20 Places Inspiration Strikes – Where I Go To Get Inspired

“Some creative types suggest getting inspired by taking long walks in the countryside, or soaking in candlelit baths[…] Inspiration doesn’t always come when you’re sitting at the computer.”
Staff Blogging Course by Ali Hale, Unit 6
Whether I’m working on professional endeavors or personal projects, I often get stuck and need to find a new source of inspiration.  These are my favorite (and sometimes, unexpected) places that inspiration has struck.

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Sid’s Top 20 Places Inspiration Strikes

  1. mountain_hikingHiking. Maybe only a step removed from “long walks in the countryside” – hiking up and across ridges gets me away from everything. I can put  aside my software development and todo list for an afternoon to get some perspective – and oftentimes, some new ideas about my life, and topics to write about. If nothing else, it’s an afternoon spent with friends exploring areas that I have taken for granted all this time.
  2. People Watching at the Mall. I love eating at food courts, but not always for the food – I go so I can people watch.  Looking at people from different places and hearing different languages reminds me what a small part of the world I am, and how few of the people I know.  It inspires me to get out and connect with more people, and sometimes seeing people younger and older than me gets me thinking about my life.
  3. Running On The Treadmill. I throw on some of my favorite workout music, get in a zone, and just let my mind wander while my legs take care of the running.  At the end of it Inot only have I got in a good workout, I usually have a couple ideas for new things to implement in my life, some ideas for articles to write.
  4. Lying In Bed.  This is the worst offender, and I wish I could have my epiphanies 10 minutes earlier – before I’m comfortably lying down.  It happens to me all the time: I turn out the lights, and just as I drift off to sleep an idea hits me, and I have to write it down before I forget. It happens so often that I have a journal with a reading light and pencil sitting next to my bed – and I use it a few times a week.
  5. Sitting On An Airplane – I travel frequently, for both work and pleasure.  One of the best parts about sitting on an airplane is it’s one of the few times I can use my computer without being distracted by random websites or overloaded by email.  Sometimes I read, and sometimes I just think while I stare out the window – at the top of clouds, at cities below, or just the pitch black night sky.
  6. TED. I’ve used TED videos to demonstrate some of my posts already – Altruism – One of the Keys to Happiness , and my Tribes By Seth Godin – Book Review.  For a while I was watching 1-4 videos a week – brilliant people discussing fascinating subjects. Almost every video I watch expands my mind in some way, and leaves me with a new perspective.
  7. Long Night Time Freeway Drives –  After dinner or seeing friends I love how calm it is driving home. Sometime I put on some music, while other times I like to just enjoy the silence while my hands take me home on auto pilot.  When there are almost no other cars on the road, and it’s just me and the world passing me by I see places I used to go, think about the past, the present, the future – and the possibilities seem endless.
  8. Watching Clouds. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the past and my childhood – or maybe it’s just because I like looking for funny shapes in the sky. Whatever the reason, looking at clouds relaxes me and helps me take my mind off all the different commitments I have – and inspires me to do new things.
  9. beach_bay_oceanThe Ocean.  I can see sandy beach from my balcony and living room window.  Looking out there reminds me that I’m just a small part of this big world, and of how lucky I am – I can see the ocean from my window! After a few minutes of watching the waves, I get back to work – sometimes with new ideas ;)
  10. The Mirror.  I look at the mirror every day when I”m getting ready – but usually my mind is wandering and I”m just going from one thing to the next – brush teeth, floss, mouthwash, rinse, check hair…  Occasionally though I’ll pause in the middle of my routine and really look at myself in the mirror – think about who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going.  It amazes me how many days go by where I look in the mirror, but don’t really notice my own reflection.
  11. Lunch With A Friend. I go out to eat most days, and more often than not grab lunch with a friend – sometimes people I haven’t seen in months or years.  Seeing what others have been up to, catching up with where they are in their life and where they’ve been often leaves me with new perspectives, and a longing to try some of the things they have been up to.
  12. Sunrise and Sunsets. Not only can I see the ocean from my apartment – I’m lucky enough to be able to see the sunset upon the water as well. I occasionally am up early enough to see the sunrise, if I’m willing to drive somewhere with a good view of it.  Seeing the day start and end is amazing, and often inspires me to to better as the day begins, and reflect on the day as it is ending.
  13. In The Shower.  I don’t do candle-lit baths, but in between singing, rinsing and repeating the privacy, comfort and peace of my shower gives me some time alone to think.  More often than not, I come out not just refreshed and clean – but also reenergized and inspired.
  14. Old Journals. I am amazed at the things I find in my old journals. I have physical pieces of paper, text files on my computer and archives of old websites where I used to write my thoughts. Often I cringe at my writing and immaturity, but occasionally will find nuggets full of naive optimism: my uncomplicated, uncompromising hopes and dreams.  It takes me back to where I was, and reminds me a lot of what Michael Bungay Stanier calls Great Work: changing the world, making a difference.
  15. The Airport Lounge. This is the moment to me when anything is possible. I often think about how amazing it is – in 5 or 10 hours I will be in a completely different world, with different people. I’ll have traveled so far and be o far removed from my previous location on the giant rock we call a planet that my watch will no longer no what time it is.  Everything and everyone that is at my departure will physically be so far from me as to not be a part of my world for days, weeks or months.  I also like people watching here as well – many people think they are completely invisible in an airport =)
  16. Staring At The  Stars.  No matter how much time passes, staring at the stars provides some stability.  My hiking trails and the beach change year to year as the earth erodes and the tides change, but the stars are constant.
  17. Twitter.  While more often than not I need to avoid wasting time online, sometimes I’ll see conversations, quotes or interesting links on Twitter that inspire me.  The mix of people I follow on Twitter gives me tons of food for thought – from NBA stars, entrepreneurs, and sometimes even people I know in real life ;).
  18. A Blank Page.  When I can’t seem to focus on my work and feel distracted in some way, like there’s something on my mind but I don’t know what it is, I’ll grab my journal and just start writing.  I’m amazed at the amount of things that spill out – thoughts I didn’t even realize I had, that were just bubbling below the surface.
  19. The Throne. Saving the best (or worst!) for last.  Who hasn’t had one of those moments – sitting in the bathroom, pondering life or the latest Seinfeld episode when inspiration hits?  I haven’t put a journal in there yet – these moments are few and far between =).

There you have it.  I know what you’re thinking – where’s #20? I lied – I only have 19, and I’m going to need some help finishing it up.  Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback – are you favorites on the list? Or are there any that you would add?

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