Finding inspiration has been in the forefront of my mind since I took some click bait and wasted a half an hour only to hit a sales pitch. On principle alone, I just can’t give someone my money after they do that.
Sorry dude. But thanks for getting me in motion.
The journey towards that sales pitch made me consider my own condition. Overweight. Still back and forth with smoking. Struggling some days to feel inspired. Frustrated with my progress. Reminiscing with myself about how I got this way and what life was like with other forms of inspiration.
Inspiration has been compared to bathing. The results fade over time, so it’s necessary to repeat the process as needed. Bathing for obvious reasons. Inspiration must be reapplied to counteract daily distractions and the bad habits that creep out of the shadows and take us apart piece by piece.
As adults, we deal with responsibilities, routines and stress that almost seems designed to diffuse inspiration. Staying inspired might be a job in itself. It’s not easy to do, but seems absolutely essential if we want to live an intentional life.
As kids, we had dreams and questions that proved we didn’t live in a box. We drew inspiration from the craziest places, and some of it stuck.
Some of really us did grow up to be astronauts, or firemen, or teachers, or even musicians and artists. We colored outside the lines. We got dirty. We built ramps out of scrap wood and launched ourselves into space. We painted and wrote about things that inspired us and provoked emotion from our imagination.
We didn’t overthink things. We had an idea and we tried it. If we enjoyed it we did it again. If not, we simply moved on to something else. We weren’t bogged down with expectations and ambitions. Well, not all of us anyway.
We sat for hours, not always with video games or computers or phones, but mostly with music. Our album collection defined who we thought we were or what we wanted to be. We owned the music that spoke to us. The radio was OK to fill in the day, but what we wanted was to just sit and absorb the music we chose.
As adults, it sometimes becomes difficult to find inspiration through the course of the day. Going to the same job, meeting the same goals, and following the same routes can become tedious and monotonous. Not generally inspirational.
For me, time and time again, I find my inspiration within my own family.
I am not the kind of guy who strives to give my kids the things I always wanted. I prefer to teach them the things I wish I had known at their age. Seeing them successful at chosen pursuits and daily decisions is a massive inspiration. Watching them grow up into adults who are able to think for themselves and show strong character is simply amazing.
Beyond even that, my wife continues to inspire me every day.
Wanting to do good for her and give her the best of me is a big deal. The determination to not repeat the mistakes of the past has become a driving force. I want to be the kind of husband that she is excited to see and occasionally brags about.
Beyond the job, the kids, the bills and daily routines… she is my priority. Jobs and responsibilities can come and go. The kids will eventually grow up and move on. The routines will change. She will still be here. Her happiness and quality of life is critical to mine.
Another kind of guy that I am not, is the type who cares about the opinions of others. But, within this small group we call a family, those opinions are critical. My choices affect them. I need to be a man that they respect and love. That in itself is a powerful motivator to carefully choose how I live and move through life.
So, like taking a shower after a long day to wash away the accumulated mess, we need to pinpoint the things that matter most and reapply the reasons to our minds. We can’t drop an anchor and lock ourselves into a bad place. We have to continue moving forward with the intention of becoming the men we truly want to be.
Not based on what society tells us is important. Not for status or recognition from folks we don’t even know. Not to give us bragging rights. Not to stroke our ego. But because there are people who depend on us in one way or another. Because we choose to live an intentional life and hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Take some time today to search your priorities. Figure out what is most important. Figure out what you can do to make a better life for your family and yourself. What small changes can change the course of your life and steer you closer to who you want to be?
For the sake of those who depend on you, as well as your own sanity, find your inspiration.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.