How to Make the Most From Your Role Models and Inspirations
Most of us have a role model of some sort, and in many cases, we would cite our parents as being inspirational to us growing up. Effectively, the people who raise us and the adults around us will provide us with a blueprint for successful adulthood, and this, in turn, helps us to make decisions regarding who we want to be and what we want to aspire to.
But beyond this, we might have other inspirational figures in our lives. We might find role models in celebrities or even fictional characters. Perhaps you aspire to be like Barack Obama. Maybe you always thought of yourself as demure and multitalented like Nicole Kidman. Maybe you’re a fast runner like Sonic the Hedgehog.
Wherever you find your inspiration, role models can be a force for great good, but also potentially damaging. Read on, and we’ll look at some tips to help ensure they fall firmly into the former camp.
Nobody is Perfect
The first thing to realize is that nobody is perfect. Taking inspiration from someone is one thing, but hero worship is quite the opposite. What’s important here is that you recognize the limitations of your chosen idol, and don’t put them on a pedestal. Don’t be blind to their flaws, emulate aspects of their character, but be wise enough to learn from their mistakes.
If your personal hero is Arnold Schwarzenegger, don’t see that as a license to sleep with your maid and sire illegitimate children. Emulate his charm, charisma, and entrepreneurial drive only.
For this reason, it’s also a good idea to have more than one role model and to borrow aspects from each of them, while injecting something uniquely your own.
Another thing to avoid is comparing yourself to others. Role models can help give us vision and inspiration, but in some cases, they can also damage our self-esteem if we compare our success with theirs directly. Try looking for role models who are a similar body type or who work in the same industry. This way, you will find there’s potentially more you can learn from them, and you can emulate them more closely.
Finally, be your own person! Remember, somewhere out there is someone who considers you to be their role model. So, make sure you acknowledge what an inspiration you already are.
How to Make the Most From Your Role Models and Inspirations
How to Find Inspiration in Nature
Most of us would admit to finding a sunset somewhat moving and possibly inspirational. Few of us can walk past a beautifully red and purple sky without stopping to take a look and probably upload a picture to Instagram. The same can be said of star-filled skies and crashing waves.
But what is it about nature that we find so beautiful and so inspirational? Why are poets, artists, and musicians drawn to these scenes? And how can you use this to encourage more creativity in your own life?
Why We Find Nature Beautiful
It’s a mistake to say that we find nature beautiful in particular. In fact, we can just as easily experience a sense of awe looking at man-made things. Try climbing to the top of a high building and looking out over the skyline of a city, and see how you feel. Likewise, many of us would express a sense of awe looking at the pyramids.
We feel awe, reverence, and wonder when we see things that we find hard to fathom and that we can’t quite take in all at once. Things incredibly intricate, incredibly beautiful, or incredibly vast all create a sense of being small in a university full of incredible possibilities. Research shows that this is a universal feeling, even shared by some animals, and that it appears to be beneficial for any species as a whole as it encourages altruism and community. Researchers often call these moments ‘peak experiences’.
Where the Inspiration Comes In
So why does this lead to inspiration?
The key thing to recognize is that peak experiences involve novelty and scale. They light up lots of areas of our brain as we struggle to comprehend the entirety of what we’re seeing. This lighting up of the brain results in lots of memories, ideas, and thoughts flowing all at once and this is often said to be the perfect condition for ideas to emerge.
At the same time, beautiful scenes and majestic sights trigger the release of neurotransmitters that make us feel relaxed and exhilarated at the same time. Again, this puts us in a state that is conducive to creative thought and mental experimentation.
How to Harness Peak Experiences
So how do you harness these peak experiences to trigger more innovation and creativity in your life? One way to do this is to subject yourself to more beauty. Go on walks, travel the world, even just spend some time on Google images! Another is to try and appreciate the majesty in even your smallest moments. When you see a flower bloom for the first time, or when you see a swarm of bees, stop to think of all that it represents and of the intricate beauty therein. The greatest poets are those who can see inspiration in all they survey.
Five Effective Ways to Get Inspiration
Lost for inspiration? Here are five techniques you can use to try and coax something new and exciting out of your brain! They won’t always work, but give them a go, and you might just be surprised.
Going for a Walk is a Great Way to Get Inspiration
Walks are inspiring for a number of reasons. For starters, they allow us to take a break from what we’re doing and to change our environment. In turn, this leads to new input that can help us to gain new perspective on whatever problem or task we’re wrestling with.
At the same time, walking is a monotonous task that allows our default mode network to kick in. This, essentially, means that we’re daydreaming, which is, often, a source of great inspiration.
Ask the Right Questions
Sometimes, inspiration is just about asking the right questions, which can help to reframe the problem you’re facing in order to look at it in a new way. For instance, if you’re wondering how to solve a problem and you can’t come up with an answer, try asking yourself how ‘Johnny’ would approach it. Likewise, instead of thinking about what you want something to be, decide what you don’t want it to be.
