I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what inspires me. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but I’m noticing that I’ve surrounded myself with inspiring people. It seems that everywhere I look there is someone kicking off a small business, teaching today’s youth, or making beautiful art. That kind of creation makes me want to get to work.
Stand In Front of Your Heroes
I spent all weekend at my little table sitting in the shadow of Aesthetic Apparatus. These guys are some of the absolute finest screenprinters in the country. Their work is crazy good. You want an ego check – hold your work up to the best. This kind of thing makes me really excited. I’ve got a long ways to go before I’m in the same league as AA, but critiquing my work against theirs made it seem very real. You can do this with all kinds of things. Who is doing the work that you strive to do? What is it they’re doing that you’re not? Do some simple A/B comparisons. Find the differences, and you’ll find your roadmap.
Surround Yourself with Productive People
This is key. I’m surrounded by people that are continually do-ing great things. They talk, and plan, and strategize – but at the end of the day they are continually putting pen to paper, and feet to the ground. This is an everyday challenge to get out there and act. It’s contagious – seeing people do great work helps make it seem possible.
Read, Listen, & Watch. Get Unsettled.
This is much like the prior point, but easier to do. I watch a lot of documentaries. Regardless of the subject matter, they make me want to do what I do – better. I watched a documentary about the Pixies a while back. It didn’t make me want to go on tour with a band (well, it sort of did) but mostly I felt jazzed to go to the studio and make prints. I also tend to watch a lot of documentaries about the difficulties in other parts of the world. It’s extremely easy to forget how comfortable we have it here. The sense of discomfort that comes from learning about tragedy in other parts of the world is unsettling. Whether or not you’re moved to activism or not – that unsettling should jar you to some kind of action – a challenge to your ennui if you will. It’ll make you a better chef, or knitter, or financial analyst, or whatever it is you do.
Answer To Someone
I am married. My wife is the most brilliant and wonderful person I’ve met. Most of the time I’m just trying to make sure I earn her respect. That accountability goes a long way.
What works for you? What makes you excited to get up in the morning and get to work – whatever that work may be?