Eric Kim abstract cliff

How to be Inspired

We cannot breathe and live without inspiration.

Inspiration vs Motivation

Eric Kim abstract cliff

  1. Inspiration: Having an external source breathe life, vigor, and ideas into you.
  2. Motivation: Having the vigor and energy to undertake action by yourself. Motivation as movement and action.

We need both.

We need inspiration from role models and our heroes from the past. We need motivation (inner-motivation) to actually do something, create something, make something, produce something.

Don’t get suckered with inspiration porn

Too many people get stuck in the first camp. They are just hungry for inspiration, and keep stimulating themselves with external inspiration.

But we must recognize:

Inspiration is the bridge to motivation.

It is good to have external inspiration in order to have motivation to actually create our artwork!

Once again, to be clear:

Motivation is more important than inspiration.

But when we are lacking motivation, it is good to find external sources of inspiration.

Where ERIC KIM finds inspiration

For myself, I find the greatest sources of inspiration from:

  1. Philosophers (Nietzsche, Seneca, Nassim Taleb, Heraclitus)
  2. Poets (Virgil, Homer, Horace, Dante)
  3. Painters (Raphael, Leonardo, Piet Mondrian, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol)
  4. Photographers (Josef Koudelka, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon)
  5. Musicians (Kanye West, JAY Z, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Big Sean, Dr. Dre)
  6. Film-makers (Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick)
  7. Soldiers (King Leonidas from ancient Sparta)
  8. Entrepreneurs (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk)

To me, seeing how they lived their lives is a good blueprint for me. I’m also inspired by their creations and art works.

But once again,

Inspiration that doesn’t lead to creation is empty.

Buy Books, Not Gear

An aphorism we can follow if we want more inspiration:

Buy books, not gear.

If you want more inspiration to make stuff, make photos, or discover new ideas, books are the best. They are the distillation of wisdom, and artwork.

Eventually all technology and tools get outdated, but books last forever. And good books get better as time goes on.

How to discover inspiration

Randomness, chaos, and chance is good way to discover new artwork. This is why I like going to random museum exhibitions. I never know what sources of inspiration exist.

Also, another tip:

Discover who inspired your personal heroes.

For example I’ve always been curious:

Who inspired Steve Jobs?

Upon doing some research on Google and reading Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson biography on him, I discovered that Steve Jobs was highly inspired by Edwin Land, who invented Polaroid. Thus, I started to research the life and philosophy of Edwin Land, to discover deeper inspiration.

Inspiration to motivate you to create your own artwork!

Find and discover inspiration from the (dead) masters of the past, and use their hustle and spirit of dedication to thrust you forward to make your own artwork!

Never forget; our heroes and inspirations aren’t demi-gods. They’re just like me and you. They just work a lot harder.

Hustle hard, shoot hard, and never stop shooting!


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