Analytical 11: Inspiration

24 February, 2017


Are all people, events or places constructively inspirational or are they distractionally inspirational, and how we can tell which to explore.

Transcript available
[Music] Everything can be improved, iterated and refined. And if you don't think that's true, maybe you haven't analyzed it enough. Calculated Choices, carefully considered, absolutely analytical. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network. To support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page. page. And for other great shows, visit today. Inspiration. I mean, what actually is inspiration? I was thinking about it recently. The dictionary definition says that it's someone or something that gives you ideas for doing something. Horribly, horribly, badly worded. So, I'd actually kind of like to just revise that a little bit. I think it really should say, or I'd like to extend it a little bit and polish it a little bit say. It's a person, object or event that stimulates your imagination, enthusiasm or provides renewed motivation. So the person bit, you know, a person that is inspirational, it's kind of a bit obvious. Maybe the other two need a bit more discussion. Objects, you know, it could be natural like the Grand Canyon or artificially constructed like the National Space Station or the pyramids. example of a Grand Canyon inspired me to go for a hike down into it on a blindingly hot day with no provisions and just a small water bottle. That didn't go so well, but at the end of the day, I learned what water intoxication was. It's not that pleasant. Probably wasn't the best example. A better example might be Andy Thomas. Now, some people that are Australian would know that Andy Thomas is the only Australian-born astronaut in history. He was inspired by NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. That was in the 60s and 70s, of course. He went from a schoolboy in Adelaide in South Australia. He studied mechanical engineering right there, got his PhD there, and then he packed up and left for America. He became a US citizen, joined NASA, and spent 177 days in space across five shuttle missions and had a stay on the Mir space station. That's a That's a very abbreviated career, a lot more to it than that. Very interesting guy. But the point is, it inspired Andy. Space and the space race and those missions, Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, they inspired Andy and drove his life choices in a very direct way. With perseverance, he achieved what he set out to achieve. I suppose thinking about what inspiration really is, is it's an idea. The problem I have with the idea of inspiration is that if you're looking for inspiration, it's almost not the point. Well, it's not solely the point. People say that people that want inspiration, they're actually looking for an ongoing inspiration. They want something that's going to inspire them to provide a drive and a motivation, And that needs to continue and help them to continue whenever the frustrations, boredom even, or other pressing priorities derail their previous motivation. They have a goal, they're trying to get to it. They're working hard to get towards it. Things get in the way, get derailed. What is going to be the ongoing drive, the ongoing inspiring drive that's going to keep you on track and keep you motivated? That's what people really want. They don't want a little bit here, a little bit there. I mean, in my life, I've met people, I've read articles, I've seen presentations, lectures, I've watched other people succeed in different areas of their lives, and many of them individually are very inspirational. But what I found is that most of them aren't eternally inspirational. I mean, that is to say the inspiration that they provided dries up and the motivation ends. And then you're out of momentum, at least from that inspiration, that source of inspiration. And I think what you really need aren't so much individual moments of inspiration, I think, but sort of rather a greater inspiration to an ultimate goal. This dovetails a little bit with episode one about having goals in some ways, anyhow. One of the things that I do find a little bit irritating is that you'll come across these people that are motivational speakers and they come and go, seems to be a regular cyclic thing. And they're convincing, they're very convincing, they present very well. And then when they move on, you sort of find yourself briefly inspired. Well, these are the following things that help this motivational speaker motivate themselves to succeed, or this is something that they did that was very useful for them. And you sort of, you try that and hope that that inspiration will stick with you, and then you find that their method that they used or the ideas that they had just don't work for you. And then, of course, the inspiration is gone. Ultimately, it passes. So that got me thinking about why and what exactly we as individuals really get long-term, reliable motivation from. And it comes back to a simple idea. The only truly lasting inspiration that we as individuals tend to hang onto are our own dreams. I want to say dreams, I don't mean passing in the night. I don't mean like pie in the sky dreams, but the dreams of who we would rather be, the things that we really want to have. Sometimes we don't know why, sometimes we do, you know, but the dreams of the people that we would rather be surrounded by or the things that we want to build, create, those dreams are the dreams that we crave. want to realise more than anything else. Now, there are always going to be minor inspirations along the way. But only those that further our own internal direction will ever present any lasting value. I suppose if the other inspirations that we come across in our lives aren't aligned with our own direction, they're not really good directions to be inspired. In fact, they're almost like inspirational distractions. They appear to be exciting. They have all the elements of something that we feel like we should be investigating. We should try this thing. They seem new and wonderful and you're really into it. But ultimately, they fail. So many times I've heard artists, developers, creators. I mean, we all create things, sometimes we just don't realise it. But people that do this and have to do this as they're living, that they're an author that has to write, a painter that has to paint. You know, even programming, if you're a sole independent developer and all of your existing applications are no longer selling, what's the next big idea? And so you sit there and you think, what am I going to do? What's a problem I can solve? What sort of inspiration can I draw? They're "waiting for inspiration to strike". But the longer I think about it, I'm just I'm not sure that that actually makes sense. I don't think that you should wait on the world to give you inspiration or for some random event to occur or to sit in some lecture theatre or the audience of some inspirational speaker and hope that that will be inspiring. or walk out in the woods, the Grand Canyon, or look at the stars. You shouldn't wait on the world or other things or other people to give you inspiration. You should be your own inspiration. Own your own dreams and own your own inspiration. Make your strongest dreams a reality the best way that you can. And then I think you might realize that inspiration from other people isn't what you think. It's just the realization that you've just had that if those other people can follow their dreams, then maybe so can you. If you're enjoying Analytical and you want to support the show, you can. Like some of our backers, Ivan, Daniel Dudley, and Chris Stone. They, and many others, are patrons of the show via Patreon, and you can find it at, all one word. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's very much appreciated. Accept nothing. Question everything. It's always a good time to analyze something. I'm John Chidjie. Thanks so much for listening. [MUSIC PLAYING] [Music]
Duration 9 minutes and 59 seconds Direct Download

Show Notes

Links of potential interest:

Premium supporters have access to high-quality, early released episodes with a full back-catalogues of previous episodes


John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.