In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. Inspiration may sometimes be overlooked because of its elusive nature. Its history of being treated as supernatural or divine hasn’t helped the situation. But as recent research shows, inspiration can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes.
Inspiration has three main qualities.
Pyschologists Todd Thrash and Andrew have noted these core aspects of inspiration: evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation. First, inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention. Inspiration is also transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. Such transcendence often involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities. As Thrash and Elliot note, “The heights of human motivation spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities.”This moment of clarity is often vivid, and can take the form of a grand vision, or a “seeing” of something one has not seen before (but that was probably always there). Finally, inspiration involves approach motivation, in which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision. According to Thrash and Elliot, inspiration involves both being inspired bysomething and acting onthat inspiration.
Inspired people share certain characteristics.
Thrash and Elliot developed the “Inspiration Scale” which measures the frequency with which a person experiences inspiration in their daily lives. They found that inspired people were more open to new experiences, and reported more absorption in their tasks. “Openness to Experience” often came beforeinspiration, suggesting that those who are more open to inspiration are more likely to experience it. Additionally, inspired individuals weren’t more conscientious, supporting the view that inspiration is something that happens to you and is not willed. Inspired individuals also reported having a stronger drive to master their work, but were less competitive, which makes sense if you think of competition as a non-transcendent desire to outperform competitors. Inspired people were more intrinsically motivated and less extrinsically motivated, variables that also strongly impact work performance. Inspiration was least related to variables that involve agency or the enhancement of resources, again demonstrating the transcendent nature of inspiration. Therefore, what makes an object inspiring is its perceived subjective intrinsic value, and not how much it’s objectively worth or how attainable it is. Inspired people also reported higher levels of important psychological resources, including belief in their own abilities, self-esteem, and optimism. Mastery of work, absorption, creativity, perceived competence, self-esteem, and optimism were all consequences of inspiration, suggesting that inspiration facilitates these important psychological resources. Interestingly, work mastery also came before inspiration, suggesting that inspiration is not purely passive, but does favor the prepared mind.
Inspiration is not the same as positive affect.
Compared to the normal experience of everyday life, inspiration involves elevated levels of positive affect and task involvement, and lower levels of negative affect. Inspiration is not the same state as positive affect, however. Compared to being in an enthusiastic and excited state, people who enter an inspired state (by thinking of a prior moment they were inspired) reported greater levels of spirituality and meaning, and lower levels of volitional control, controllability, and self-responsibility for their inspiration. Whereas positive affect is activated when someone is making progress toward their immediate, conscious goals, inspiration is more related to an awakening to something new, better, or more important: transcendence of one’s previous concerns.
Inspiration is the springboard for creativity.
Inspired people view themselves as more creative and show actual increases in self-ratings of creativity over time. Patent-holding inventors report being inspired more frequently and intensely than non-patent holders, and the higher the frequency of inspiration, the higher the number of patents held. Being in a state of inspiration also predicts the creativity of writing samples across scientific writing, poetry, and fiction (as judged by a panel of fellow students) independent of SAT verbal scores, Openness to Experience, positive affect, specific behaviors (e.g., deleting prior sentences), and aspects of the product quality (e.g., technical merit). Inspired writers are more efficient and productive, and spend less time pausing and more time writing. The link between inspiration and creativity is consistent with the transcendent aspect of inspiration, since creativity involves seeing possibility beyond existing constraints. Importantly, inspiration and effort predict different aspects of an activity. Individuals who exerted more effort writing spent more of their time pausing, deleted more words, wrote more sentences per paragraph, and had better technical merit and use of rhyming in poems, but their work was not considered more creative.
Inspiration facilitates progress toward goals.
In a recent study conducted by Marina Milyavskaya and her colleagues, college students were asked to report three goals they intended to accomplish throughout the course of the semester. They then reported on their progress three times a month. Those who scored higher on the Inspiration Scale displayed increased goal progress, and their progress was a result of setting more inspired goals. Therefore, people who were generally more inspired in their daily lives also tended to set inspired goals, which were then more likely to be successfully attained. Importantly, the relationship between inspiration and goal progress was reciprocal: goal progress also predicted future goal inspiration. As the researchers note, “this suggests that goal progress and goal inspiration build on each other to form a cycle of greater goal inspiration and greater goal pursuit.” Finally, inspired individuals reported experiencing more purpose in life and more gratitude.
Inspiration increases well-being.
In another study, those who were exposed to Michael Jordan’s greatness experienced higher levels of positive affect, and this increase in positive affect was completely explained by their score on the Inspiration Scale. This inspiration was not transitory though, predicting positive well-being (e.g., positive affect, life satisfaction) three months later! Inspiration was more strongly related to future than to present satisfaction. The extent to which inspiration lasted was explained by self-reported levels of purpose and gratitude in life.
These findings show that inspiration matters a lot, which may cause someone to feel pressure to become inspired and helpless to do so considering the evocative and spontaneous nature of inspiration. These key scientific findings suggest that inspiration is not willed–it happens. Knowing this should free you from the pressure to makeinspiration happen.
This does not mean that inspiration is completely outside your control. Contrary to the view of inspiration as purely mythical or divine, I think inspiration is best thought of as a surprising interaction between your current knowledge and the information you receive from the world. There are things you can do to increase the likelihood of inspiration occurring. Research shows quite clearly that preparation (“work mastery”) is a key ingredient. While inspiration is not the same as effort, effort is an essential condition for inspiration, preparing the mind for an inspirational experience. Openness to Experience and positive affect are also important, as having an open mind and approach-oriented attitude will make it more likely that you will be aware of the inspiration once it arrives. Small accomplishments are also important, as they can boost inspiration, setting off a productive and creative cycle.
