How are you doing on your new year’s resolution? Have you ever had powerful motivation to do something and then just lost it? Unfortunately, it happens rather easily, and it happens to us all, all the time. Because inspiration is breath, not birth.
The Guru Dilemma
I’ve known several fans of the “thought gurus” – business or self-improvement masterminds who write bestselling books promising to change lives and who pack stadiums with people eager to experience that life-changing spark in person. I had never gotten into these books myself, thinking, if these books are so great, why do there have to be so many of them? If Tony Robbins really nailed it, why did he go on to write more books after books? Shouldn’t it just work? Like, the first time, like they promise?
Then I worked for a guru fan, saw his vast library, and even borrowed a couple of the books. I was curious. I was ready to learn. I was also at the point in my life when I decided to become a speaker, which was kind of like deciding to be one of these guys who writes these books. I had to make peace with my unfavorable opinion of them.
I observed this former boss. I watched his library grow, saw him flying across the country to attend workshops on self-improvement, and I finally discovered the big answer to my objection. It came as I realized this is just something he needed to do once in a while, to stay inspired. And it was integral to his incredible success as a business owner.
Later, as I made my own way as a speaker, I had to fall back on my past realization. I was having doubts, as we tend to do. I was wondering how much good I was actually doing. Was I really changing lives? Then I remembered that boss, and all his trips, and I realized I was changing lives. But I was changing lives by being just one part of a larger process. Because inspiration is breath, not birth.
What it Means to Breathe
Birth is a one-time thing. You’re born, and then you live your life. That’s it. No need to go back and do it again. Breath, however, is a constant necessity. If you don’t keep breathing, you die. My flawed thinking was that inspiration should be like birth. That you get it one time, and you’re good to go. All set be inspired for all the years to come. But looking back on all those abandoned resolutions, and thinking of the man who’ll fly to another coast just to hear a famous author speak, we all know a one-time blast of inspiration is not everlasting.
Inspiration needs to be treated like breathing. Inspiration must be sought constantly, regularly, rhythmically, the same as we take in oxygen. When I speak or lead a workshop, attendees are treated to a refreshing, vitalizing breath of inspiration. I encourage them to go on and seek more, though. Otherwise, that inspiration will die. Attend more workshops; read bold and intelligent books; converse with role models; go see art. Take deep breaths.
And don’t forget that half the part of breathing is exhaling. As you breathe in the divine wind of inspiration, it’s just as important to let it out. Share what inspires you; be an inspiring person; make art.
Inspiration to Go
So, breathe in. I’ll get you started. A quick easy breath is one of my favorite pop songs lately, by the magnificent Sia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvCpqoA42qA. If that’s not your speed, here’s one of my favorite opera arias (the real magic starts four minutes in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy4v_rXjBjQ
Then breathe out. Your exhale is up to you. (But hey, sharing this blog, if it inspired you, would be a good one!)
Whatever you do, just keep breathing, because inspiration is breath, not birth. Keep breathing, and you’ll live an inspired life until your very last!