The moment you looked up and felt ‘’Eureka!’’ or the moment you saw something or someone and knew what you wanted…A Divine inspiration, an all-traffic-stopping moment? We all know that most jewelry collections start with inspired jewelry designers, but what the hell is inspiration anyway?
One day, a father took his son to visit NASA’s Ames Research Center. The young boy looked around and saw a computer terminal for the first time in his life. He recalled it later as the moment of falling in love deeply. His name? Steve Jobs.
Robert Smith,13, recalls falling in love. He watched David Bowie playing Starman. He knew what he wanted to do; become a pop star!
Reading these kinds of stories tickles our imagination. Chances are that soon afterward, you feel, ''how come I never had that''? We understand that a famous person had a moment of inspiration; their story gets shared repeatedly as an example, and they speak to us because we all know this person. However, moments of inspiration come to us in different forms and come to all of us.
When interviewing a jewelry brand’s spokesperson, I often hear them speak about the inspiration. Quick browsing through the internet's collection of jewelry websites will give you roughly what almost every brand declares to be their inspiration. The most common? Nature and a parent or grandparent’s love for gemstones or jewelry somehow.
Although I understand the need for being brief and concise in an introductory paragraph, such as a bio on a website, it’s also very uninspiring and uninteresting. When everyone is inspired in the same way, how come they don’t make the exact same things?
What makes you different from other jewelry designers?
The Dutch professor of psychology, Ab Dijksterhuis, recently completed a book about inspiration. He says there are roughly three forms of inspiration, but they often overlap in how we experience them.
The first one is described in the opening paragraph of this blog; an evocation—an almost Divine feeling of seeing the light. The two examples in the first paragraph are excellent examples of that form of inspiration.
The second form of inspiration is the idea. A new recipe, a new technique, the idea for a book, a play, or a speech. A new piece of jewelry. A new way to propose, describe or play with jewelry.
According to Dijksterhuis's research, the third form of inspiration is best described as a flow state. If you are a writer, you feel the words and the ideas coming to you as if they came from somewhere out of your unconscious mind. How did it get there in the first place? If you are a jewelry designer, your pen flows, you play with gemstones, and there seems to be hardly any rational thought, just pure flow.
This form of inspiration requires a nurturing attitude. We need to create a circumstance to experience this flow. Some people love to close their eyes and meditate to free themselves from other thoughts fighting for attention and distracting them from their goals. Others play loud music or get inspired by literature.
Dijksterhuis clarifies the three forms of inspiration with the following equation; If we think about writing:
''The first form of inspiration is the (sudden) realization that you know that you are actually a writer. The second form of inspiration is the idea for a book. The third form is what happens during writing when the words seem to come almost naturally''
Inspiration means literally breathing in. It’s no wonder that throughout times people experience inspiration as divine. Most of us now know that inspiration comes from our inner unconscious mind, but the feeling of magic isn’t any less. Still, both atheists and people of faith can experience it as a Divine moment. And why not?!
When we feel overwhelmed by the beauty of a thunderstorm, a landscape, or suddenly become aware of how tiny we really are in a galaxy of which our planet is only a small part, it can lead to a feeling of profound wonder. Experiencing awe and wonder are keys to happiness and inspiration. We feel happier when we feel inspired. It’s like falling in love; we know how that feels!
Mental processes run parallel, while behavior is serial, says Dijksterhuis. While you read this blog, your mind will wander off many times, even just for a moment, to other things you want to do, must not forget to do, or feel a physical urge to do. During your day, your brain will prioritize or try to, but it’s hectic at the porch, where mental processes are turned into action.
Indeed, you have experienced that by no means your mental processes are handled in the same serial way as your actions. Dijksterhuis says that one of the most ingenious ways to prioritize a mental process is through inspiration.
Urgency prevents us from danger and making mistakes or how to face setbacks, yet it is an inspiration that drives us to develop ourselves as a person and species.
Some will say that inspiration is marginal and that transpiration furthers humanity, or even simply one person. Thousands among you have had an excellent idea for a book but never felt compelled to do the work of writing it. Is that laziness or lack of time? Or is it a lack of inspiration? An idea isn’t always synonymous with inspiration. Or inspiration doesn’t always inspire action. Maybe we didn’t fall in love deeply enough? Perhaps you need that final form of inspiration and can’t do without it. A young boy who wants to be a pop star must train his vocal and musical skills and learn to deal with rejection and ridicule. He needs to believe in himself and compete for attention with hundreds of thousands of competitors. What are the odds of succeeding? And yet…the inspired dream never dies.
You, writer, composer, jewelry designer, goldsmith, salesperson, CEO, and marketing employee within the jewelry industry, must understand that inspiration needs nurturing.
If nature is your inspiration, then use this in storytelling. What is it in nature that inspires you? How does it make you feel? What emotions come up, and how does that mental process find its priority in your life?
We think that only artists experience the kind of inspiration that is worth mentioning, but nothing could be further from the truth. Artists are essential to humanity, and they know that inspiration is everything. But we all should treasure our moments of inspiration. Notice them, and don’t dismiss them. Might they bring you to your next business idea? Or to a new recipe for apple pie? It doesn’t matter what they get you. Your unconscious mind is filled with possibilities, and inspiration is like a feeling of enthusiasm, falling in love, and a burst of energy simultaneously.
Anyone working in jewelry, at whatever level, will feel inspired more than once. Hopefully, it will happen to you many more times!
The author of this article was very inspired to write this particular blog after a great weekend of reading books and magazines and spending time just before bedtime looking up to the sky. She lost track of time, completely in a flow state, and had to text her sports masseur that she was late with a stupid excuse about not having a car today. :-)
Books: Phosphorescence- Julia Biard.
How to survive the modern world- Alain de Botton-The School of Life
Inspiratie- Ab Dijksterhuis
Magazines: National Geographic
Watched: Jane Fonda in five acts- HBO Max
Resource: Inspiratie by Ab Dijksterhuis