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How To Be Inspired

I used to think I was easily inspired.

For the past several years, the explanation for this fact usually came down to my devotion to reading. There was a time when I would specifically plan out an hour in my schedule dedicated to reading. Often it came during my morning train commute to work. I would browse articles my friends had shared online. I would read the magazines that kept arriving weekly in my mailbox at home. When I started to deliver keynote talks about how to generate big ideas and be creative, my dedicated reading time was one tip I always mentioned.

Then I started my own company.

Suddenly my nicely carved out reading time started to disappear. I didn’t have a morning commute anymore. Those free moments for reading were replaced with time to set up a new invoicing and billing system, or writing copy for a new section of my website, or finally responding to hundreds of dormant LinkedIn invitations. Reading time became a distant memory.

Yet a curious thing has happened during these last nine months. I actually started having more ideas about bigger topics. I published my second ebook in July (Always Eat Left Handed) and am on track to publish two more books before the end of the year (ePatient 2015 and my annual trend report).

Meanwhile, my limited client work (only 30% of my time) has become more diverse and more interesting. And I get to travel around the world speaking to groups as diverse as real estate developers and alcohol producers. What is the difference?

I believe being inspired comes down to three things:

  1. Feeling Empowered – Having the ability to accept (or decline) new work has insured that I only work with organizations I have a passion for. And it’s a lot easier to be inspired by clients and companies that you love.
  2. Focusing On The Long Term - As I have felt less pressure to “sell” at events, it has allowed me to have better and deeper conversations with the people I meet.
  3. Being Observant – Not setting aside time specifically for inspiration has forced me to seek it in every moment.

It is perhaps that last point which has made the biggest difference for me in being inspired. Slowly, I have realized the best inspiration might come simply from observing whatever happens to be around you – no matter how ordinary.

Anyone can sit in a room listening to a charismatic leader tell a great story and be inspired. I want to find inspiration listening to a faint radio talk show on a rainy Tuesday afternoon stuck in the back seat of a NY taxi headed to the airport.

That’s what being easily inspired really means.

  • servantofchaos

    “I have realized the best inspiration might come simply from observing whatever happens to be around you” … this is great, Rohit. We often seek inspiration from somewhere distant from us, and overlook what is right under our noses.

  • Darrell Ellens

    I was trying to find a way to explain why it took so long for me to respond back to you with a business idea, then I read in your blog today about how long it takes you to respond to dormant LinkedIn invitations.

    I had moved on from that business idea to another one, but the idea kept on coming back, again and again, now we need to chat, if you have time?

    Can you email me at… I need 5 minutes to chat about your 15 trends and 178,000 women…

    • Rohit Bhargava

      Will do, I’m traveling through tomorrow but will email you on Friday.

  • Warren Whitlock

    When I reflect on this, I look back at the step before the inspiration. It’s the decision to be inspired.The content of the inspiration is important, but the world has that in such abundance that we need only decide to partake of it.

  • Gaurav Gupta

    Dear Rohit
    What u mentioned on inspiration is saying that inspiration is more of an intrinsic trait and it is dependent more on our internal generator than external factors. Howeve I believe that internal motivation is indeed required for long term sustained inspiration but external inspiration is equally important and for me it comes even from movies, latest being ‘ In Pursuit of Happyness’.

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  • Judy Caroll

    Being inspired is one of the basic thing that trigger us to do everything. It is something that our self was full of conditioned to do something because the mind and the body are functioning well.

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