What to do when you feel uninspired

No one feels inspired all the time. Learn to get into a more creative mode and do your best work.

Desired outcome

To be able to do deep, creative work

Level of Difficulty

Medium

Time to Result

20 minutes

Everyone feels uninspired from time to time. This can be frustrating and discouraging, especially when working on something important.

With the right approach, you can rekindle your motivation and creativity.

This personal growth intervention explores some helpful tips and techniques to help you get inspired and get back on track.

First of all, you don’t ‘get’ inspired

Restricting energy flow by trying to control everything.

Imagine a clear flow of water. Now try to direct this flow by making a fist: the more tightly you clinch the fist, the more you will splatter the water all over the place, and the less concentrated the flow will be.

The solution is to open up your hands and allow the water to flow through naturally. The same concept is true when it comes to inspiration.

Contrary to conventional belief, getting inspired is not about adding stuff but about taking away what is blocking your creative energy flow. Inspiration means ‘feeling the force of life within.’

Getting inspired is not about adding stuff but about taking the stuff away that is blocking your creative energy flow.

The force is there, but layers of resistance keep it trapped. Your responsibility is to unblock this flow of creative energy that wants to be expressed.

Creative energy flows in waves

All energy flows in wavelike patterns. A wave has a crest, a trough, an amplitude, and a wavelength.

This simple image gives us a few important insights about the nature of inspiration:

The wavelike pattern of energy flow can teach us something about the nature of inspiration.
  • No one can feel inspired all the time. Creativity rises and falls.

  • After a period of creative work, you pass through a trough before you can have a crest again.

  • After a long period of creative work (longer wavelength), you will need a more extended recovery period.

  • After an intense burst of energy (higher amplitude), you need to recover more drastically.

You can’t break this natural flow.

What is blocking my inspiration?

If inspiration is not something you ‘get’ but about creative energy that needs to be released, what is blocking it?

What walls of resistance do we build that restrict our energy flow?

When feeling uninspired, think about all the layers of resistance that are blocking your creative energy flow.

Below is a list of potential inspiration blockers:

  • Doubt, worry, and other forms of negative thinking and emotions: these states of mind cost energy, which you won't be able to use in the creative process.

  • Focusing on the outcome, perfectionism, fear of failure, or comparing your work with others. You concentrate more on the results you want to achieve than on the process that will deliver those results.

  • Overthinking: you are trying to force the conscious part of your brain to both think and come up with creative solutions, which it's not well-equipped to do.

  • Too much input: when you rely too much on information from outside sources, it can be hard to focus on your own ideas and vision.

  • Unhealthy habits such as not getting enough sleep, eating unhealthy foods, or not exercising all contribute to a lack of motivation and inspiration.

Reversing the process

The great paradox is that the more you try to force inspiration, the less it will come. Forcing creativity is working in reverse. It’s working from the material to the mental to the spiritual plane:

You don't get inspiration and then do the work. You focus on being, and you will get creative quite naturally.

This is the conventional approach:

  1. When I have inspiration (material) = I need to get it FIRST, then;
  2. My mind will be able to do creative work (mental);
  3. And I will be in the state I want to be, f.e. content, calm, and fulfilled (spiritual).

You have to reverse this process:

  1. When I am calm, present, and in a state of surrender (= I might get a good result, or I might not. And I am OK with both possible outcomes = spiritual), then;
  2. My mind will be able to do creative work (mental);
  3. And I will have inspiration (material).

A process for getting out of your mind and finding your inspiration

Decide beforehand that it’s completely OK if inspiration does not come. Surrender to the process. It’s OK if it works, and it’s OK if it doesn’t.

You are not trying to GET something. You are trying to BE in a state from which creative work can arise.

You are being for the sake of being, not for the sake of getting.

The key is to become mindless before you become mindful:

What to do when you feel uninspired steps
What to do when you feel uninspired: a step-by-step process using the way energy flows as our guide.
  • 1

    Get out of your mind

    Take a break from whatever you're working on and do something else for a while, like going for a walk or listening to music.

  • 2

    BE calm

    Sit still and be calm. Close your eyes for a minute. Breathe slow, deep breaths. Feel the calmness spread throughout your body. Stay with this feeling for a few moments. Open your eyes.

  • 3

    Start your work

    Start doing the work you intended to do. Refrain from labeling the quality of your work as good or bad. You are OK with any outcome. Eliminate sensory distractions, as they will distract your mind and limit your creative flow.

  • 4

    Express inspiration

    Sink deeper into your work, feel your creativity grow as your focus builds.

  • 5

    Find flow

    Ideally, you will reach a state of flow in which you lose track of time and space. Your most inspired work happens almost effortlessly. Remember, It's also OK if you don't get there.

  • 6

    Decline

    When you feel your energy decline, it's time for a break.

  • 7

    Repeat

    After a bit of recovery, you can re-cycle through the process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, inspiration is not something that we can force. We need to be in a state of openness and surrender to allow the creative energy to flow.

With patience and practice, it is possible to find the best way to do your deepest work. You just need to look for ways that work for you to express the inspiration that you already have.

Good luck, and keep moving forward!

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