The power of inspiration- effortless effort

Over the last few weeks I’ve been exploring some of the key features of intention; whether it relates to a relationship, career, goal or vision. This is the third in the series.

First I wrote about the power of intention, where you visualize an end point and work backwards, best described by Michelangelo who said about his masterpiece the Statue of David: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” The second week I spoke about perseverance, intention’s close companion. When you are truly jazzed by your vision of the future, you hustle to make it happen. You do what it takes, trying things, being willing to fall down, get back up and push through any number of obstacles to get where you want to be.

I had a vague idea where I wanted to take this next, but it wasn’t clear and I struggled to find clarity. If I had been been using a typewriter there would have been scrunched up paper flying around the room, the pile of paper rubble a reminder of my frustrating cognitive cul de sac. My stream of consciousness had dried to a trickle. All I had was the one word “creativity” but no idea why this word was significant. Finally, after struggling for several days, it all fell into place like the last pieces of a jigsaw puzzle while I was riding my bike. Eureka! The third topic is inspiration, the counterpart to perseverance. Alongside the need for effort, I add the role of effortless effort. Suddenly all my ideas fell into place easily. I completed the piece in about 30 minutes.

Here’s a question as it relates to the theme? How long did it take to write this article- 30 minutes or 3 days? When did the preparation begin- 3 days before or a lifetime ago? Maybe everything that has ever happened leads to this moment and falls together in this theme. And who wrote the article? Well I put the pieces together but whole networks of people conspired to make it possible. That is the awesome power of inspiration. You are not alone. You don’t have to do it all yourself. All you need to do is tap into the limitless power that is within and around you all the time, and let it flow.

Inspiration- Where Does It Come From?

On the one hand, most of life’s great achievements come about through determined, hard work. For example, world famous Cellist, Pablo Casals practiced every day for 4 hours. Someone once asked him, ‘Mister Casals, you are a master, you have accomplished so much. Why do you keep practicing four hours a day even though you are 93 years old?’ He said, ‘Well, I’m finally beginning to notice some improvement.’ Legend has it that he even completed his daily regimen of scales on the morning that he died. So on the one hand, Casals is an example of the truth of persistent, hard work.

On the other hand, some of life’s great achievements appear effortless. You hear of people who sit down and write whole books in a matter of days or weeks as if the words are dropping straight from the sky into their brains and from there to their fingers and screen. The great composer, Handel, composed The Messiah in three weeks without leaving his house. Another composer, Mozart, said that his music often presented itself to his imagination as if from nowhere. He had no choice but to stop what he was doing and write the music down. It was as if something beyond his own consciousness was writing his symphonies.

So which is it? Is true inspiration effortless or hard work? Maybe it’s both at the same time. The playwright, Arthur Miller was once asked in an interview, “Are you writing another play?