There’s something about being in the presence of greatness.
You know the feeling. When you walk out of a concert that was on-point and your ears are ringing, bass still thrumming through your body. You’re energized, talking louder, moving quicker.
Have you ever worked for a boss you really like? There’s something that switches in your brain as you begin to perform well for the boss, not just your clients. You want to make your boss happy, you want his or her approval.
In sports, they always talk about “playing up” to keep your game sharp.
How about standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon? This immense place, that’s been around way longer than you’ve been breathing and will continue to exist long after you stop.
When we surround ourselves with things, people, and experiences that are in some ways better and greater than ourselves, it pushes us to excel. For most of us, standing in front of a person who has realized his dreams causes us to think of our own. We dream bigger and try just a little bit harder to get what we want. For most of us, greatness is like an emotional cup of coffee to put our feet back on track and get them moving again.
Try this little thought exercise:
- When was the last time you smiled really REALLY uncontrollably wide?
- Think about a time when you let out an audible gasp when you saw something.
- Can you remember a time you left a person and started daydreaming about your future?
Who was it? Where were you? What made you smile or gasp? These answers are important. These situations stirred something in you. They likely can again.
It may sound silly to non-yogis, but the last incredible yoga class I took, I thought about the poses and how they felt as I did them. I thought about this all through the next day. This is also why I go back again and again, this is my passion.
As a yoga practitioner, I’ve learned my practice is stronger and my meditation is deeper when I have an incredible teacher or students in my class who I know will motivate me. Without comparing myself to my community, I may pick up the extra energy to hold that challenging pose three more breaths when I know the whole class is doing it with me. Almost like I find this extra ounce of strength inside me when I know others can find it too. It happened to me yesterday, actually.
I was ¾ of the way through the class and I could feel my body shaking. Sweat kept running into my eyes, salty water stinging as I try to turn my head and blink it away. Had I been alone, I would have decided that was enough for the day, sat on the mat and began stretching to slow down the end of my practice. But I wasn’t alone! And this teacher was not thinking class was over, nor was the strong part of our practice.
You see, she’s a great practitioner. She’s dedicated to her practice, practices daily, and knows when enough is enough. A great practitioner knows the difference between when your body is tired and needs to stop or when your body is out of shape and needs to push past adversity.
She pushed, I went along with it, and it felt so great! Since I was so warm, I was able to find the full extension of my poses and get deeper into muscles that needed attention.
This story has relevance in your daily life. You have to surround yourself with greatness if you want it to show up in your life. It doesn’t matter the form. It can be a person like my teacher, a giant hole in the ground, an incredible sunset, a phenomenal concert, whatever you can find that speaks to you.
9 Quick and Easy Ways to Find Inspiration Today. Right now. Go!
- Work out with a talented athlete or teacher (or take any class with a dynamic teacher)
- Go outside. Do anything outside!
- Go to a concert or listen to an incredible album super loud
- Listen to a Podcast. I recommend themoth.org or TedTalks for inspiration.
- Pick up an autobiography of someone you admire. Commit yourself to a chapter a day.
- Pop on Pinterest and search “inspiration”
- Think about all the things that make your like the way it is – computer, telephone, and explore how it was made and by whom
- Take a break and walk through an art gallery
- Have a coworker with a talent? Ask him or her to show it to you.
Surrounding yourself with greatness does not have to be hard. Look for incredible people in your life and work to keep them there. Get yourself to a concert every once and a while. Go to a play. See the ballet. Go on a hike. Find yourself constantly in the pursuit of engaging your senses with something outrageous, beautiful, larger than life, or completely different than you.
If you have any ideas not mentioned here, feel free to leave it in the comments below! If it’s new to me, maybe I’ll give it a shot and write about it!