“Inspiration” is funny. Not because there is anything funny about the word per se. It’s just that you cannot predict when it can happen to you. Or more appropriately, ‘what’ may end up inspiring you. Sometimes I wonder why companies keep pushing their leaders to ‘inspire’ employees. Maybe because they feel someone should be accountable for this stuff. However, the truth remains that there are no set conditions under which an individual can be ‘inspired’. Everyone gets inspired differently and in multiple, unpredictable ways. They themselves cannot point to exactly what will inspire them.
I take my example here. I’ve recently taken a liking to the show The Big Bang Theory. Readers familiar with the show might be wondering if I’ve got the inspiration to learn physics all of a sudden (being a Commerce graduate, I can assure you a more beneficial strategy would be to try and figure out the exact repercussions of the 2008 recession and whether or not we’ll have a Wave 2). No, this time around, what has inspired me is Jim Parsons’ magical performance as Dr. Sheldon Cooper, a brilliant, arrogant yet super cute theoretical physicist. Not that I’m henceforth taking up acting lessons. It’s just that while reading up his biography, I stumbled across the fact that he started acting at the age of six and has now won two Emmy awards and one Golden Globe this year. This mere fact reminded me again of my belief of going beyond “doing it right”.
Towards work, my philosophy has always been “Do it great – at least on your part”. When I see examples like Jim Parsons, people who excel in their fields through pure genius and hard work, I am always inspired to do my best at every one of my undertakings too. When I take something up, I don’t know if I’ll be the “best in the world” at it. I actually would never assume that. Far too much time is spent on figuring out how others are performing at the tasks selected by/assigned to them and how we can figure out a way to be better than them. I always believed that if you take that energy and channel it towards whatever it is that you are doing, you will end up saving time and excelling at your stuff at the same time.
I say, the day you realize that you aren’t in competition with anyone but yourself, you will be on the path of excellence. Whatever you are doing, right here, right now in your life, do it great! Be better than you’ve ever been. Aim to compete with yourself, with what you have done before, time after time.
Don’t care about what others are doing. The world is far too large for that. After all, if Jim Parsons had spent his time delivering every shot and wondering about Charlie Sheen’s performance in Two and a Half Men or Alec Baldwin’s role in 30 Rock, I doubt he would’ve been able to deliver the stellar performance that ultimately led to his winning the Golden Globe (for which he incidentally defeated Alec Baldwin).
I never knew I would be inspired by an actor on a TV show. But I have been. One of my previous inspirations was Nicholas Cage’s character in the movie National Treasure (perhaps because that character too was brilliant at whatever it is that I now forget he did). And even by Tintin and his mystery-solving abilities, when I was little.
In the end, all I can say is that it is up to us, the individual, to be open to inspiration from any and all sources and to use that inspiration to give our own personal best at what we do.
I know a lot of people out there who are not open to being ‘inspired’ or ‘motivated’, treating these are variables they don’t want to get dependent upon. I, for one, believe that it’s good to appreciate talent, and to get motivated and inspired by it every once in a while. I love the feeling when it creeps up on me. I treat it as just one those little things in life that keep you going…
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