The Psychology of Inspiration

On why inspiration is itself a creative process and depends on mental orientation

We know that inspiration is the core of any creative endeavor. When you create a piece of art or poetry, or come up with a new scientific theory, you need inspiration. Even simple creative activities like cooking or making love, require a level of inspiration. Inspiration is a kind of creative push, and sometimes it can depend on external factors like a person or a book or a movie, or even simple patterns in the clouds, anything really.

Inspiration can also be internal and depends on our own thoughts and what we extract from our mind. It is a very active mental process, because we are inspired only when we are receptive to the inspiring object or thing. This means our internal receptivity is very important. In order to find inspiration, we have to be receptive and have an open mind. Our mind has to be like a soft mould on which impressions can be easily made. It is difficult to inspire a hard, rigid mind so mental flexibility is important if you need to find inspiration and remain hyper creative.

When you actively seek inspiration, you will find it. It’s almost like seeking the truth about life and reality. An artist or photographer derives inspiration from the sunset or a naked human body, because she wants and actively uses the inspiration to create her piece of art. So the object can be out there, but it is only the creator that transforms the object into an inspiration. So, inspiration is itself a Travel Planning creative process, because our mind actively changes a simple object into an inspiration.

Inspiration can also be derived from an internal mental process, like a sudden thought, dream or an idea. You suddenly imagine or dream of a car or a painting or a type of flower that doesn’t exist, a new planet with yellow sky or people with red eyes and this becomes the source of your inspiration for a movie or a book. However our imagination will have its limits according to the limits of our senses and thus our inspirational levels will be affected.

Psychology needs to do a lot of research on 1) what inspires us and why, 2) why certain objects inspire people differently as some people will just overlook an object whereas some others will observe the same object and become inspired to create something. Although we need empirical study in these areas, it is generally recognized by psychologists that our personal circumstances and preferences, our childhood experiences and our subjective tastes, attitudes, personality will play a role in what we find interesting or inspiring. Our levels of knowledge and understanding also guide the extent to which we are inspired by external objects. A simple ripple in the pond can inspire one artist to paint but will not have an effect on a person who is just too focused on catching a fish. Thus our mental orientation or focus is an important aspect in inspiration.


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