Devin Halladay



Find Your Own Inspiration

One thing that really bothers me about a lot of designers and other creative professionals (including myself) is that we focus too much on "inspiration." Inspiration is good thing. It helps us move, it helps us hustle. It drives passion and action. My problem is not with inspiration itself, but with the fact that many of us are looking for inspiration in all the wrong places.

A few days ago I found myself reading an article (I'd link to it here but I can't find it) about the books Steve Jobs recommended everyone read. I finished the article, looked up from my screen, and pondered for a second. Why the hell am I reading this article? I've already read every book on the list at least once. That's when I came to a realization: I'm looking for inspiration in the wrong places.

Those books inspired Steve Jobs; I get that. But they didn't inspire me, or at least not as much as they inspired him. That was his inspiration; so why am I spending so much time and energy trying to feed off of his inspiration? The rather long-winded point I'm trying to make is that inspiration comes naturally. It came naturally to Steve Jobs, so let it come naturally to you.

I'm sure you're really intrigued by how some people managed to change the world or just inspire others through their actions. I'm sure you've read interviews with them, you've looked at all their work, you've read all their writing, all in an attempt to figure out what makes them tick. You want to find out how they became so inspired and passionate so you can do the same. Don't fall into that trap.

We spend so much of our valuable time begging for inspiration, searching every corner, crying out for something to make our jobs easier; but these things rarely inspire us and if they do, they don't keep us inspired for long. What these things do is make us compare ourselves and our work to other people and their work. That's the opposite of what we need! {% hr_short %} Next time you need some inspiration, don't go looking for it. Go read a book, go for a walk, draw a stupid doodle, create a painting, visit a museum, talk to someone, write, go for a run. Take a break. Let the inspiration come to you naturally—stop straining yourself in an attempt to replicate the inspiration someone else felt and utilized. Let the inspiration come to you and maybe one day another person will look back at your work, at your words, at your accomplishments, and wonder, "How can I be as inspired as you were?"

Published on Thursday 1 January 2015

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