Creative Inspiration

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

Oh, I believe in yesterday1

Those are the opening lyrics to the Beatles song, Yesterday.  Paul McCartney dreamed the song and upon waking, he immediately started playing it on a piano so he wouldn’t forget it.  He was so amazed by the song that he was worried that it wasn’t actually his.  He asked others if they had ever heard the song.  He was finally convinced that it was, in fact, his song.

Yesterday is an example of creative inspiration, but not all creative inspirations are as magical as Yesterday.  Creativity is a trait that many people profess they don’t have.  The fact is that creative inspiration can occur to everyone if we make ourselves believe that it can.

Creative inspiration tends to come at moments when our mind is “at rest.”  For Paul McCartney, it was while he was sleeping.  For others, it may occur at moments such as taking a shower, long drives on lonely roads, or when we are just enjoying staring in the distance.  Creative inspiration can also be triggered by something you read, hear, or see that you suddenly link to an issue you might be facing.  A lot of creative inspirations are connections you make between seemingly different situations.  For example, George Westinghouse conceived of his idea for power distribution when looking at a tree.

Creative inspiration will not happen when you are angry, frustrated, anxious, or troubled.  You need to free up your mind from daily concerns.  It’s also difficult to make creative inspiration work in a group setting when there is a fear of rejection.  Creative inspiration also needs to separate the act of creation from the evaluation of the creation.  Creative inspiration requires a suspension of self-doubt.

It’s interesting how creative inspiration drives innovation, but yet it’s a skill that most people believe is beyond their abilities.  Why might that be?  Can you imagine a situation where too much creative inspiration becomes overwhelming?  Why do we seem so willing to grant the right to imagination to others?

* * *

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one2

1 Partial lyrics of the song, Yesterday, written by Paul McCartney

2 Partial lyrics of the song, Imagine, written by John Lennon

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