34 Sources of Inspiration!

IdeaPeople often struggle with inspiration, and generally fail to realize that inspiration is EVERYWHERE if you just keep your eyes open for it. I don’t usually do lists (besides my monthly reading list), but I thought this would be a fun way to present places I’ve found ideas or inspiration, in addition to places that I think could provide inspiration. There are an infinite number of ways and places to find inspiration, but here are 34 to get you started.  Please note: These are not listed in any particular order.

34 Sources of Inspiration

1) Store window displays – You never know what you’ll see when you pass by a storefront.  What you do know is that you’ll likely see products, which could lead to your next big product idea.

2) Internet spam

3) Reading motivational books – In my opinion, however, ALL books are inspiring.

4) Reading comments on your favorite blogs – Blog comments may be the most underrated area of a blog.  Granted, most comments tend to be short and sweet, but there are a lot of smart people who read blogs and leave very insightful comments.

5) Internet forums for niches that interest you – Forums are a breeding ground for ideas, especially because people feel open to discussing just about anything in this type of environment.  Quick tip – To search for a forum in a particular niche on Google, search forum:niche where of course you should replace “niche” with whatever niche you’re looking into.

6) Using the “Look Inside” feature to read a glimpse about a book on Amazon.com – Not only is this a good way to see if a book seems interesting, but you’ll often get a peak at enough content that could give you your next idea.

7) TV Infomercials – These are perfect examples of how you don’t need to be a major retailer to sell an unknown product with success.

8 ) Looking through old notes/blog posts/school reports/etc. that you’ve written – And when you’re done, thank yourself for the great ideas.

9) Searching random words on Google and clicking on websites you’ve never been to - This can be dangerous, but it’ll certainly take you places you’ve never been, and possibly expose you to something that triggers an idea.

10) Reading jobs posts on Monster.com, Craigslist.org, etc. – A scare tactic to keep you from drifting back to a “9 to 5″ job. :)

11) Listening to or watching interviews on Mixergy.com – This is an AWESOME resource for inspirational interviews of successful people.

12) My muse creation newsletter

13) Brainstorming sessions with friends/co-workers - Live collaboration often leads to the most functional and practical ideas, as you can engage in a discussion and really develop thoughts and ideas with multiple perspectives involved.

14) Brainstorming session alone, with music – A tranquil scenario where you can be alone with your thoughts.

15) Going for a run outside – This is a favorite of mine, as I enjoy the constantly changing environment as I run.  The rushing adrenaline also helps.

16) Sit down and draw or sketch whatever comes to mind (even if you aren’t artistic)

17) Get a journal/notebook for brain dumps. – Periodically take 10 minutes to dump any idea that comes to mind.  Go back later to see if you can make anything of it.

18) Look at random pictures on Flickr

19) Look at magazines at a local bookstore – Look for magazines in your niche, and see what people are selling in the advertisement space.

20) The Google “I’m feeling lucky” button - This is similar to #9.

21) A camping trip with your close friends

22) Using StumbleUpon to look at random websites. – This is both fun and inspiring (and also similar to #20 and #9 above).

23) Take a walk,  isolated in nature (in a park or forest, on a beach, near a lake or pond) - Don’t forget your notepad.

24) Talking to your children (or someone else who is not close to your age) – It’s amazing what you’ll find and learn when you hear about something from the perspective of someone who is from a different generation than you.

25) An old high school yearbook - This is more just for fun, but maybe you’ll find someone you lost touch with who would make a great business partner!

26) Movies where the main character overcomes a great obstacle

27) The “about me” pages of your favorite bloggers - As I’ve said in the past, reading about others’ success and failure can be a huge piece of inspiration.

28) An “epiphany toilet” – This is exactly what it sounds like.

29) The people you follow on Twitter - It’s like listening to a crowd of people, and you never know what you’ll hear.

30) Your competition – If they’re doing it, you need to know about it at the very least.  Figure out what they’re doing or selling, and do it better.

31) Random videos on YouTube

32) Take a vacation – Travel to new destinations and allow yourself to see things completely unknown and unfamiliar to you.

33) Your dreams while you sleep – Keep a “dream journal” if you’d like.

34) People watching – Sit in your favorite public location (I prefer a seat by the window of a coffee shop at a busy intersection) and watch people as they pass by.  They’ll amuse you. There isn’t anything more inspiring than humanity.

Do you have anything to add?  Share it in the comments!

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7 Responses to “34 Sources of Inspiration!”

  1. Store windows displays in Europe have full nudity. That should keep inspired.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Yep, that’s certainly one type of inspiration…

    [Reply]

  2. Personally I find most inspiration from case studies of other people who are where I would like to be. I love to read these more than anything online and find they really get me going for quite some time.

    The other inspiration I find is celebrating my own personal small wins. Getting a guest post published on a popular blog, getting an email from a customer saying how much they like your product, making your first sale of a new product, having your highest income day and so on. I used to look far more long term and would ignore these smaller wins, but now I look for them and celebrate them and it makes it far easier to keep on going as a result.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Richard, I agree 100%. Reading or listening to case studies and interviews of successful people, especially those in your line of work, is incredibly inspiring.

    [Reply]

  3. Great tips! I always love finding inspiration. I agree with Richard, I enjoy reading about people who are where I would like to be, and also researching how they got there.

    Everyone who is ridiculously successful started out just like you and I…meaning we can get there just as easily! Inspiration is a great way to keep yourself motivated for the future.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Totally agree, Keith. And sometimes, just when you think that inspiration is nowhere to be found, it’s right under your nose. You just need to look around and let your mind take it all in.

    [Reply]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Big Red Tomato Company » Wednesday Wisdom - June 2, 2010

    [...] on the subject of Inspiration, Eric writing on http://www.my4hrworkweek.com featured 34 sources of inspiration featuring such diverse things such as window displays to Amazon’s look inside [...]

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