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Inspiration comes from many sources. Mine has recently come in the form of three young men pursuing the dream they have of becoming recording artists. I am enamored not just by their talent, but also their drive. Drive, ambition, determination. While not lacking, I have never found anything but learning German that pushed me to my limits and made me want to apply myself.

My sophomore year in high school I took German as my foreign language requirement. French was an awful disaster for me in elementary school (think boring school marm who makes you recite the same text repeatedly) and the previous year’s experience with Spanish had left me wishing for a way around the obligation of learning another language. All that changed in Art Lader’s German One class. I was inspired and for the first time, I truly studied. Hours were spent conjugating verbs, repeating nominative, accusative and dative cases and memorizing vocabulary. I was obsessed with German, creating stories and conversations in my head, practicing whenever an opening arose and finally begging for the chance to go to Germany. Luckily, the opportunity presented itself and I did get to spend five weeks in Germany that summer after taking one year of high school German.

But over twenty years later, I find that was the only instance where I felt compelled to really apply myself and I have to wonder, why? Why are some people just generally more productive? Are they just smarter? Do they have a better character that is intrinsically motivated? If so, how can I acquire it? Plans are well and good, but let’s get real, you have to implement them to get anything done.

So I sit at my computer, pounding out blogs and short stories since that is what I want to do. In return, I feel more creative and somewhat productive. (Only somewhat since I have convinced myself that my messy house is not only a liability, it’s the only thing that stands between me and success. Don’t ask how or why I have this idea. It’s just there.)

Find what inspires you and revel in it. Feel joy in other people’s success and use it to create your own. It’s worth it. Right now I’m listening to Marcus Foster’s ‘I don’t mind.’ And I don’t.

marcus foster