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Did you ever wonder where ideas come from? Did you ever wonder how ideas get started? Did you ever wonder why ideas seem to come out of nowhere?

Much has been written about creativity and innovation. Even more is written about planning and execution. What about inspiration? Isn’t inspiration where it all begins? Isn’t inspiration at the root of all new ideas, creations, and innovations? Why, then, is inspiration so underestimated and underrated?

What about inspiration? Are sources of inspiration random? Can we cultivate inspiration? Is inspiration a special gift or is it something that can be manufactured? In our software-centric world might we expect an algorithm for producing inspiration?

The short answer is no.

Inspiration is personal. Inspiration is what you see, what you feel, and what moves you. You can’t manufacture that.

What can you do to facilitate inspiration? You can pay closer attention. You can be more aware of what you see and what you hear. You can connect a little bit deeper to what you relate to. You can be more in tune with what stops you, and especially to what makes you think.

Inspiration is everywhere and anywhere. It’s around us all the time. Can you teach yourself to be more aware and more open to what clicks, what resonates, and what inspires you? Perhaps. Is one person more capable of being inspired than another? Probably. But doesn’t everyone have an equal chance of being inspired? Absolutely.

Sparks that lead to inspiration are created equal. It’s what you do as a result of inspirational moments that truly separates one person from the rest.

Here are two very different examples of inspiration at work. The first is from business and technology. The second is from sport.

Steve Jobs saw many of the same things other people saw. He did many of the same things other people did. The difference was he was both open to inspiration and courageous enough to act with great determination on what inspired him.

Many of us watched the pitching performance of San Francisco Giant Barry Zito these past two weeks during baseball’s league championship and Word Series. How did a player who lost his winning touch for three years suddenly find his old magic by pitching his team to victory in two critical games? What inspired Barry to be Barry again?

Each of us has the potential to tap the power of inspiration. We simply need to be more open. We need to create the mental and emotional space to be inspired. But we also need to be more passionate and more determined about pursuing where inspiration leads us.

The process of sensing, thinking, and acting on your inspirations could make all the difference. And it just might inspire others, too.

Thomas Butta 

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