What Inspires Me

I was a member of Toastmasters at my office for a year or so.  As part of the Toastmasters membership, I needed to prepare and give 10 speeches to people.  The final speech was supposed to be me inspiring the audience to do or believe something.  I don’t really like to tell people how they should live their life, so I didn’t want to try to inspire them to vote, or stop smoking, or whatever.

Side Note:  Yes I can get pretty opinionated on my blog here, but I’m not forcing anyone to read it, and I believe I’m very clear about the fact that everyone has the right to his/her opinion.  I do my best to briefly describe what I’m talking about in each week’s blog right up front, so that people can say “No thanks” if they choose.

Anyway, since I didn’t think I could write a speech focused on inspiring people to take a certain viewpoint, I thought I’d write about what inspires me.  But that caused an even bigger problem, because I don’t think I’m someone who gets inspired by things too much.  At least, not in the way that I think others view the word.

I didn’t know if I should write about how Sesame Street and The Electric Company inspired me to read and learn other languages, or if I should write about how my mom inspired me to be my own person, thinking for myself, rather than following the crowd.  Or should it be about my favorite poem, “The Road Not Taken,” that also inspired me to be an individual?

I had done a couple speeches focused on my love of traveling and how my best friend, Nikki inspired me to travel, which then led to my first trip overseas, which THEN inspired me to want to live in another country.  I wondered if I should speak more to that concept, but decided against it because I’d spoken about that, ad nauseum, and didn’t want to be known as The Lady Who Won’t Stop Talking About Travel.

As I was agonizing over this speech, and the date of my final speech drew near, it suddenly hit me . . . I’m inspired by deadlines!

This started at a young age with me.  My brother and I always had daily chores.  We’d come home from school and have about two hours before Mom would come home from work, but it wasn’t until the clock showed that she’d be home within 30 minutes that we even started our chores.  I learned then just how quickly I can work when the clock’s ticking.

As I got older, this translated into how I did my homework in high school.  I never took work home with me, instead opting to get the work done the class period before it was due.  So my Math got done in English class.  Science was worked on in Math class, etc.  It’s a bad reflection on our school system (or maybe a good reflection on me) that I practically breezed through high school like this, nabbing As and Bs in nearly every class.  Heck, I even made the Honor Roll my senior year this way.

Even to this day, there are many times that something doesn’t get done until the last second.

For instance, when packing for a trip, I don’t make out an Excel spreadsheet weeks before I depart, like Nikki does.  No.  Packing generally happens a day or two before a big trip.  I do make out a list, so I know how many pants/shirts/underwear to pack, but invariably, the night before the trip becomes a frantic game of “did we remember this?”

I’m still as unenthusiastic over cleaning house as I was 30 years ago.  I try to clean one room a week, but there are times that the place doesn’t get cleaned until the day before guests come over.  Sometimes, even the day of.  And it comes out looking spotless and amazing.

And even with Toastmasters speeches.  That final speech of mine was written the day before I was supposed to give it; I didn’t even get to practice it before, like I normally did with most of the speeches.  I spent a couple weeks trying to come up with the subject, but for some reason, nothing was coming to me.  I wasn’t inspired until the deadline approached, et voila!  I was again able to create a fairly decent speech almost literally on the fly.

It’s not a way of life that’s conducive to relaxation, and I’ve often thought I’d like to be able to take a more relaxed approach to things, so that I can do better than “fairly decent,” or “As and Bs,” but for right now, it seems to work for me.

What inspires you?  Are you also someone who can’t seem to get motivated until the deadline is looming, or are you inspired by more noble things, like past scientists (Einstein, Bell, Curie), or artists (Van Gogh, Beethoven)?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Craig
    Jul 05, 2013 @ 09:20:24

    I, too, am a last minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants procrastinator. I tend to think of deadlines as motivational rather than inspirational, but one does lead to the other. I have a different problem with inspiration, as my life is so crazy (or I procrastinate or excuse-make too much) that I never seem to have time to create the masterworks of art I see that inspire me. I know I could do them, if I just took the time and did it. But I don’t. So, when great or cool art inspires me, it also depresses me and make me feel guilty. I get a great surging of too intense, yet conflicting, emotions…which of course makes me confused and freezes me into being incapable of acting on the inspiration. sigh…damn psychology. Someday I gotta get that fixed in me.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 05, 2013 @ 09:25:18

      Sorry to hear that, hon. But it’s cool that you do feel a surge of inspiration when you see things like that. Me? I just say “that’s cool,” & move on with my day. But I know what you mean about feeling guilty. I definitely feel guilty that I’m not inspired by more lofty things.

      Thanks for stopping by today.


  2. kerryemckenna
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 07:28:48

    I like that you found a topic! I’ve been thusly inspired by deadlines! Although I’m usually planned to the inch when I travel, that’s because I consider the planning to be travel itself, previewing all the yummy choices and “preliving” it. Other things, nah. I tell myself I’ll do it in small steps, but most things are done easily in a few minutes instead. Except for taxes. Massive time consumption. And ahead of time, usually….
    Other than that, I’m inspired by people who managed to make beautiful lives out of horrible conditions, and I’m also de-inspired by them, if I compare myself. Inspiration is, if anything, unpredictable!!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 06, 2013 @ 09:25:34

      That’s a cool way to think about packing for travel, Kerry. 🙂 And yes, comparing yourself to people who’ve done inspiring things rarely brings about good feelings.

      I must say, I find doing my taxes to be fairly easy, & usually get them done in about 30 minutes. HOWEVER, I don’t own any property, have any investments, or run my own business, yet. I’m sure when those things happen, it’ll up the annoyance factor of doing them.

      Thanks for stopping by today.


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