To become personally inspired, the best you can do is set up the optimal circumstances for inspiration. As a society, the best we can do is assist in setting up these important circumstances for everyone. An easy first step is simply recognizing the sheer potency of inspiration, and its potential impact on everything we do.
Let this inspire you today-Coach Milton
excerpts taken from Harvard Business review
I recall when I have my fights with thinking positive or being in a stat of joy. I am the biggest fan of positive thinking, because I think and know of the alternative and that is to worry, be in fear, struggle with doubt and insecurities. We all fall victim to this mindset and it can become a cancer that only grows with every opportunity. So, my philosophy is that I work and I work and I work to dilute the pollution that so easily clouds my mind and judgement.
One principle I live by is to assume positive intent , this of course comes by way of relationships, but it can be used with external circumstances that come against you not in your favor. Going to the thought that this is “happening for me , not against me!”
Getting to ground zero in your mind and emotions
Ground zero is the point in which you are clear and ready to absorb and produce the positive , happy life you envision and long for. Here are a couple of insights on how to get to ground zero:
Embrace- Embrace what ever is troubling you, this is different than accepting it as it is. This is more allowing it to flow through and and experience it. What this does is brings down the resistance barrier, relieves stress and allows you to begin to think.
Tell it — This is simple, but you need to have trusted people in your life you can tell your anxieties, doubts and fears to.
Write it- Journaling, note taking, jotting down are keys to allowing your flesh and mind to be in harmony knowing this is what is going on and expressing it in a tangible way.
I assure you when you follow this simple guideline, you will get you to ground zero and this will aid you on experiencing the joy and power of positive thinking.
I hope this blesses you today- coach Milton
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
The power of positive thinking is remarkable.
In fact, the idea that your mind can change your world almost seems too good to be true.
I can assure you, however, that I have experienced AND witnessed the good that focusing on the positive can bring.
But before I get into that, let me ask you a question.
Can you guess what the most successful and happy people think about all day long?
The answer is quite simple…
Healthy, happy people think about what they want, and how to get it, most of the time. In this way developing a positive attitude can truly change your entire life.
When you think and talk about what you want and how to get it, you feel happier and in greater control of your life. When you think about something that makes you happy, your brain actually releases endorphins, which give you a generalized feeling of well-being.
As a result, you develop a positive attitude.
How to Think Positive
Based on many psychological tests, happy people seem to have a special quality that enables them to live a better life than the average.
Can you guess what it is?
It’s the quality of optimism!
The best news about optimism is that it is a learnable quality. That means you can learn how to think positive by taking adopting an optimistic mindset. I work to be optimistic even in the challenging of situations, because worry , doubt and fear need no fuel.
By the law of cause and effect, if you do and say what other healthy, happy people with positive attitudes do and say, you will soon feel the same way, get the same results, and enjoy the same experiences that they do.
Happy People Find Good in the World
Optimists seem to have different ways of dealing with the world that set them apart from the average.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Optimists seek the valuable lesson in every setback or reversal. Rather than getting upset and blaming someone else for what has happened, they take control over their emotions by saying,
“What can I learn from this experience?”
Resolve today to learn how to develop positive thinking and a positive attitude toward yourself, the people around you and your life.
Blessings to you,
In the daily shuffle, it can often seem like there is no time for joy! We wake up late, rush out the door to work barely getting a bite of breakfast, dash from meeting to meeting and come home too tired to do much more than watch some Netflix and flop exhausted into bed before waking up to do it all again. (And if you have kids, there are quite a few more steps in here as well!) In a life that feels like there’s no margin, how do you make space for joy?
Here is a quick way that I start the process of being In a state of joy. Use the time on the toilet not as a social media refresher, use it as a 3x3 time. Three minutes times three, gratitude, prayer, envision. If you don't get to a full three minutes don't worry, it's about the intent and making time for it in a simple way.
The first thing to remember is that what distinguishes joy is that it’s really small. Joy lives in moments. So rather feeling like you have to shoehorn another wellness practice into your already crowded morning routine, take the pressure off and remember that you don’t need a lot of extra space (or even any extra space) in your day to experience more joy.
One way that I find more joy is by focusing on the in-between moments. The practice of joyspotting, or intentionally looking for joy in your surroundings, is one way to do this. It’s a great practice for your commute or in between errands. Instead of burying my nose in my phone on my way to a meeting or to the airport, I try to gaze out the window and see what I notice.
TURN DOWNTIME INTO JOY-TIME
A little planning can help you turn odd slivers of time into joyful adventures. For example, if your working hours are flexible, why not time your commute to the sunset? If there’s a dog park in your neighborhood, can you adjust your route to swing by there so that you can see the pups play before you start your workday? I keep a list of “joy fieldtrip” destinations on my phone — stores, cafés, museums, galleries, murals, parks, etc. — along with their locations. Around you work or home are numerous things to bring you joy. Make it an effort and mark these locations. Put in your calendar time to visit once a week if possible to reflect and enjoy!
Hope this blesses you today-
Milton is genuine, persistent, and sincere. There are very few things that detract Milton from his pursuit of what he believes in. His attitude is fantastic and professionalism top notch. -
International speaker, creator of Maximizing Moments with Milton and the Author of Your Purpose, Your App -How to Stop Drifting and Start Living.