Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The people who find out why they’re here are the ones who experience the fullness of life. The rest of their lives become the best of their life and they live an inspired life.
We are all on a journey to find our purpose. Some are passive waiters, living their day-to-day lives by going with the flow. Others are active-seekers. They look for information, seek guidance, and pursue passions. Whether you’re a passive waiter or an active seeker, one thing is for sure. Once you find something that inspires you, it can pull you to a different life.
An inspired life is the act of identifying a personal vision and the progress you make towards it. It’s not about living your “best life” because reaching that isn’t the primary goal. If that were true, we would all bask in our past glories and not feel “stuck.” In reality, when we reach our goals, we immediately look for a bigger one. And it’s because the goal of life isn’t achievement but growth.
Living an inspired existence is the solution to loneliness. Especially today when loneliness is more prevalent to young adults and more and more people turn to Social Media for quick fixes. It’s the path to living life to the fullest.
The Difference Between An Inspiring Life and An Inspired Life
You know you’re living an inspiring life when people look at you and see what they can become. You radiate a ray of hope that lights other people’s fire. When you’ve been through difficult moments, overcome them, and live to tell your tales, you inspire others.
On the other hand, an inspired life is looking at your life and feeling excited about what you can become. It’s having a personal vision so vividly defined and designed, it pulls you towards completion. Something that lights a fire in your belly. And an inspired life fuels you to overcome hardships, knowing that whatever you’re going through will be worth it.
You may not always get to inspire others, but you can always inspire yourself. An inspiring life, therefore, is a by-product of finding something that inspires you.
“Why Bother? What’s In It For Me?”
Having a life that inspires you has many benefits aside from accomplishing your goals. More importantly, it allows you to be the best person you can be. It develops your character, which is really the only thing you’re reminded of.
But before knowing the benefits and how you can find what inspires you, we need to know what the heck inspiration is. One of the best definitions I’ve ever come across is that of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s. He said that when you separate “inspiration” into two words, it will literally mean “in spirit.”
When you are inspired, it fills your spirit with a multitude of positive emotions that shape your character. Emotions that most people crave yet they keep looking at the wrong things.
So what are these benefits (emotions and character) that I’m talking about? Living an inspired (in spirit) life allows you to develop these things:
- Peace and Lasting Joy
- Patience and Persistence
While most people course through life waiting to discover their passion, the inspired ones choose to love what they do. They love the practice, the daily showing up to make things happen. They know that they can never directly influence the output but they can control their input.
Aside from that, they are filled with love and compassion in their life and it overflows in their relationships. They work with their spouse, partners, friends, family, or relatives to strengthen their bond. They look at others with compassion and understanding, not with a condescending and “I’m better than you” attitude.
Peace and Lasting Joy
A long life doesn’t mean much if there’s no peace or joy in it. Ask yourself, “would you want a long life that isn’t joyful? Here’s the real kicker, did you know that loneliness shortens a person’s life by an estimate of 15 years? It’s impact is the same as smoking 15 cigarettes per day!
This is why it’s important – critical even – to inspire yourself. To put in the effort of knowing your personal vision, making plans, and putting those plans to work. It not only leads to a joyful and peaceful life, but to a long one as well.
Patience and Persistence
We live in an instant-gratification kind of world. Social interactions happen at a click of a button. We enjoy tasty food in canned goods and fast-food restaurants. Dating happens online, too.
This happens when we work on our goals, too. We want to get “there” quickly. And if we see that nothing happens with our effort, we stop. What we fail to realize is that there’s a gestation period between doing the work and reaping the rewards. As the old saying goes:
“There’s a season to sow and a season to reap. But we don’t do both in the same season.”
When you have something that inspires you, it changes your focus from wanting to reap now to planting daily. As the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
The substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.* Working on your personal vision requires you to trust that you’ll get “there.” That the process – the practice – works. After all, nothing worthwhile was ever created or done without faith.
Of course, faith alone doesn’t get the job done. You need another ingredient…
Or self-discipline if you want to call it that. It’s the skill to do things you must do whether you feel like it or not. It’s the skill to avoid things that you know will compromise your values. Choosing to think long-term as to how your decisions will affect your life.
Having a personal vision won’t immediately bring out these characteristics in you. Like everything, it requires work. But having a compelling vision that inspires you makes it easier. You only have limited willpower to “push” ourselves to get out of bed. Your vision will “pull” you to its completion.
5 Ideas For An Inspired Living
Just about anything can push you to change your life for the better. But for growth-seekers like us, waiting can seem like forever. That’s why we search for things we can do now to move our lives forward. And while there are no exact formulas for developing an inspired living, here are some ideas I know works.
- Define a personal vision: go through the effort of envisioning what your future can be. Ask yourself this: “If you could wave a magic wand, what would a fulfilling life look like in 20 years?” We’re taking a longer perspective here. It’s not 3 or 5 or 10 years for a reason. Get a piece of paper and answer that question.
- Develop your plans: What does success look like? What milestones do you need to achieve to know you’re making progress? Jot down all the things you can do now to move closer to your vision. Don’t be afraid if you run out of ideas, you’ll get more once you do things.
- Show up and practice: it’s the only thing we can control. The practice or the act of doing things that may not work but is worth taking a shot is all we can ever do. It’s choosing every day to find cracks in your schedule and show up to make your vision happen.
- The boat is sinking. Group yourselves according to… Is a game we would play when we were kids. And it’s a game we need to play when pursuing our vision. Find your partners. They may be coaches, mentors, friends, family, or your S.O. They may not be people who have the same vision as you, but those who support you are good, too.
- Remind yourself of why not what: It’s a good practice to remind yourself of the reason why you do things. Not what you accomplished today. It helps keep our focus on the long game we’re playing and helps in making good decisions, too. When we look at the things we do through the filter of our vision, it’s easy to see what we’re doing that doesn’t add to what we want to get.
The destination of our lives doesn’t change overnight. But our direction does. In this moment, right here and now, you can choose to make your life different from how you’re living today.
I hope you choose to be inspired by who you can become.
Live an inspired life,