There’s no refrigerator space for inspiration

Here’s a new habit to groom for 2011, our year of better habits:

Make space for inspiration, and not in your refrigerator.

Add it to your language of intention.

It’s become my way to remember something I originally heard from Jason Fried of 37signals, when I heard him say in a podcast that “inspiration is perishable.”

You can’t bottle up inspiration. You can’t put it in a ziplock, toss it in the freezer, and fish it out later. It’s instantly perishable if you don’t eat it while it’s fresh.
~ Jason Fried

So true!

Inspiration is fragile and fleeting, and so you have to capitalize on it, and optimize it when you can whenever you have that chance. To simply capture it, say in a written note on a scrap of paper, or in a voice memo on your phone, usually isn’t enough for it to survive as true, earth shaking inspiration. You’ve let the moment pass, missing that window of opportunity where there was something more. You edited something which should have been allowed to run rampant for a while longer. Rampant, wild and free.

You can’t refrigerate a blue flame without smothering it.

The best possible time for inspiration to hit you, is when you have space in your life — in the day to day living of your life — to stop everything if you have to, so you can focus on that inspiration and nothing else. If it’s an idea, you can milk it for all it’s worth while your inspired thinking about it is shiny and new, fresh and still untapped of its greatest potential — however you usually get that full blown release to happen.

Some people need to talk it out, which is great, for it becomes this twofer where another person can get inspired too. Me? I have to be able to write it out, writing through a complete mindsweep until I feel mentally exhausted, but never spent, for those are the times I’m most energized and feeling like I’m on fire, and burning as hot and bright as I’ll ever burn — it’s the blue flame stuff: In most fire (because it can depend on the fuel too), the blue flame is the hottest, with the potential to tip into dazzling white fire, and it burns most efficiently.

So ask yourself this: When inspiration strikes, what do you do? Can you always do it? What must you change, from however your work atmosphere now exists, to make space in your day for your inspiration to run rampant, and for however long you need it to?

The part about making space in your day is important: KÄ“ia lā — it’s “about today, the here and now.” You can’t instruct your inspiration to only come around on weekends, or be satisfied with it only showing up once a month or so. Daily inspiration is what’s ‘Imi ola, and living your best possible life.

And have you tried to track it somehow, so you know when you’re likely to be inspired? It’s habit learning you have to incorporate into your trusted system or Strong Week Plan; you simply must. Books for example, always do it for me, somewhere within their once, twice, or third time coming.

It feels so delicious, to indulge in your inspiration!
I genuinely wish you blue flames, run rampant space, and no refrigerators.

Beverly Hills.ish

The most unexpected triggers can inspire you.

It was this Beverly Hills.ish looking car for me a few days ago.

Sweet, sweet ride.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Archive Aloha: Here’s a Take 5 of related postings:

  1. What Your Big Ideas Do Best
  2. PÅ«‘olo Mea Maika‘i: Playlists
  3. Embrace your Systems Thinker
  4. When Learning Gets Overwhelming
  5. Feeling Good Isn’t the Same as Feeling Strong


  1. Dean Boyer says


    This is interesting! I agree with you totally. In fact, I have also found that an inspiration can “cool” over time, leaving many unfinished projects. What can a creative person do when new inspirations come quickly leaving “leftovers in the fridge”? Should this person only focus on quick projects?

    • Rosa Say says

      No, I don’t think it’s about making quick picks: We need to make wise ones. The trick for me is making a priority of the ideas which are the cream of the crop, and then focusing all my attention on that idea until I see it through to some kind of completion.

      It’s fabulous when you have learned to notice and honor all the ideas you have, for my experience in coaching has been the opposite – people generally don’t think they have as much ideas as they actually do have, and job one for them is noticing them. But once you capture them, they remain thoughts until you do the harder work of turning them into your projects. That might take an hour, a day, a month or a year depending on what it is.

      Said another way: We’re all thinkers, but a “creative person” actually creates.

  2. Dean Boyer says

    I have learned that “quick picks” is often the way of a creative person. You are right about making wise choices, Rosa. As a creative person I have found evaluating whether an inspiration is wise is a discipline that is challenging to implement. So, what do you do to decide whether an inspiration is worthy and wise?

    Being focused can also be difficult for creative people, I believe. It’s almost like going through life saying, “Ooh…what’s that?” In your experience, what helps creative people focus their lives?

    • Rosa Say says

      Dean, if I were coaching you through this process, I would help you look for the answers to your questions in how you’d respond to another question of mine: What values are driving your Ho‘ohana?

      It would tell me more about what you factor into the decision-making process you’re going through, whether with a quick pick or longer term project decision. Values help us focus on why instead of what and how.

      We all make decisions for a host of other reasons. Looking to our value drivers takes practice.

      Jumping ahead to your last question about focus, a common answer is that it takes discipline within good habits of production, i.e. true accomplishment and not busywork, and not work on a choice you made for a less-than-passionate reason (e.g. pleasing another person’s expectations instead of your own).

      I agree to a certain extent — that’s why I’ve declared 2011 the year of better habits here on Talking Story! However admittedly, we’re working on creating a good default: we’re creating a trusted system for the tasks which are not so inspirational, but must be done. In contrast, the more you can be self-indulgent, and work on your creative ideas for you and only your Ho‘ohana, the easier it becomes to focus naturally instead of relying on self-discipline.

      I hope that helps!


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