On a typical gloomy day, I was sitting in my room trying to figure out the meaning of the word inspiration. Lighting struck continuously, I saw it clearly before me. My thoughts started venting: the word inspiration is powerful, it could change the course of your life. However, it is similar to lighting: truly subjective to each individual. It comes and goes as quickly. If you don’t act upon the spark that ignites at the moment, It is rare to find and catch the same lighting. The Earth is still turning, flowers are blooming, you and I have roles in society. Inspiration is what drives us to be a better version of ourselves but fear of failing can hamper us from facing our true inspiration.
As a first-year law student, things could easily become overwhelming especially before an exam. Let’s face it, Thai society leaves such little room for making mistakes. Our society nowadays is obsessed with becoming extraordinary at everything. It is not our fault we feel this way, the mass media are showing the best of the best, highlighting reels of people, the most effective way to study, how to become successful, etc. It has made us feel somewhat not enough, that we should strive for more in everything. To become exceptional. Sometimes we forget to take a step back and look at how far we have come. We are constantly looking for the next best thing to accomplish. Failure has become something we want to avoid at all costs. However, failure is part of the learning process.
Without failing we can never truly master our goals. As Mark Manson said “We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we are unwilling to fail, then we are unwilling to succeed.” This can be applied to many things in life. We have to start somewhere even if it means that we are taking baby steps towards our goal. It is only natural to feel anxious when we fail. It is psychological growth. For example, if I want to become a strong athlete, pain is what builds stronger muscles. It goes the same way for emotional pain, “one must suffer from emotional pain to develop better emotional resilience” as mentioned by Mark Manson. Even if you fail the debate class in the first semester, it doesn’t mean that you will forever stay stagnant in that area. To become familiarized with the hardship you face, it truly boils down to how worthy and good enough you feel within yourself. This new path we have just entered will not be easy and the process of learning is painful. It is inevitable to avoid the ups and downs. Therefore, learn to lean against it and go with the flow. Since we cannot please everyone nor make everyone satisfied with our actions. Your self-worth should be based upon things you have done and your own happiness.
Things you can do to regain your inspiration.
There are various ways to regain the inspiration you have lost. In this article, I would like to focus on what scholars can do.
Work in different settings
Places like libraries, co-working spaces, and cafes. When working in a setting where everyone is working, it stimulates the sense of belonging in the same environment. Hence, you are more likely to push yourself to be productive.
Fill yourself with new possibilities
Inspiration is not going to emerge from thin air. It is the endeavor that leads to inspiration. Setting your mind to try something new such as roaming around the city to put your mind at ease or seeking new opportunities to fulfill your curiosity through books, podcasts, or online newsletter can help generate new inspiration. For me too much repetition can eventually turn into a tiresome routine.
Share your inspiration with friends.
Inspiration is not solid. It can last longer when shared with friends. People could get inspired by your completely different ideas and perspectives. Research has shown that people perform better when their ideas are shared with others. Sharing can enhance our willpower to make inspiration into actions.
Lastly, the word inspiration comes from the word inspirare which, in Latin means to breathe into. So whatever you are stressing about right now, take your time and breathe into the moment. Embrace failure as a form of what pushes you forward, not what thwarts you to stop improving. After all, like Murakami said “Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.” Life is like the storm it blows in and out of your tiny little space and for some days it comes with lighting that can alter the direction of your life depending on your willingness to embrace the hardship to find your true inspiration.
Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a f*Ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. Harper Paperbacks, 2019.
Murakami, Haruki, et al. Kafka on the Shore. Japan, Naxos Audiobooks, september,12 2002.
David, Brooks. “What is inspiration”, New York times, April 15, 2016.