When many individuals first try and accomplish or create something, they look for ways to be inspired. They assume a glorious idea will pop into their head and give them an epiphany on what they should do.
This may work for Stephen King books, but when it comes to creation like blogging or design, this holds you back more than you might think.
The order people think the creation process goes is inspiration, motivation, then action when in reality, this is imperfect.
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction” (John F Kennedy).
Action, Inspiration, Motivation
Some of you might be familiar with the notion that this order is the order that brings productivity and actual results. It comes from The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.
He explained the reasoning behind why this is the real order is because placing action last doesn’t help because you can’t do the passive before the action.
You have to go out and find inspiration and motivation by doing an action.
Action must first be taken to actually gain the encouragement needed to achieve something.
Inspiration comes when you have played with an action and have an idea for a new action.
Motivation comes when you want to perform your new skill.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy” (Dale Carnegie).
An example I use when explaining this is Photoshop:
If I was playing around in Photoshop or took the initiative to follow a tutorial on new effects, I would be learning without attempting to create something. It’s when one of the effects strikes me a certain way and I wonder how it would look on another picture I’ve taken or another design I had saved.
I’m doing an action, and while I’m doing it, I’m struck with inspiration. The inspiration leads me to understand other possibilities I can do with this new technique and I go from there.
Be that as it may be, if I had waited for inspiration, I would be at the same point all throughout. I wouldn’t have an advancements in my skill because I’m not taking any action.
Wanting an idea to pop into my head then have me look up how to do it may sound right, but this rarely happens and I would need to actually find the new effects that I haven’t yet discovered.
Waiting for ‘good ideas’ will delay productivity because I won’t be prepared by waiting, only increasing the pressure to make something good after I have eventually come up with a half good idea.
Pushing Capability Is The Only Way To Grow
If we expand what we are able to do, then we are improving. This should be obvious.
If we had once struck gold on a good idea, it is not good to continue to wait for another golden idea. It’s best to keep going and striking gold will be something that just… happens.
You can’t expect to wait for something that is 100% perfect and flawless, you have to start where you are and work your way to making that more of a common occurrence.
Action leads to everything.
We get inspiration through the actions we are taking, such as learning a new skill in Photoshop, but inspiration won’t come just by trying to think broadly of possibilities. It’s too much for us to work with.
If we constantly know our limits, and know when we are expanding our abilities, our inspiration and motivation that follows will keep us able to produce much more.
How long would it have taken someone to do something following the wrong order of inspiration, motivation, action? Compare that to someone actually taking action actively attempting to reach the next stage.
Process And Procedure Are Synonymous To Action
Action is the start of any process.
Even a brainstorming session or the creation of a list of ideas is actionable because it will lead to inspiration.
When we think of process and procedure, we usually associate that with after we have an idea and are creating a process/procedure to make it work.
However, you don’t need the idea to start a procedure. The first steps can be brainstorming ideas. As broad as it is, whatever you want to accomplish, you can narrow it down when you start, when action is taken.
Additionally synonymous to process and procedure is operation.
Operation is a set of things to do, the creation of the basis of a plan. It doesn’t matter how vague, the action must first be taken to start the development of inspiration.
You can’t win a race by thinking of the best route to take when everyone else has already started to take the first route they have seen.
Rarely will you see a different and better path that will lead you ahead unless brought on by accident.
In the case of creation and acting as a productive member to society, slow and steady no longer wins the race.
If we all waited around for ideas before actions, nothing would get done.
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will” (W. Clement Stone).
Action leads to inspiration and motivation. Not the other way around.