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The Little Guide to Inspiration

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”—Jack London

“Too often we miss beautiful sources of inspiration, because we’re too busy thinking about other things.”

We all have days when we’re just not very inspired, when we need passion and creativity breathed into us. I know I do.

For anyone who needs a little shove, whose creativity has dried up, who needs to be moved… I humbly offer this simple guide.

While I never claim to have all the answers, nor that my way is the only way, I share here some things I’ve learned about inspiration, some tricks I’ve learned that work for me.

I’m often in need of inspiration, but in all cases I’ve found it. And it’s a wonderful thing.


Many people think of it as an elusive quality that can’t be forced, and yet it can be found if you look for it.

Others think it’s a way to find ideas, but it’s more than ideas… it’s being moved to put those ideas into action.

Inspiration is finding something else that is divinely inspired (people, nature, amazing ideas), having that inspiration breathed into you (“breath” is the root of “inspiration”), and then taking action on it. Creating, doing, inspiring others.


Inspiration is just about everywhere you can look, if you’re looking for it. That’s the key: to keep your eyes open. Too often we miss beautiful sources of inspiration, because we’re too busy thinking about other things.

Be observant. See everything around you as a possible source of inspiration.

Some possible sources of inspiration:
Blogs, books, magazines, films, people around you, nature, children, art, music, history, exercise, religion, great projects, dreams, social media, photographs, forums, google, success stories, life, everywhere…
Just keep your eyes open, at all times, staying present whenever possible, and allow yourself to breathe in that inspiration.


Inspiration isn’t just a one-time thing. You’ll need it on a regular basis.

When you practice the above method—keeping your eyes open, staying present, and breathing in inspiration—you get better at it. It becomes a skill you can use at any time, and you’ll use it often.

Some tips for keeping the inspiration coming:
  1. Work with inspired people—one of the best ways to stay inspired is to work with creative, energetic, positive people.

  2. Read daily—varied things, from blogs to magazines to books of all kinds.

  3. Get outside—nature is one of the biggest inspirations, and you’ll miss it if you’re inside all day.

  4. Talk with new people—they’ll always expose you to new and interesting things, if you’re open to it.

  5. Break out of your routine—see things from a different perspective. Take a new route home. Go to a new restaurant. Visit someplace new in your area.

  6. Find time for silence—it’s more inspiring than you might think. Unfortunately, not enough of us do it.

  7. Exercise—or at least get moving. It helps the blood to circulate, and gets ideas moving around. My most inspired thoughts come during runs.


Don’t just feel inspired. Take this inspiration and use it, be moved, and do something. Channel that inspiration into creating something amazing.

Put that something out into the world, and in turn, you will inspire others.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”—Vincent van Gogh

Cover image and top image from Shutterstock

This is a cross-post from zenhabits.

Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog (according to TIME magazine) with 200,000 subscribers, mnmlist.com,, and the best-selling books focus, The Power of Less, and Zen To Done. Babauta is a former journalist of 18 years, a husband, father of six children, and in 2010 moved from Guam to San Francisco, where he leads a simple life. He started Zen Habits to chronicle and share what he's learned while changing a number of habits.

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