Sometimes, every moment can feel like a challenge. Ambition meets hopelessness and desire meets despair as nothing seems achievable or worthy. Is there a way out? Not quite, but we can sure as hell put up a fight.
Insights. Audience insights. Stereotypes backed by retrofitted research.
“Heck, I don’t want to be a number, I’m a person.”
Guess what? You’re both. And when you combine the infinite (perceived) complexity and emotional spectrum of being a person with the drudgery of being a number, like capitalism seeks to do with resources (sometimes known as people), you end up with an extraordinary beast. Enter the creative foot soldier. This is the ‘intrapreneur’ who thinks innovatively, raising the bar each day, engaging people ‘internal’ and ‘external’ alike, all with a smile.
Bosses, workloads, unemployment, marriage, singledom, weight, the future, the past, what you want to eat for dinner and not having any dinner to eat, each of these is an equally valid, prevalent, and qualified stressor. If any of these bother you, read on. If they don’t, please send me a recent photograph of you so I can build an altar to worship at.
Now that we’ve set the context, let’s get to the point. Drudgery is not negotiable. It’s as intrinsic to the human condition as death and taxes. This can be quite difficult to tackle, especially for sentient beings with a cerebral cortex capable of fueling a rather fertile imagination. ‘Sometimes, I want to just give up, but I can’t. And that’s just difficult.’
Is there really a way out of the rat race? Will we ever find our purpose? Too frustrated with your current situation and too scared to try anything else–the Stockholm syndrome that binds you to your monotony. It can seem like the grass on the other side is just disappointment waiting to tread on. Go online and you stumble upon thousands of stories of those who made it. Endless and seemingly scientific pontification about grit and luck peddling a story created in hindsight to a crowd hungry for meaning. ‘How will I ever get through this? Is this all there is?’
I have an answer, or at least I think I do. Inspiration. The problem is in trying to stay ‘motivated’. Motivation, you see, my dear friend, is a stimulus, a precursor to action, maybe even a catalyst if you assume ability and willingness. Exhaustion can easily suppress it, as can mockery masquerading as humour (a rather common show of ‘affection’ in modern ‘friendships’) or even a sudden change of plans or goals. Inspiration, however, is a process, one that creates an environment. It is a state of mind that with enough practice you can will yourself into, something a sportsperson might call being in the zone. This is a space where sentences seem to string themselves together, people react favourably, your life seems more productive and you feel, well (the limitations of language strike again), happy. Inspiration (noun)–being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative Motivation (noun)–a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a certain way The best part about inspiration is that it isn’t an end goal as much as it is a conduit to constant improvement. The order of greatness or inspiration isn’t a chicken-and-egg problem. An inspired mind does great things. Greatness doesn’t bring inspiration, but inspiration enhances it.
So how does any of this work? Simple. It is focus and repetition that makes up the mastery of any practice, and inspiration is no different.
I’m not expecting you to waltz from depression into creative mania. Start small and start easy. What happens to you doesn't define you, but how you relate to it does. Look to begin your day by being thankful for what you have. If you don’t think you have much, thank yourself for your sanity. Thank yourself because you can read what I have written here and derive meaning from a set of symbols on a screen. It’s not an ability you should take lightly.
Let the emptiness and pointlessness of what you’re feeling hit you like a truck, life’s best experienced that way. When you’re going to sleep and the noise within pushes you to open your eyes, don’t. For another five minutes, let it overwhelm you, feel every inch of your body and soul ache with the random chaos you’ve grown weary of. And then use that base to build something. Wake up knowing that you will isolate your state of mind, your inspired state of mind, from your circumstances because you really can’t control the latter.
The qualities you need to realise your vision for a successful life–attention, inspiration, strength and endurance–are finite. These also grow through practice, the benefits compounding over each day of effort, a wall built brick by brick. Lay a brick down.
To you who wanted to say something in that meeting today but didn’t
To you who actually quite likes your job, but won’t say so for fear of standing out
To you who doesn’t enjoy starting sentences with ‘here’s my idea’ or ‘I’m good at’
To you who wakes up wondering ‘really? Is this it?’
Keep fighting. Stay inspired.
It really is the truest statement of anarchy against an increasingly dystopian world narrative.