Take a Break
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to spark some creativity or solve a problem is to take a break. This way, you stop trying to force the idea, which simply creates stress, and instead, you simply let it come to you now that you’ve entered all your input. This is why we’re often encouraged to sleep on big decisions.
Listen to Music
Music can be highly inspiring as it alters our mood and energy level and takes us to different places. Often, you’ll find that music can leave you lost in thought, so try listening to some tracks while you mull over a subject, and see if that helps.
Talk it Over
There’s a myth that ideas take the form of lightbulbs or lightning strikes and that they come in a flash, fully formed. Actually, when questioned, most people admit that their best ideas formulated slowly, that they gestated for days, months, or even years before emerging.
Often, the best ideas are not formed in isolation either but rather when we discuss them with other people. Even if we’re just thinking aloud, this can help us to see new perspectives and will often result in new breakthroughs.
Focus on the Benefits, Not Difficulties, to Stay Motivated
Staying motivated when trying to reach a goal is one of the most difficult things to do. The long-term goal can seem too far off and difficult to reach. A better option to stay motivated is to focus on short-term benefits along the way.
We’ve all had them. Goals we set that we never achieve. Over the years, setting and sticking to them has been difficult. You might have tried to write a book. Or lose weight. Or start a business. Or any number of other personal or business goals.
The cause of the failures could be that your motivation wanes when you begin facing difficulties.
Why should you focus on the benefits? Here are five reasons:
- Focusing on the benefits helps you see the reason you are working so hard. For example, after working out, when you’re exhausted, you feel grateful. Your stress levels have been reduced, and you feel cleansed and happy.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal gives you a sense of accomplishment. For example, a healthy lifestyle is a benefit of eating healthful foods and exercising. The difficulties to this is having to give up your favorite sugary snacks or getting off the couch to exercise more. It’s easier to fall back into the old pattern if it seems that your goal is too far off.
- When things become difficult, you are tempted to quit. By focusing on the benefits of your goal, you can see the reasons you want to continue. Your difficulties will seem less. For example, let’s say you are trying to reach a particular financial goal. Instead of seeing how far you are from the desired amount or how long it is taking to achieve it, focus on the positive net worth changes every week.
- Losing weight is a very difficult goal. Focusing on the benefits of losing weight can help you stay motivated to exercise. For example, you will reduce your risks for certain diseases, and lower your blood pressure so you won’t have to take medication. You’ll be more active and feel better about yourself.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal instead of the difficulties allows you to focus solely on one specific step of the goal. For example you overall goal is to run a marathon. One of the steps is to run 3 miles a day. The benefit from this individual step is that your resting heart rate has improved, your body has become leaner and your stamina has improved.
By focusing on the benefits, or the way our goals are helping us make positive changes, we are more likely to stay motivated to achieve those goals. Every goal you try to achieve will have difficulties at some point. It can be as simple as not knowing what to do next when you hit a roadblock or as daunting as having technical problems throw a wrench in your work. When these difficulties happen, it’s important to take another look at your goal and look at all the rewards and benefits you will get once it’s achieved.
Tweet: Don’t toss in the towel when a monkey throws a wrench in your goals. Look at the benefits of the end result.
How Daily Reading Helps Your Motivation
No one can change or move forward in their lives without some kind of help. It might be help in the form of a coach or mentor to help you grow. It could be support from friends and family who keep you motivated. Another form of help is reading about whatever you want to change daily to stay motivated.
How can reading about something keep you motivated?
Reading blogs and books about the very thing you want to change helps you learn the way others have overcome that same problem and met their goals. Reading gives you inspiration to continue striving toward your own goal. It gives you the ideas and steps you need to take to reach a certain goal.
Books and blogs are a great way to do some research on what you want to do. Reading about what you want to change or achieve grounds you so you know what to expect. Books about your subject will give ideas about the difficulties you might face while moving forward.
- If you want to lose weight, read about how others have successfully lost weight.
- If you want to build a successful business, read about successful business people.
Knowing what others have experienced in similar situations lets you adapt and try their solutions along with your own. Their stories can help lessen the worries and challenges you might face along the way.
The Types of Reading
Quotes. Reading inspirational quotes daily can motivate you to continue to take action on your goal. Put your favorite quote on your screensaver. Post quotes on your wall or your whiteboard. Have motivational quotes on your smartphone or tablet.
Read motivational books. Books that help you change your way of thinking can be a great source of inspiration when your motivation is failing. Build a library of motivational and personal development books. If you don’t have time to read them all, get them on tape to listen to while driving or walking. Here are a few notable authors with insights on motivation:
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
- Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
- Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders by John Baldoni
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin
Read inspiring stories. Read inspiring stories from others who have already done what you want to achieve, or are in the process of doing it. Read stories on blogs, in magazines and in books. Those who have already achieved what you are attempting can guide you through the pitfalls and give insights on what to expect along the way. You can get inspiration from their struggles and wins.
Reading books about what you want to change daily, or about self-improvement and inspiration, is an excellent way to stay motivated. They can inspire and motivate you to continue.
Tweet: Reading inspirational books and blogs motivates you to continue reaching for your goal.