Finding Inspiration Around You in the World, Speech Example
Good evening. When I tell you that it is a privilege to be here tonight, I speak the truth. The other truth is that it is a little intimidating. I am no experienced public speaker. I am not exactly a celebrity. What I am, however, is what I must hold onto, because I believe what I have to say is something of real value, and about something that vitally concerns absolutely everyone here tonight. My subject knows no age, gender, racial, or any other barrier because it is about that thing behind dreams, behind achievement, and behind everything good anyone ever does. My subject has caused some extraordinary evolutions in the history of humanity, and it has been responsible for a single smile on a single face. My subject is your subject. It is inspiration, and the road to finding it.
The more I think about inspiration, and how we all seek to be inspired by the world around us, the more I find I am thinking about love. More exactly: if there are any two things it seems that everyone is looking to find as they move through life, they are inspiration and love. Everyone wants to feel a passion about something, just as everyone wants a more specific passion for, and from, somebody else. So I think about these two, universal, endlessly elusive ambitions, being chased down by all of us, everywhere we go. What I come to realize is, both have a great deal less to do with what we are seeking, than with what we are bringing to the pursuit.
Ask yourself about love. Ask yourself about that uncanny, unmistakable feeling when a powerful, personal connection happens. Then ask yourself about inspiration, the things that touch your spirit and create in you desires to try, to do, and to be. What do these achievements have in common? They both rely, and completely, on what you are and what you yourself have to offer. In being inspired and in being in love, it cannot happen without the opening up of all that you are, to be ready and accepting of what it is that you need. They both require a soul that is curious and interested in that which is beyond itself, and eager to share what it already has in its possession. They both demand a sincere and consistent ability of appreciation, and an authentic impulse of true generosity. Most importantly, they both demand, not taking, but giving.
I believe it is all too easy to miss this simple reality, as I believe that missing it is why so many of us stumble along, thinking that, if we are lucky, we will run into the inspiration we so badly want. The truth is that the inspiration cannot even be seen by us if we are not truly prepared to take it in. God brings everything to us and sets it all before us, and His will is that we employ the will He gave to each of us. His gifts are many and vast, but they must be recognized first. Inspiration then depends as much upon our sight, and what we do with it, as why we desperately seek it. It is the thing waiting to be done, the gift to be seized, and the spirit waiting to be felt. It cannot exist, really, until we meet with it and give it shape, and direction.
When I think about what inspires me, I feel, above all, that I am fortunate. Somehow, and in a way I cannot properly account for, it seems that this world surrounding me here at school is as inspiring as we hope the greater world outside it is. Inspiration, vague but powerful, undefined but real, comes to me when I talk to fellow students, and sparks of their own spirits and interests touch my being. When I pass by a random act of kindness being committed, I am as inspired as if I had just discovered my faith all over again. When a student I know seizes on an idea that excites them, that moment explodes as inspiration for me, as the education guiding my course here offers avenue after avenue of fresh inspiration. To be a student is to be always ready to accept what is new to you, so inspiration awaits in every lesson. Then, even the ordinary, daily efforts of the personnel here touch me in this way. There is nothing sensational about investing, every day, the efforts needed to keep the school running as it should. At the same time, and taken in at the right moment, there is a simple beauty in this as well. To perceive inspiration as inherently a “flash of light”, or glorious burst of insight, is to mistake the real quality of it. It is everywhere. It is in the books, in a stray sentence from a professor, in an overheard conversation in a hallway, and in the sunlight falling on the grass of the campus. It is wherever I look, as long as I am prepared to see.
Like love, then, inspiration is all about discovery, and the willingness we maintain to be open to it. Like love, it will probably never show itself if we pursue it as a commodity we wish to capture. I do not believe that inspiration lies within ourselves, necessarily, but I firmly believe that we possess the powers that can identify it, give it meaning, and actually make it inspiration. There is no more human and elevating process in the world, because even love belongs to this astounding equation. To those wanting to see inspiration, I say: stop looking. Stop trying. Instead, see what is in front of you all the time, and see what you can bring to it, because this is where the magic of inspiration occurs. You will know you are inspired when you are the force within the inspiration itself.
One other thing: strangely, sometimes we run from the thing we have been seeking, and the inspiration opens up possibilities that give us pause. In plain terms, we get afraid, and we usually invent excellent reasons for not moving forward. Inspiration means something new, something not yet tried, and we turn our backs to it. Fearful, we retreat. Uncertain, we decide that nothing is worth risking what we already have. When this happens – and it happens all the time – remember that something in you wanted that next step in the journey. You were waiting to be inspired, you made the effort to see the inspiration, and you must move forward because letting it pass you by does not translate to staying as you were. It means going backwards. That is the law of physics in human matters; when we stay put, we fall behind because life keeps advancing all around us. Which leads me to exhorting you, beyond anything else, to realize that the inspiration sparking you is always a kind of a star. It asks only one thing from you, even as it promises so much: follow. Trust me: God sets stars before us for a very good reason. That we follow is, make no mistake, His will.
Time is precious
don’t waste it!