Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

My week in Austin, Texas has come to an end, and I am one very tired yet inspired girl. I learned so much at the conference for total nerds (SXSWi) that I attended this week. I want to pass as much of that on to you as possible, and so we begin a little series about inspiration. Inspiration is so hard to find, especially when you’re uninspired and unmotivated. As if there was a harder time to seek out inspiration, right? When you’re at your lowest point? So hard! I just got a huge dose of inspiration, so while I’m riding this wave, I’ll try sending some your way. Believe me, before I left I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, and was all “seriously, what is the point”. I mean, we’re talking super uninspired. So it’s possible to turn things around. Let me know what you think, too! If there’s something that really helps you get yourself out of a funk, email or comment. Everyone’s mind works differently, and these are just things that I personally found inspiring. If you’ve got a different take on things, I’d love to hear it.

When someone does something amazing, you can either be inspired by them or madly jealous. Go with inspired as much as you can. For example, Europeans are generally more fashionable than you, no matter what you do. This used to infuriate me. I was in Paris and I was sitting at a café, staring this poor Parisian chick down, just trying to figure out exactly what it was that made her so damn rad looking. They have a name for it: Je ne sais quoi. You can’t figure it out, so stop trying. Or girls with adorable southern accents that can say “hey, y’all” and not sound like idiots. I sound like an idiot, no matter how much I practiced while I was in Texas. In design school, when someone would make something so insanely cool I would be instantly jealous. Going to conferences with people in my field, I was instantly filled with a feeling that I was not as good as them. I figured that if the people that hired me ever met these people there’s no way I’d have a job.

With this in mind, you can imagine my initial feeling last week as I headed off to a conference of amazing designers and other professionals, with a large contingent of Europeans. Recipe for complete self-doubt. Then, the strangest thing happened. It was if I was so overwhelmed with the awesomeness of these people that I couldn’t take it anymore. They started to inspire me. I wasn’t upset about the girl who looked like Uma Thurman, draped in scarves and bad-assery. I was inspired by her confidence and attention to detail with her clothes. That doesn’t sound so unattainable, right? Then I went to a presentation that was run by a woman who, I’m not kidding you, is living out pretty much all of my dreams. Like, if she’s ever held a baby gorilla on top of everything else she’s done, she would be able to check every one of my life goals off of my list. But listening to her, I wasn’t overwhelmed with guilt that I’m not living every second of every day like it’s my last and saving the world like I want to. I was just inspired to start. She had a goal, an idea, like so many of us do. The difference is that she did it. It wasn’t magic. She ran into tons of setbacks. But she had this vision and she charged ahead, no matter how crazy it seemed. I wanted to jump up and yell “hell YES girlfriend” but it wasn’t really that type of crowd.

If I can leave you with one thought, it’s this: what if you turned every moment of jealousy into an opportunity for inspiration. Just turn that train around. I’m not the type of person who sees the girl who is dating my ex and thinks “man, she looks so pretty and it’s great that she’s doing so well, I can really see why he loves her, etc”. Sorry. I’m not Ghandi, nor am I trying to be. I’m just trying to happy, and I’m finding that the more I use people’s successes to fill my own well of inspiration, the happier I am. So don’t hate, y’all.




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“A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.” I started thinking about nouns the other day while I was tutoring. My 6 year old sidekick was asking about them, and I got nervous, as I always do when asked to do something besides read or demonstrate the proper way to carry scissors. As the day went on, and I kept thinking about the weight those types of words carry, I came to realize how often we ignore the “ideas”, as if they’re not as important as the “person, place or thing” part. Grammar and happiness aren’t usually correlated so directly in my mind, but give me a chance to explain.

Do you remember learning about nouns? I remember warm, humming overhead projectors displaying transfers that read “A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. It was 2nd grade, Mrs. Feldman’s class. It made enough sense that an idea could be a noun. It’s a thing. You can have it, you can give it away, and it can be beautiful of ugly.  Still, it seemed like an afterthought, tacked at the end, because they had nowhere else to go.

I spend so much time in my head, dreaming away, but I feel like I don’t give my ideas as much credit as the other nouns, like “my job” or “my artwork.” What’s that all about? There are so many beautiful ideas out there that; some we turn into tangible things, some we don’t. Think about a story. It’s just an idea but when you hear or read a beautiful story, it has substance. You wake up with an amazing vision of building a bright blue chicken coop in your backyard. You know nothing about animal husbandry, your city’s stance on urban farming, or the construction of simple structures. It’s beautiful though. Whether or not you do it, it’s your idea and it’s worth celebrating. It lives in your mind until it lives in your backyard. It may never live in your backyard.  Sometimes, when I have an idea for something I want to make or do, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling of premature disappointment, already doubting that the idea will come to fruition. What if, by letting your mind wander, imagining amazing places and adventures and creative expressions without any self-doubt, it already has come to fruition in a way? It’s something already. It’s an idea. You can make it tangible if you want to, if you can, if you’re ready.

So don’t get too stuck on the physical stuff, okay? Your beautiful ideas can stay in your mind, as fantasies to escape to on long car rides, or they can serve as inspiration for your next amazing feat. Feed your pretty thoughts, try weird stuff, and give your ideas a chance. Example: I want to live on a goat farm sell goat cheese, and teach children to paint out of amazing refurbished airstream trailer with a tree growing out of the middle. I love this idea. It might be really nuts. I just love having it. I can carry it around with me as I go through my day. It inspires me to figure out how cheese is made, and to giggle when I see pictures of goats, and to try to sneak in as much drawing as I can when I tutor; but honestly, it hasn’t done that much more than that. But it’s free, and it’s positive, and that’s a pretty decent combination if you ask me.

Just an idea for you.

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