Why are we Constantly Seeking Inspiration and why Does it Never Last Long?

Image by author ©boiledbeanstudio

Open any social platform, you are likely to find lots of stories calculated to inspire, ignite and encourage. Stories of bravehearts who courageously overcome challenges. Stories of amazing people who are able to turn rags to riches, weaknesses to strengths and pumpkins into chariots. As you read these stories, you get all pumped up. You come away feeling supercharged. You are now ready to face your own challenges and push your own boundaries. Suddenly, there is hope for you. If someone else can make it, why not you?

And so you get on with your day. Only, by the end of the day, all that cheery energy has left you — like air leaving a balloon that’s sprung a slow leak. You are back to square one. Defeated and depleted, you hit the sack, taking all your old demons to bed with you. You toss, turn and wake up in the middle of the night — gripped by anxiety and unknown fears. Next day you are back scouring the internet and social media platforms—actively looking for another hit of inspiration. Some story that can help you get by another day and make you feel new hopes. What is going on here? Why do we need to be inspired every single day to live our own life well and happily? And why do all these inspirational stories have a maximum shelf life of 24 hours?

Is it because they are not our stories? Or is it something else? I have my own theory. I think it’s what happens to us in between two highs of inspiration. It’s what we do to ourselves to deplete our mental resources while actively seeing top-ups elsewhere.

So what are these leaks in our lives that deplete us of our natural energy and positivity? Here are some culprits that I’ve observed in my own life. They seem harmless enough yet they can drain our energy resources and leave us exhausted and uninspired.

  1. Relentless comparison with others caused by toxic social life (both in real life and on the internet).
  2. Lack of proper sleep (both quality and quantity).
  3. Lack of physical fitness and agility.
  4. Overwhelming amount of work (both professional and home related) with almost no time to decompress properly.
  5. Inability to sufficiently simplify daily life to be able to enjoy it properly.
  6. Lack of effective ways to diffuse small annoyances so that they don’t build up into giant nags at the back of our mind.
  7. Reduced ability to properly connect with others.
  8. Chasing too many goals and impossible dreams without knowing why.
  9. Lack of self awareness. Refusing to accept that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.
  10. Constantly looking for external sources of inspiration. External inspiration only works in small doses — and only once in a while. In the end we must find personal reasons to stay inspired.
  11. Lastly, the mistaken notion that inspiration means excitement, exhilaration or goal setting.

Inspiration is not a high that we can seek outside. It is a slow strength that we must cultivate inside.

Inspiration means negotiating with our own resistance and laziness. Everyday.

Inspiration means finding the right reasons to do what we do, so that we can keep on doing it without too much pain and drama.

Inspiration is subjective, so we cannot live by someone else’s standards and expect to feel inspired within. Not for long anyway.



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Hello! I write on how to learn, grow, communicate and lead. I am no authority. I write as I learn about life. And I am always learning. I live in Berlin, DE.