I refuse to die in someone else’s comfort zone. – Anonymous
Inspiration is the purest and most powerful source of human motivation. It is the fuel for persisting and the power to face down the fear of failure.
We can also be motivated by the negative energy of fear, regrets, or the should’s imposed by the influence of other people or social groups whose approval we need to get or to keep. We may feel motivated by what appears to be positive energy; but it is really our infatuation with another person’s apparent success. Neither of these are healthy expressions of our truest-self from inside out.
To feel “inspired” is a wonderful feeling. Our ability to tap into that energy is limited by the degree we have not learned to live with a sense we might fail. Resistance of all kinds comes along with inspiration.
In fact, one form of self-sabotaging resistance comes in the false belief, “If it’s really an inspiration then it will be automatic or easy to achieve.” Resistance sets us up to give up when we experience the inevitable discrepancy between what we hoped for and the hard process of making it happen.
Persistence to see the light
The archetypal story about facing failure with persistence is Thomas Edison’s experience of over 700 failures to create an incandescent light bulb. He persisted by living with the apparent failures and reframing them as learning 700 things that did not work. The resistance he faced was not simply his internal fears, but the external pressure of peers who ridiculed him.
We are frequently surprised by external resistance from friends and family about our choice to make a healthy choice based on our inspiration (losing weight, going back to school, changing jobs, etc.). Acting on our inspiration challenges people in our life who know that a similar choice would be good for them, but the fear of failure and resistance stops them.
Live your inspiration
Our acting on inspiration can be an unconscious source of shame to them and they feel compelled to suggest what we are doing is foolish, dangerous or imply it will put the relationship with them at risk. We have to decide to act on our truest-self’s inspiration and move outside our comfort zone or to allow others to imprison us in theirs.
Living our inspiration is quite distinct from the agenda that our culture’s suggestion that ambition is what life is all about. As important as ambition is for getting the first-half of life started, living our inspiration will mean relinquishing ambition and success and our primary sense of worth and value.
For some of us it takes a crisis to wake us up to this reality. Many of us come to see it only in the second-half of life. Paradoxically, it means choosing to act on our inspiration (our soul’s vocation) in the face of potential failure and resistance where there is no assurance of success, being honored or validated.
Where we choose to do what inspiration calls us toward for the sake of doing it – with the freedom to play, sacrifice, and participate in the mystery we are.