Why Are Some More Easily Inspired Than Others?

Earlier this week I watched a short DVD with my daughters. Towards the end, the star performer stated that the song he was about to sing was deeply meaningful to him. That’s when my oldest daughter looked at me with confusion in her eyes. I don’t understand how a song can mean something to someone.

Wow. That got me thinking about inspiration & my own relationship with music. It has been an important source of inspiration to me for as long as I can remember. Especially in hard times. Music is something I know I can count on. It’s there when I need it. Music is deeply personal. This probably sounds cheesy but I feel as though my life is one long playlist. Each song retrospective… arousing deep emotion & emphasizing its significance in my life. For example, in the DVD the song was meaningful to him because it offered a message of hope & togetherness.

Part of allowing yourself to become inspired is learning to “take what you need & leave the rest.”

I remembered my husband sharing similar sentiments. He said that he didn’t understand how people {I} get inspired by everything & everyone on a daily basis; quotes, etc. I began to wonder why some people are inspired more easily than others. Are the easily inspired weak?… Are we too easily influenced? Or does it mean that others lack openness? In an effort to find out I came across the most interesting paper by Todd M. Thrash & Andrew J. Elliot, Inspiration as a Psychological Construct {2003}.

For starters, it’s likely that my husband & daughter actually do get inspired, just not by the same things as I. It appears as though one’s motives play a factor in inspiration. Basically, you & I may be inspired by different things because we hold different things valuable.

According to the paper by Thrash & Elliot, the biggest contributing factor to inspiration is positive affect. Positive affect, according to Wikipedia, is a characteristic that describes how we experience positive emotions & interact with others & our surroundings. Those with high positive affectivity are typically enthusiastic, energetic, confident, active, & alert. Those having low levels of positive affectivity can be characterized by sadness, lethargy, distress, & un-pleasurable engagement. However, just below this definition it also states that positive affect & negative affect are nearly independent of each other, & that a person can be high or low in both…. Hmm. But the paper did say that negative affect had no relation to inspiration at all.

Basically, the more positive your mood, the more easily you will be inspired. Which leads to another correlating factor of inspiration: openness; in general & to new experiences. Think about it, if you’re all closed off you’re not going to notice all the beauty around you. Even in hard times people with positive moods are often able to see the silver-lining, to look ahead & see the good that’s going to come out of the situation. They’re able see it as an opportunity for growth.

Other correlating factors of inspiration: creativity; absorption {where attention is focused on beauty or other quality objects}; willfulness; perceived confidence, self-esteem, & optimism.

Interesting: Inspiration was found to correlate with the work-mastery component of need for achievement but negatively with competitiveness component, which reflects the typically mundane desire to outperform others. Also found to correlate with intrinsic motivation but not with extrinsic motivation.


If you’re struggling with inspiration perhaps try starting with a simple shift in perspective. Be mindful. Be open & aware to yourself, others & your surroundings at all times. Be open to new experiences. Observe. Read. Think positive, act positive. Act as if. Believe in yourself. Appreciate the little things.

Are you easily inspired? What inspires you?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow

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