A nagging thought has been clawing the inside walls of my head, but scratchy-scribbles on the inside of your skull don’t make for good posts.
An ancient conversation has been slashing and struggling its way up from a grave covered by dry and rotting leaves of time. It is vying to be alive again. The concluding question of that conversation was: if (theoretically speaking) you attain perfection, will anything ever inspire you?
Years have passed, since.
Perfection, however, or even trying to get an inch closer to it, is démodé. Mediocrity has been a silent virus that has become an epidemic of sorts. And like the liquid glass that wraps Neo in The Matrix, mediocrity covers you completely, leaving no scope to wash it away, to deny it; unless you are inspired.
Then, I find this Blog Challenge by Lorelle: Where Do You Consistently Find Inspiration? As I was reading the challenge, almost instantly, WordPress and the Automattic Team came to mind. They inspire. I shall elaborate in the remainder of the post.
Which does bring us to a rather difficult question that have been hurling at a few folks last few days: What is the opposite of inspiration?
It has stumped quite a few, though I was especially impressed by this comment on this post. While it seems to be right on target, I am still looking for the word that does the exact opposite of inspiring. Perhaps, a definition of what I mean by inspiration will help.
For me, an external trigger that causes you to change your own standard to improve or create something new, is inspiring. This is just the base of what it means, however. There are further characteristics that define an inspiration:
- That which inspires has to awaken a “romantic” quality within, to improve your own standards, in your own mind and soul. To copy the one who has revised the standard is not to be inspired: that’s following. Having been with WordPress for a few years now, I have seen this service from its basic form to what it is today. So what is about this team that inspires? Is it the platform that they have created? Yes, but not quite. The platform is super, but not rocket science, and if you ask me, does not have high entry barriers. Looking at WordPress does not make me feel like creating a blogging platform like WordPress. What inspires is how the team thinks and nurtures the platform and the people who use their platform. I follow nearly every Automattician blog, and it gives a great insight about how these people care for things and how creative they are.
- That which inspires has to have a long-term vision, big or small. And importantly, stay true to the vision. If you have been with WordPress for a while, you will have noticed the changes they have made to the platform. They don’t really need to. A year ago, WordPress was quite amazing. Their diligence and commitment to what they have built is beyond the ordinary. If you see their about page, their vision is simplest yet grandest of them all:
“…a handful of people passionate about making the web a better place.”
And in making the web a better place, you have to experience their support. Seldom required, but when you get support from these folks, it changes your expectations about how support should be handled.
- That which inspires has a dynamic standard And it seems almost ingrained in the ethic of WordPress folks as the very basis of what defines them. One good reason of not setting a target is to ensure that there is never any complacency in what you do. The question always is: why stop here? Why stop anywhere?
And while it may come across as irritating to a few worshippers of mediocrity, there has to be some amount of enforcement of your standards.
There you have it. That’s how much I am able to define what inspiration is. But it’s annoying that I haven’t yet found an antonym for inspiration, as I see it. And that word is important, because it needs an identity; because we need to be able to identify it when we encounter it.
And while I have yet to find that word, I know what causes it (opposite of inspiration).
Complacency, casualness, and carelessness.