stop, local library, park bench—anywhere you can sit down and observe. 

6. Watching or reading something outside of your personal algorithm

It’s easy to stick with what you like and what you know. But if you only expose yourself to the same genres all the time, you’re going to limit your sources of inspiration.

By reading widely and across different genres, you’ll broaden your perspective. By watching movies from different filmmakers, you’ll look at life through someone else’s eyes. So if you always read non-fiction, then try delving into sci-fi or fantasy. If you always watch comedies then try watching an obscure foreign film. 

7. An inspiring memoir

There’s nothing like reading an inspiring memoir to make you feel as if everything is possible, and that there’s no challenge you can’t overcome. And because you know that these stories are true, you’ll feel as if you are just as capable of achieving success. Memoirs like Becoming by Michelle Obama or Educated by Tara Westover can open your eyes to different experiences and glean lessons from people from all walks of life.

8. A pilgrimage to see your favorite heroes

Remember your list of heroes? See if it’s possible to see them in person. Maybe it’s attending a lecture or a concert or a book signing. And, yes, you can still make a pilgrimage if they’re no longer around. You can visit their historic home or go to a museum exhibit dedicated to them.

Making a pilgrimage is a way to honor your heroes and see them in action. Whether it’s seeing their personal artifacts up close or learning about their creative process, you’ll feel as if you are walking in their footsteps. You’ll see just how accessible it is to achieve the same dream.

9. Your local park

There’s a reason that nature has inspired everyone from artists to scientists. When you’re outdoors, you feel more at ease and you experience awe for the world around you. In short, nature is the ultimate source of inspiration. You don’t have to climb a mountain or live in a cabin in the woods to experience nature’s benefits. Go to a neighborhood park and enjoy the peace and quiet. Bring a notebook with you to record your observations or any ideas that may arise.

10. Making time for inspiration

Sometimes, inspiration can strike suddenly. It’s that lightning bolt sensation of getting struck with a genius idea. But more often than not, inspiration is something that you have to seek out and cultivate. This means leaving room in your schedule to do activities that inspire you. Don’t overbook yourself if you can help it. Inspiration comes when you’re feeling open and relaxed.

Written by JiJi Lee

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