How Inspiration Creates Desire
There was a time in the early-80’s when, in spite of the three cups of coffee I’d consumed in less than an hour, I quite literally was having trouble keeping my eyes open sitting at my desk at the sales job I had—and this went on for weeks.
I thought I wanted out, but we already had a 15-month-old and Sue was pregnant with another, and my logical mind told me that the lucrative job I held was one I ought to keep—in spite of the fact that my body was telling me otherwise.
I was bored silly and felt trapped, but the desire to keep a relatively reliable income stream overrode the desire to try something new. Bringing another life into the house was a big enough change, and I didn’t want to introduce another.
But It’s no fun to do stuff you don’t buy into or like, and doing stuff that bores you or that you don’t like for too long—without some kind of coping strategy—can have negative effects on both psychological and physical wellbeing. It wasn’t long before my discomfort inspired the desire to seek new employment—the balance of desire had shifted.
Yes, desire is a powerful motivator. In fact, I’ll venture that desire is the only motivator. But what is the source of desire?
Some will tell you that they are inspired to do something, but inspiration indirectly motivates through desire. "Inspired to do" is really shorthand for “I was inspired to desire, which in turn motivated me to create this change.”
If we look at the Desire Engine model, we see where inspiration fits relative to desire: it comes before it. There is one exception, and that is our core desire to feel better. The desire to feel better is behind all other desires, and filtered through our wiring and belief systems, even affects what we find inspiring. No matter what a choice or pursuit looks like on the outside, we can trace it to a desire to feel better, and there is always another level to feeling better.
In the Desire Engine, Inspiration is defined as that point when a desire is born of a perception. Inspiration begets desire; desire motivates.
In other words, before you want something, you are inspired to want it. You are inspired when you see the possibility for improvement—between how you feel now and how you’d like to feel.
Whatever you desire is an attempt to improve how you feel. It all boils down to that, whether you are conscious of it, or not.
On the surface you may want higher profitability for your business, success for your children, to create an artistic masterpiece, or eat a chocolate bar, but underneath, some kind of inspiration comes first, and inspiration comes from seeing a possibility for improvement in how you feel, or as an answer to the question, “What do I want?”
(As I write this I am inspired to the desire to know: can we receive inspiration without a question in place? To inspire literally means to inhale, and I begin to suspect that without a space to take in our inspiration—without the conscious (or unconscious) question "How might I improve how I feel?", there is no receiving it.)
Sometimes one desire inspires another. The desire to install a whole-house alarm system, for example, is inspired by the desire to keep loved ones and valuables secure, which was in turn triggered by the perception/fear of a danger of loss (loss that the desired alarm system might prevent).
Many of us reserve the term “inspiring” to describe creative or moving moments, or for experiences that move us to express our own creativity, or change in profound, even spiritual ways.
I submit that every perception we have is in its own way inspirational, in that we must react and choose based on it. We are perceivers, and as such we are faced an ongoing stream of input that will create new desires. These desires will drive choices that will in turn form our lives on a minute-to-minute basis. What’s more creative than that?
Perhaps becoming an artist at life itself is the greatest of creative challenges.
Where is inspiration coming from in your life right now?
Are you giving your desires, objectives and aspirations enough voice and play in your life?
In the next blog: the difference between weak and strong desires...