How to Find Business Inspiration from an Artist’s Perspective
I was driving today down the highway on a cold dreary day. It is the middle of winter season and the scenery looks very blah and boring. I wondered how an artist could receive any inspiration to paint something beautiful when all he or she sees are what seem to be lackluster scenes? How could a business person receive any inspiration to solve a difficult problem creatively when all he or she sees is what looks like a big obstacle or hindrance? To answer that question, most artists are going to give you a lot of art terminology that the average person can’t relate to. They will say things like “It was the way the light moved across the image” or “it was the colors that completely overwhelmed me” or they will say this or that. But today, I want to distill this artistic process down to a few basic elements that anyone can understand so you can see what inspires me or any artist to create a piece of art. I think these same principles can apply to the business person as he or she looks for inspiration.
1) You have to actually look for something beautiful. Don’t look at the negative around you. Seeing the bad is easy to do. But go out of your way to look for something that might be beautiful to you. Sometimes it’s easy for me to be inspired by something; but other times, it isn’t. And in those times, I look intently for something beautiful within the scene in order to find the inspiration. Don’t look at the negative surrounding the business problem. See what could be. Look beyond the problem and see the beauty of a solution that is attainable.
2) Make a choice to see beyond the surface. Sometimes a solution to a problem is right in front of us but we don’t’ see it. There is beauty beyond what you see at first glance. There is a solution to a problem beyond what you are experiencing at the moment. I need to not just see a tree or a mountain scene but to really see what is going on with what I am looking at or experiencing. Sometimes I am experiencing something that is totally non-art related and a creative thought comes to me. These types of surrounding can come in a variety of ways. It can obviously come from nature. But it can also come from the books I read, magazines or articles I peruse online, movies or television shows I watch, music I listen to, emotions I experience. Sometimes I am inspired by a memory or even by works created by other artists. A solution to your business problem may come from some place completely outside the business world. Again, you have to make a choice to see beyond what is happening on the outside and look beneath the surface to discover something greater.
3) You not only need to see something with your eyes but feel something in your heart. Listen to what your heart is trying to say to you about what you are experiencing. Now if you are a logical person, you may not know you that you have feelings associated with thoughts. You may have felt something, but it was disguised as a thought. That is ok. Go with that. Go beyond what you see, to examine what you think about what you see or are experiencing. This is the place where the spark gets ignited. In a business situation, what do you really feel or think about the situation? What is really going on inside you? What are your fears, insecurities and internal obstacles that you are encountering? Deal with those and try to move beyond those. This is where the creative spark gets ignited. Look at love. Isn’t this what love is? You are going along in life and all of the sudden you notice that “one person.” The whole crowd looked boring and uninteresting to you but then, you saw beauty. You saw beyond the surface. Your heart was moved, and you started thinking thoughts about that one person. Being an artist is like that. Every day I get to fall in love with something and that is what inspires me to create what I create. But here is the good news. Even if you aren’t an artist, you can still have that “fall in love” feeling every day and in your business. How? Try doing the same things an artist does. Don’t look at the negative all around you. See beyond what you are seeing and experiencing in the natural and look deeper. The solution is right there. Then, go with your thoughts and feelings.
I think if you do these three things, you will start to live life like an artist even when you are living in the business world. You will find yourself experiencing creativity. You will find solutions to business challenges that you couldn’t see before. A lot of creativity and inspiration will come your way. Enjoy!
Another good read is John Boitnott’s article “25 Simple Ways for Entrepreneurs to Find Inspiration.”