By Cindy Yantis
Strokes of genius. Flashes of brilliance. Inklings of inspiration. Do those intimidate you?
Here’s the thing. We all have those moments when a thought or notion comes seemingly out of nowhere and sparks a new idea, gives a fresh perspective to a task you need to complete or sends you off in a direction that provides a solution.
Then it all starts to click. Perhaps you get some recognition for your great idea or maybe it even starts you on a journey that changes the course of your life. What happens next time you come up against a problem you need to solve or you’re ready for the next project to be born? Do you feel pressure to continue to have those flashes of inspiration for another great idea? Does that stop you sometimes from moving forward?
The prolific author Elizabeth Gilbert gave a TED Talk on this very subject, and it was the “flash of inspiration” for this article. She had come off of her explosive International bestseller, “Eat, Pray, Love” and found herself in that zone of “it’s exceedingly likely that my greatest success could be behind me.” So, now what? How does she continue to do the thing she’s supposed to do, write, without the looming expectation of genius? The gem I took from her insight was this, “protect yourself from the result of your work. Don’t let the end result stump your progress.” That’s a mantra if I ever heard one!
Another example of this coming to life is in the beautiful film, “Bright Star”, about the short life and love of poet John Keats. This man was both tortured and buoyed by the ebb and flow of his flashes of brilliance. The film very effectively depicts the quieter time that was then. Today we face distractions every 10 seconds that threaten to dissolve the momentary inspiration into oblivion. Keats’ genius came to him in his silence, which he lived in for hours upon hours. He wrote, “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.” I really related to that because the truth is, for me, many times the sparks come to me in my quietness as well, in the in-between moments.
Country singer Taylor Swift said, “Thoughts come in involuntary moments, which then become ideas for lyrics and melodies.”
Here’s the lesson. When you keep an open mind while you’re in the midst of, well, life, that tiny little inkling may come to you. If you’re paying attention in that state of open awareness, you’ll catch it!