Consider the Source

When I first wrote this, it was because I couldn’t sleep.

When one can’t sleep, it’s usually because their mind is a river of thoughts – flowing, flowing, flowing ever so endlessly through the hours of the night.

When I first wrote this, my thoughts kept flowing back and forth to one word: inspiration.

Have you ever felt an adrenaline rush of wanting to do so many things all of a sudden? You don’t know where the energy is coming from, despite the fact that your body is screaming for sleep, but it doesn’t matter as much. It’s not because of a certain degree of worry that you’re running out of time to do things and accomplish what you want to, but more of because there is just so much creativity that’s crying for a release from your system.

I’m sure you’ve had this type of adrenaline rush before, especially if you’re a creative. That sort of rush that makes you want to keep going and keep doing and keep creating until you just can’t anymore.

Think about what you thought about, or what you did, what you saw, what you heard, who you surrounded yourself with an hour or two right before that adrenaline rush. Is it something that you’ve read somewhere? A film that you’ve seen? A conversation you had with a certain group of people?

The story behind this whole thing started one morning when I was in a coffee shop thinking about writing my book. I was in the middle of doing some marketing work for our humble little startup, so I had to put that off a little bit. Most people know I also do wedding and lifestyle photography, with regular meetings alongside. That same day, right before a meeting with the team, I decided to finally write.

But nothing was coming. Literally nothing. I possessed the most frustrating feeling a writer could ever have – writer’s block. Perhaps I was exhausted or too distracted – there was just nothing coming out no matter how much I tried. So I just let it go.

Dinner came, and then a learning session about photography. We talked about details, symmetry, imagery, balance, space, and all. These concepts that I’ve always had an idea about but never really discussed with people with such concentration. Ending that meeting, I knew I brought home with me more than just what I came for.

Later that night, all I wanted to do was play video games until I fall asleep.

Yet, I ended up doing what I previously couldn’t do. I ended up writing. I ended up detailing my thoughts because there was so much creativity in me that was just itching at the edges.

The former lack of enthusiasm from my mojo that day has redeemed itself in the wee hours of the morning – not ideal for someone who has a day job, but a redemption nonetheless – and I had the photography team to thank.

I suddenly understood that old phrase – Inspiration is everywhere.

It doesn’t have to be present in a way that you can see it, because the truth is, most of the time what inspires us are what we cannot really see – a conversation, a memory, a distant sound, emotions so strong, and perhaps even silence. It’s always a matter of finding that source, and surrounding yourself with what makes you want to do, in such a way that the only risk you’re taking is whether or not you will be able to create even more afterwards.

Regardless of what the source of your inspiration is, the good news is there is a source. Identifying it can be a challenge on its own; accepting it as yours more so.

The progress we experience is always based on what we choose to motivate us — our sources of inspiration and what we do with them are some of those.

We can grow and be happy even without much acknowledgement of what inspires us. And yet, it’s oddly fulfilling to be human enough to admit that we need others to make the journey a less tiresome one.

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