I’ve been thinking about inspiration lately. Wait, I think about it a great deal of the time. I think about it when I don’t think I’m thinking about it. Does that even make sense? Well, if you think about it, it does. Whoa, I just lobbed a meta-think bomb there. INCOMING!!! Doesn’t that blow your mind?
(Disclaimer: I’m not a huge fan of Tim and Eric, but I do like that clip) I keep things around that once inspired me or continue to do so. Every once in a while I go back and revisit them. I believe we all need those reminders. In an old office I used to spend most of my time, I had a few things adorning the wall to help me get through the day or to that next milestone. One of them stated the following:
Believe in yourself –
in the power you have
to control your own life, day by day,
Believe in the strength
that you have deep inside,
and your faith will help
show you the way.
Believe in tomorrow
and what it will bring –
let a hopeful heart carry you through,
For the things will work out
if you trust and believe
there’s no limit
to what you can do.
Great isn’t it? Well, it is. Really. There is however, one slight problem with the above. It reeks with idealism.
Now, idealism isn’t a bad thing in and of itself but I choose to be a realist. Idealism is OK in manageable doses. I heard Emily’s song from childhood thru exiting college (If you were lucky enough to go to college and exit with a degree. Awesome! You did it!!!). I sang this song to my children as well. Why? I want them to believe in themselves. I want them to better me. I want them to have hope where there doesn’t seem to be any hope. I want them to LIVE. I don’t want to send them out in the world though without being prepared for the very real world it is. There’s that word “real”. This is where the realist in me comes out. Let’s revisit that song again…
Elder – You can be anything you want to be!
Youth – I’m going to be an astronaut!
Elder – Son, your (insert anything that would prevent that here) isn’t quite good enough.
Youth – I’m going to sail around the world!
Elder – You threw-up 8 times in 2 hours the last time you where out on the ocean.
Youth – I’m going to be a ride at Disneyland!
Elder – Whoa, …whoa, …that’s just absurd.
POP! POP! POP! Did you hear that? That was the sound of Hope bubbles exploding. I am not advocating just going around and popping Hope bubbles. My parents did not do this with me (I know that’s what you thinking from the above dialog…not true) and I did not do this to my children. Well, not with such cold hearted tactlessness. (my children might tell you a different story. God forbid they read this). Emily’s song is appropriate for youth because it builds a dream of hope our children so desperately need. Sometimes it even works and their dreams become reality.
For myself, inspiration was found in music, nature, art, and leaders of thought. That’s where I pull my strength from. I know this isn’t anything unusual. In fact, it’s quite common. What might not be as common, is finding it even from the most mundane and normal. It’s about looking beyond the surface and seeing what’s underneath. It’s about trying to find beauty, where on the surface it obviously isn’t. Inspiration. Motivation. Inspirivation. Whatever you want to call it, is needed to feed the soul like a body needs water.
There was another quote that hung on the wall of that office.
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
Excuse me. Mr. Balboa, sir? That’s how surviving is done. Never. Ever. Quit.