The Need For Inspirations

The world is full of books that set out to inspire us to greater things, and if you are lucky you just might find one that chimes with you suffficently strongly that you take on board their suggestions for longer than a new years resolutuion. Steve Jobs, the founder and subsequent rescuer of Apple is often cited as an inspirational person. Jobs had some remarkable qualities but he also had many flaws, an extremely short temper being one of them. Is it his short temper that’s admired? No, Jobs was remarkable for his ability to see an idea and develop it. Jobs saw the mouse being developed elsewhere, he immediately saw it’s potential for consumers and Apple made one. Jobs was far from the first to think about digital music but he made Apple develop somebody else’s ideas and similarly with mobile phones. What might be admired was his ability to take an idea and develop it, or a variety of ideas often molding them together and making something the consumer would find intuitively easy to use. If Steve Jobs was so inspirational and his abilities so well known why aren’t there millions of Steve Jobs clones out there? Short answer? Every brain is wired differently.

Inspirations are there for us to use because they make our brains think afresh. Psychologist D. Campbell proposed a theory around creativity he called blind variation and selective retention, (BSVR). D.K. Simonton has developed the theory and describes it simply as,” ideas are produced without foresight into their eventual utility.” So, in other words, allowing ideas to form and swish about and to see what comes and allow for trial and error. Steve Jobs was good at that, and this just might be the thing that inspires you, not the need to only ever wear jeans and a black polo neck! To rehash an old Apple marketing phrase,”Think Different.” Seek out all the the stimulus you can cope with, get inspired finding what really chimes and resonates with you, and get motivated. Remember every artist ever born and people like Steve Jobs have all ‘stolen’ ideas and made them their own. Inspirations are the palette you mix your unique colours (life) with.Remember, Einstein once said,”If we all knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t call it research.”


  • People you know
  • People in the public eye
  • People in history
  • People in stories/plays/films
  • Music
  • Nature
  • Art
  • Science
  • Gardens
  • Sport
  • Poetry
  • Books
  • A culture
  • A country
  • An object
  • Meditation
  • Other sources of inspiration?

Beating Your Inner Critic – 1

I want to provide you with four resources to draw upon and help your creativity move forward. This is the first resource, you may simply use it for reflection but much better if you use it to get feedback and then use it for your meditations or support from a coach etc.

One of the biggest issues in our lives is that of crticism. We fear the critcism of others because it feeds our own inner critic. Our own inner critic has a visceral response is triggered by that nano second responder, the amygdela. This primal responder is buried deep in our minds and forms part of our primitive brain, it has no language and is designed to work in an instant, flooding the rest of our brains and our bodies with all the chemicals needed to deal with perceived danger, inducing freeze, flight or fight. To investigate this response and its impact on the vegas nerves I’d refer you to Stephen Porges.

More and more research points towards the extraordinary slowness of our ‘thinking’ brain we think that processes and reflects the signals it receives and can give voice to that information instantly but it really is not the case. That primitive part of our brain has already begun to respond up to 20 seconds before the thinking brain is conscious enough to start checking out, why they feel their body responding in a certain , perhaps familiar way. Or why they just blurted out something they now regret. A good source would be to look at Simon Sinek’s, why, how, what model of the brain.

Creativity is dangerous, it must by definition be about something new, and newness challenges existing patterns of what is acceptable. Things that were not acceptable to early humans could put you outside of the group, being outside of the group is dangerous because early humans were threatened by all manner of predators. There is a lot of evidence in the form of human skulls that have teeth marks from such loveable creatures as sabre toothed tigers to underline that one human on their own was pretty vulnerable.

There is a long history of the threat perceived by groups to people not responding to following the rules, spoken or otherwise. just following the wrong religion could mean a quick or indeed tortuous death, and still societies lock people up who pose no material threat but who dare to be at a tangent. My contention is that there is a deeply conditioned set of responses that can make creativity feel threatening. Which creative person hasn’t prevaricated rather rather than starting work? So, how do we change some patterns of behaviour within us?

Take a small plant in a pot and put it on a window ledge, as the plant grows does it grows it begins to lean towards the window and the available daylight. What I am providing below is about finding what to shine the light upon and to build upon.

Appreciative Inquiry holds that it’s better to work from what works rather than to try working with what doesn’t. Shine the light on what works, strengthen that and then what doesn’t work becomes easier to fix. Problem; if I don’t know what works I can’t overcome what doesn’t!

For most of us we don’t realise what a treasure house of potential we hold and what others would gladly have. To create and become an imagineer requires us to know what we can use to battle against the crisis of confidence, blocks and barriers that come our way.

For many years I have used 4 quadrants to help my coaching clients to start build a new future using the resources available to them. Starting with one of the quadrants we can can eventually bring all four together and build a holistic picture. The four quadrants will show you where you can safely build and by default those areas that may be unsafe foundations from which to try and build.

This is the first top left quadrant, MY STRENGTHS. You may chose to score them yourself, perhaps out of 10. Then without disclosing your marks, ask others to score you (you may want to do this as an exercise with at least two quadrants together when you ask others). I always urge the person being coached to ask an honest partner to feedback to them what they experience of the person being coached, and to score the list. Even better is when the person giving feedback can give examples. Try not to self-justify. Subsequent questions arise as to why all too often the feedback is surprisingly positive in so may areas. We begin to become aware of how others see us, what we can build upon and what can more easily be strengthened.


  • Sense of values
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Love of learning
  • Perspective (wisdom)
  • Bravery
  • Persistence
  • Integrity
  • Vitality
  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Social Intelligence
  • Responsibility
  • Fairness
  • Leadership
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Humility/Modesty
  • Prudence
  • Self-regulation/control
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • Patience
  • Transpersonal

Transpersonal by the way is about the spiritual, the soul, the soulful; this may be religious, but equally it can be experiencing the transformative effect of a beautiful view, a piece of music, a work of art etc.etc.

Over the next three posts I will give you the other quadrants so you can gather together Strengths, Skills, Resources and inspirations and grow towards the light.