by Meade Peers McCoy
I am fascinated by the different ways and places that people find inspiration: inspiration to solve problems, create something new, or to just get through that paper for class. One of the reasons I am so enthralled with the idea of where ideas come from is that I am continuously trying to find new ways to create those eureka moments.
One of my favorite places to find inspiration is TED videos. Seeing other people talk about their ideas with passion and conviction helps me form my own new ideas. Author Steven Johnson (whose TED talk is one of my favorites) says that good ideas are not born in a vacuum that they are fed by other people’s ideas; little pieces of information that we learn in passing, stick around in our subconscious until they can be part of a bigger idea, until they help create a light bulb moment. For me, watching TED videos, reading newspapers (I’m a news addict), talking to people who don’t work in Training and Development, helps to provide me with little bits and pieces that eventually come together to help me solve problems I’m encountering at work, or come up with a new and interesting way of delivering an idea (instructional design).
Being able to identify where you find inspiration gives you the key to finding your own eureka moment. If you know that walking through an art museum, listening to music, or people watching on the street helps you to come up with ideas, solve problems, or see something in a totally new way, then next time you’re stuck you can do what helps you make that connection.
There is power in being able to create your own light bulb moment; it will help you to be a problem solver and an innovator. Finding your inspiration is an intoxicating feeling; you feel engaged in the moment and possibilities seem endless. Being truly inspired helps you to connect with your work on a whole different level; it can create a sense of flow. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of Flow as described by Daniel Pink in his book Drive “Flow describes those exhilarating moments when we feel in control, full of purpose, and in the zone.” (Pink, Kindle Locations 2411-2412). This is what it can feel like when you are working on something and inspiration hits.
We talk a lot about actors and artists looking for inspiration, but how often do we talk about trainers, managers, and employees in cubicles needing to find inspiration? I took TRDV 437 Creativity in the Workplace this year and it brought the need to see all jobs as creative jobs starkly to light. For most anyone to excel in their career they will need to apply creative thinking on the job, the need for creativity is in everything; how does a nurse deal with a difficult patient, how does an office manager resolve a scheduling conflict, and how does a trainer explain a concept that is confusing participants, without creative thinking?
Take some time to try and identify where you find inspiration; can you recreate those situations in the future? Is there a way to condense the experience to make it less time consuming? Or portable? Find a way to duplicate an experience that has inspired you in the past.
Johnson, Steven. “Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from | Video on TED.com.” TED: Ideas worth spreading. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2013. <http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from.html>.
Pink, Daniel H. (2009-12-24). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Kindle Locations 2411-2412). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.