The word inspiration is often associated with something that’s ‘mentally stimulating’ but it also has another meaning; that is to breathe in. As Derek Sivers puts it, when you combine the meanings it quite poetically symbolises how we continuously breathe in articles, books, and thoughtful content without ever stopping to breathe out. We are endlessly gasping for inspiration.
When we are inspired, we search for the next inspiration thinking there is something else out there that will inspire us even more. More is always better right? Well, not quite. We consume to build up our knowledge base. Therefore, it is quite easy to go by the old saying ‘knowledge is power’ and continue to collect inspirational content. This is wrong. Here is something I discovered recently:
Knowledge ≠ power
Knowledge + action = power
I’ve previously always wanted to read more books, listen to more podcasts, race through double the articles, etc. Whilst all this feels fulfiling, it’s only when I stop to apply what I learn, that I truly leverage the inspiration. The moment we breathe out, we put what we have learnt into action and grow.
“You have to pause the input and focus on your output.” - Derek Sivers
Let’s consider a glass of water. Let’s say the water symbolises the inspirational content. Sure go ahead and fill that glass, but keep filling it and sooner or later you’ll start overflowing. Stop to pour some of that water on your work. Whether that’s creative, business, or personal work, when we apply what we have learnt directly to the task at hand that’s when we level up and become better versions of ourselves.
This realisation allows us to be more intentional with our input. Consider your current needs. What content will best allow you to improve?
For example, I recently posted my first YouTube video. The vast majority of feedback has been mind-blowingly positive. But, I have noticed that I could work on my storytelling technique and delivery. So, to ensure my input is intentional, I’m currently reading Talk Like Ted to get better.
Breathe in to breathe out. Focus on your output.
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