Two years ago, I wrote about Valentine’s Day (I hope you sent your letters in February). Last year, I wrote about the importance of giving back to your community. This year, I’d like to talk about the power of inspiration.
Inspiration has played a major role in my life for the past four years. For any high school student trying to navigate life’s high seas, finding a way to be inspired can have tremendous beneficial effects on both mental and physical health.
The dictionary defines inspiration as: “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.” In my life, I’ve tweaked that definition to mean “a strong feeling or emotion brought on by another human, a piece of art or nature that causes positive change someway, somehow.”
Typically, inspiration can be seen as something that only artists and chefs find. Something that’s abstract enough that you’re not really sure what it is, but it sounds good so you keep it in your vocabulary.
The truth about inspiration is that its magnitude is irrelevant. Whether you wrote a new book or just woke up on the right side of the bed, you probably made someone’s day (unless you wrote a bad book). Another common misconception revolving around the idea of being inspired is that you cannot actively seek it out. Rumor has it that if you look to be inspired, you will ruin the effect it can have. That’s baloney.
If you want to be inspired to write better or run faster or sleep longer, the resources are out there. The internet is a revolutionary device that allows inspiration to run freely through its hyper-linked pages. While not as personable as you may like, you can definitely find inspirational content (look up the video “Into Patagonia” by Salomon and tell me you’re not inspired).
Perhaps the most overlooked element of inspiration is its simplicity. It does not have to change the world. Heck, it does not even have to leave the walls of your brain. It just has to bring about positive change within yourself. That could mean a smile, a wink, a high-five or a kiss.
To me, inspiration comes every day in one shape or another. It could be the breathtaking mountain view that finds its way to my window every morning. It could be a story I read in the paper before breakfast. It could be watching a teammate encourage another teammate. No matter its form, all of these small moments of inspiration culminate to one feeling: happiness.
Inspiration has defined my high school career not just because it is what drives me to climb higher mountains, but also because it has allowed me to stay happy in the moment while looking forward to the next thing life has to offer.
Ultimately, try to see the glass as half full. Talk to that one relative you have been meaning to call. Smile at your local barista. Take your dog on an extra-long walk today. Give your mom a hug.
Most importantly, seek to inspire others as much as you seek to find inspiration. After all, the intangibles of the inspirational experience – the emotions and work that happen behind the scenes – are simply immeasurable.
And who doesn’t like to give mom a hug?
Harry Steinberg is co-head editor at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. His parents are Beth and Jason Steinberg, respectively, of Durango and Short Hills, New Jersey.