Inspiration is perishable

“Inspiration is perishable.” I heard this quote first on Naval Ravikant’s excellent podcast but I understand it viscerally every time I lose blog post ideas that I fail to write out quickly.

A unique combination of circumstances give rise to inspiration. Our heads combine certain inputs in mystical ways to create an idea out of nothingness. However, unless you give inspiration some form, it comes and goes as a feeling in your brain. When inspiration is acted upon, we call it art.

When inspiration strikes, how can you push yourself to act?

Ask Steven Pressfield, and he’ll tell you about his “muse”. He literally believes that a mythical being walks into his workshop when he sits down to write and blesses him with his best ideas in that moment. He performs rituals, kisses his lucky charms and says a prayer to welcome the muse. As wacky as all of this sounds, it works for him. He went from being homeless and living out of the back of his car to writing phenomenal books like The War of Art.

If that is all too fantastic for you, you could realize that ideas are an interplay between the conscious and the unconscious – between the focused and the diffused states of your mind. Ideas, just like our moods and desires, often take birth in the unconscious and find themselves pushed into the conscious. But once they surface, the metabolic processes of our brain almost instantly start weaning away that inspired feeling. If you act upon that inspiration before it disappears, your creation would serve as its souvenir. If you don’t, no trace of that inspiration would remain within you.

It doesn’t matter which version you choose to believe – just pick the one that serves you better. Here’s the more important question – when inspiration strikes you, what are you going to do with it?

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