What If Inspiration Never Comes?

Adrian S. Potter
3 min readApr 19, 2019

Taking Action with Chuck Close (The Secondhand Inspiration Project)

Photo by Fab Lentz on Unsplash

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

“Inspiration is highly overrated. If you sit around and wait for the clouds to part, it’s not liable to ever happen. More often than not, work is salvation.” — Chuck Close

I’m active in a few fields — engineering, business, creative writing, and public speaking. Because of these interests, I attend a variety of classes, conferences, and seminars, though not as many as I used to. And while there are serious professionals in attendance, these types of events also attract a crowd of people who honestly believe they’ve accomplished something just by going.

Obviously, you must go to events, read books, or attend classes if you’re going to learn. And it’s great to be motivated by a presenter or author, but only if that enthusiasm translates into action, and then later results.

I recently attended a large conference and the speaker during lunch was amazing. She was a middle-aged transgender person who talked bluntly about overcoming discrimination in the workplace and in life. Her backstory and message were impressive. I took notes and brought some of the concepts back home — they had a direct influence on a fiction project I’m currently working on. I also passed her contact information to a good friend who works at a different firm and they’re looking to bring that speaker in to help them address some nagging diversity and inclusion issues. Yes, my actions were small and safe, but at least I was prompted to take some form of action after internalizing her message.

Others at the conference were also amazed by this presenter. But I doubt any action was taken. Many people breathlessly talk about how inspired they were by a speaker, but then do nothing with that stimulation. Or if they do, they tap out at the slightest sign of resistance because adversity tends to chill the warmth of inspiration.

People want to dwell in a constant state of inspiration, but they want it to happen without disappointment. And they never achieve this impossible state, because if you don’t act, you’ll inevitably be disappointed.

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Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com