First of all I must do an update on my last Second Thoughts – Guilt and Garbage. Someone DID come by and take a couple of my chairs and my brother, (Dr Tom Moran, world’s greatest chiropractor) bucking my suggestion to toss broken things because you won’t repair them, defiantly DID repair several broken items, thus saving our planet from more trash. Of course I take all the credit for having inspired him to do it.

That started me thinking about inspiration and calls to action and what is actually triggered in the brain to make that happen.

  • Pain – Tony Robbins stresses that we are inspired more by avoiding pain than by gaining pleasure. So when the pain of not doing something exceeds the pleasure of avoiding it we will be motivated to act. So the pain of not fitting into the pants has to exceed the pleasure of eating the ice cream – not easy.
  • Music - In his book, The Mozart Effect, psychologist Don Campbell discusses how music can alter your mental state and has lists of music types with corresponding effects. Latin music inspires us physically, making our bodies want to move; jazz, blues or soul music can inspire us emotionally, classical music can improve concentration and memory. Hip hop and heavy metal excites our nervous system which could make you want to act in a self expressive way.
  • Well I’ll Show You – I don’t know the psychological term for this but needing to prove someone wrong (like my brother and the broken things) can inspire us to action – hopefully for good.
  • Commitment to Another – I did a five minute gig at a comedy open mic night this week. I wanted to change my mind and not go but I promised a fellow aspiring comic I would go with him and didn’t want to renege. When it was over I was glad that I had kept my promise, and despite the wanting to vomit for the entire 48 hours before the performance, I might do it again – all because I promised someone else.

And then there are things that inspire me the wrong way. I don’t know about you but I cannot take one more Sarah McLaughlin sad-eyed dog commercial. They inspire me to change the channel – not sure why, maybe it’s the sheer frequency of them or the feeling of being so blatantly manipulated.

“My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a director.”

~ Cole Porter