uncomfortable inspiration

Inspiration is uncomfortable. Not the actual outcome. The process itself, leading up to the inspiration and the moment of clarity, tend to be slightly irritating.

The main issue is timing. In many cases, good ideas come at inconvenient moments, right before falling asleep or while waking up in the middle of the night.

Sleep definitely plays a significant role. Salvador Dali, for instance, knew this. The artist allegedly sat down in a chair while holding a spoon. Right underneath, a metal plate was positioned so that when he would enter a so-called hypnogogic state. When dozing off, the spoon would slip out of his hand. The clattering sound would then wake him up, presumably leaving him very inspired.

If inspiration is indeed plentiful while being inconvenienced, it would be possible to reverse-engineer. The question is, how much are you willing to sacrifice for inspiration?

unexpected expert

Expertise is sometimes disguised. For instance, I open bananas upside down. I once saw a monkey on National Geographic opening up a banana like that. I figured the monkey could be considered somewhat of an expert on the matter. As it turns out, it’s easier, and it also allows for a check as to whether or not a spider laid eggs in the bottom part of the banana.

Humanity shows a keen interest in leadership. What makes a great leader? Can leadership be taught? Drawing inspiration from certain insects, computer scientists today can use a so-called ant colony optimization algorithm.

Biomimicry inspired locomotion. It helped us build high-speed trains, among many other things. For example, the aerodynamic design of the Japanese Shinkansen 500 mimics the beak of the kingfisher bird.

Inspiration often comes from an unexpected place. Expertise isn’t always replicating another human’s behavior. Humility can help us draw inspiration, outside of humanity.