How to Find Inspiration

eric kim street photography cindy project

Dear friend,

I’m fortunate enough that I have a muse (inspiration) in life— who is Cindy.

1. Find your inspirational muse

Cindy is the source of all my creative insight and motivation. She is my favorite subject to photograph. And I never tire of her.

I can spend all day with her, and never get bored of her. I relish each second I have in conversation with her. I love talking to her about art, music, and literature.

She is the one who inspired me to start the Photography Club at UCLA with my two buddies. She is the one who inspired me to teach a Sociology of Facebook and Online Social Networks course as an undergraduate. She is the one who motivated me to apply for a social media internship. She is the one who helped push me to start my blog.

2. Nobody is born inspired

I don’t think I have any inner-source of inspiration or motivation. It is all external. It is from individuals who I have met. It is from authors I have read. It is from photographers whose images I have seen.

Everything I have learned is from society, and those who I love. Nothing is from myself.

I borrowed and stole liberally from others. I have a lot to thank society for. If it weren’t for others, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

3. Inspiration is everywhere

In terms of inspiration, I gain inspiration from my conversations with Cindy. She gives me honest feedback and criticism. While I don’t always agree with what she says, I always listen to everything she says, without interrupting her. In most cases, she is usually right.

I also gain inspiration from music. I have a deep love of hip hop music, classical music, and jazz.

I gain inspiration from poetry (currently Basho’s haiku poetry, as well as the odes from Horace).

I gain inspiration from other modern artists. I am inspired by Picasso, Steve Jobs, and Kanye West.

I am inspired by nature— by trees, rivers, lakes, animals, and leaves on the ground. I am inspired by the wind, the water, and the earth.

4. Stay hungry, stay foolish

Don’t limit your inspiration to any one source. Be hungry, and consume sources of inspiration from every corner of the digital globe.

Not only that, but treat your everyday, mundane, ordinary life as the deepest source of inspiration and motivation. Find inspiration in your kids, your partner, or your family members. Find motivation from your close friends and colleagues. Don’t think that creativity is only limited to foreign places. You can find as much inspiration in the suburbs as the streets of Paris.

5. Don’t force inspiration

When I don’t feel inspired or motivated, I don’t force it. Rather, I sit patiently, and let my inner-muse come to me. And that inner-muse is stimulated by reading, thinking, writing, reflecting, walking, taking photos, and talking to Cindy and others.

To always find inspiration in life, empty yourself. Empty yourself of concepts, pre-conceived notions, and ‘rules.’

Each day, carve yourself out. Make yourself as empty as possible. Remember, a house is only as useful as the empty space inside. A vessel is only as useful as how empty it is. And a hard drive is only as useful as how empty it is.

Seek emptiness, yet fill yourself with wholesome inspiration and motivation from all around the earth. And as a practical life-hack, find a life partner (muse) who will inspire you until the day you (or your muse) dies.


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