For decades, oodles of people have cited a certain quip given by Master Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, which reads:
Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.
This is an incredibly idiotic statement.
Inspirational musings like this one are what make people feel bad for failing because, if you ask Ol’ Yoda, they just didn’t decide to succeed.
The Proper Use of Inspiration
Inspiration is great. I’m a big believer in it, frankly, because I know what it is (and, more importantly, what it’s not).
I have a photo of my little boy nestled comfortably below my computer screen at my desk. While I enjoy my work most days, sometimes I need to be reminded of why I’m doing this (or, more correctly, for whom am I doing this). I look at his handsome face and I remember that, if I want to give him all the opportunity and comfort I can, I have to bust my ass to make that happen. Nothing less will do.
What I don’t do is sit at my desk and just hope real hard that my love for my family is going to somehow magically do my work for me. I have to try to produce the best work I’m capable of producing. Sometimes I get there, and sometimes I fall short.
Inspiration can get your ass back to the half-cord of pine in the backyard, but it won’t type chop the logs for you. You need something bigger; a larger goal and a sense of purpose in what you’re doing.
Inspiration is the match stick, not the firewood.
How To Be Inspired (Then, Get Back to Work)
People who buy my thing on how to use Evernote will sometimes send me nice emails about how much they liked it, etc. Those messages are really great and I try to save them (in Evernote, naturally) when they arrive. Occasionally, I’ll peek at them when I’m feeling like a blithering idiot who couldn’t write his way out of a wet paper sack. And it does help.
The trick is harnessing that tiny little burst of joy into actually making something; trying to build my little business into something that will accomplish what I want it to: give my family security and comfort and be an example of what hard work can produce.
Now, it’s Your Turn
Don’t rely on inspiration for anything other than inspiring you to do. Make it the match that starts the fire and know that it will burn out quickly.
The cliché of the Motivational Poster featuring a rowing team or an astronaut is all fine and good if you notice it as you walk back to your desk to make something awesome. Let’s all do that.
And forget that bullcrap Master Yoda is pouring because it’s poison.
Photo by Rhubarble