So I stated in my first post that there isn’t much advice to be found on overcoming inspiration overload save for superficial advice we’ve heard our whole lives like, “time management.” I feel like I should clarify that I am not dismissing this advice, I’m simply stating that it’s not enough. Most every one would agree, or I hope would agree, that time management is important in most things and that other advice like it is equally an important step in organizing your life. I only say it’s superficial in the respect that it’s an easy go-to advice that most people with this problem already turned to before looking for more.
That being said however, don’t think that this kind of advice is something that should be over looked. Time management is the first step you should begin taking when trying to solve your own personal struggle with having too many ideas. More so is the importance of setting your priorities. If this is something that you have neglected however, here’s a simple guide to help you sift through your ideas to find which ones you can dismiss or put off until later, and which ones you should focus on.
Finding Your Hierarchy of Priorities:
1. What are your passions in life?
You are probably a very passionate person if you are experiencing an overwhelming amount of inspiration. Break those passions down into their most basic forms and lump them together in groups. For example, if you’re passionate about painting, design, drawing, cinema, music, instruments, and movie scores, you can probably break it down to a passion in visual and auditory arts. Overwhelming yourself with every singular and specific passion only creates a larger maze to search through in your mind.
2. What can you do/want to do with those passions in your future?
Be realistic but not constricting. When you are Steven Spielberg’s age, what do you see yourself conceivably doing with what you love in life? Don’t limit yourself by insecurities or perceived boundaries at this point because goals have no boundaries as long as you are passionate and willing to work for them.
3. What can you do/want to do with those passions in your near future?
With what you have in your personal repertoire right now, what can you do with these passions and which ones can you do most with? At the point you are in right now, you may not be able to do all that you want in life with all of your passions, but I’m willing to bet that there are a couple that you can start working on if not now, very soon. Don’t be afraid that choosing a music path at this very moment will cut you off from walking a visual arts path in the future. Regardless of your end goal, you have to start somewhere. Finding the path to the end is what life is about, but before you can do anything you have to realize that the paths are many and will open up more the further you travel.
4. What do you need to do to start focusing on your passions more?
If you’re like me, you need to get out of college first. For some this is easy, but for those of us who are too distracted with what you want to do and what you are passionate about it’s very hard to suffer the drones of required classes you have to pass first. If you are already out of college, what point in your life are you currently in and what direction do you need to begin heading to be able to focus more on your passions? This is the toughest part to get over because it means holding off on your dreams for a bit. It means you might have to submit to someone else’s goals before you can continue on to your own. And I don’t want to encourage anyone to just up and drop out of what you are doing, but there have been plenty of people who could suffer demeaning work or dead-end paths no longer and have just dropped out of that race to pursue their own more successfully. The late Steve Jobs dropped out of college and wound up revolutionizing how the world sees computing. But again, those choices are last ditch efforts and can also end poorly if not thought out well. Regardless of where you are in your life path though, at this point you are going to have to take some losses and do what you have to do to make for a better path in the future.
Once you have these four steps down, the next and hardest part of all is actually doing it. Yes at times suffering through the immediate life can be tough, but if you’re tired of thinking about the great things you want to do, the only thing left is to start doing what you need to to get there. This is where I am. I’m a fifth year senior trying to finish up two majors and quite frankly it sucks, but the more I think about these four steps the better I begin to feel about my position because it puts my current place in life into a bigger whole that defines who I’m going to be… it’s just really hard to stay in that mindset.
As always, please let me know your thoughts about this post. If you feel that there is more to add tell me so. The more we talk about it, the more we’ll both think about it in our every day lives, and the better we will be at controlling the surge of inspirations that disconnect us from what we need to do.