Four techniques to harness moments of inspiration

Inspiration is the substance that helps assemble an idea into a fully executable plan. If you're like me, then moments of inspiration are fleeting bursts of superhuman clarity that leave burning mind-splinters in their wake. It can be incredibly difficult to harness moments of inspiration - or clarity - especially when they hit at inopportune times such as a public bathroom, times of intimacy, or a funeral. I am sadly writing from experience.

Like many entrepreneurial folk, I'm afflicted with the disease of having amazing ideas with none of the clarity to make them actionable. So when a moment of clarity nucleates, I use a series of techniques to try and harness all the inspirational and creative power before it is exhausted. I would love to share those with you below:


Notebooks are your friend and you should use them

Don't make the mistake of leaving home without a notebook, because when the moment strikes, you will want to be prepared to write, scribble, sketch and wireframe as fast and furiously as you can. Sentence structure and neatness doesn't matter - just as long as the thought is recorded.

Studies have proven that physically recording information encourages your brain to form connections between bits of information and binds together deeper relationships and understanding that would typically be lost in digital note-taking situations or by not recording at all.

Plug in your earbuds, turn up the music, and tune out the world

Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter that our brain produces to help us stay focused, positive, productive, and motivated. Having a supply of dopamine in your body not only helps you get it done, but it also has added benefits of improving memory, promoting weight loss, and combats depression.

Encouraging your brain to increase dopaminergic neurotransmission will prolong your moments of clarity and inspiration so that you can record more of them at longer intervals. The fastest way to hack your brain is simply to listen to music that makes you feel good. Music affects us similar to food and sex: pupil dilation, improved blood flow, lowered electrical conductance of skin, and increased cerebellum activity.

Yes, I basically told you to do drugs.


If this is what happens, you're doing it right.

Breathe slow, breathe deep from the belly

Another "body hack" is to breathe slow and deep from the belly and not the chest. When you inhale from your abdomen, you intake more oxygen into your lungs which in turn circulates through your body to further promote efficient blood flow.

By controlling the frequency of your breathing, you will also regulate and slow your heart rate, which counteracts the effect of music increasing beats per minute. Breathing exercises calm emotions and help you to isolate and focus your mental resources on the things that are important to you in the immediate moment.

Smile. Everything is okay

Smile - even if you don't feel like it. Smiling reconfigures your mind to accept positive experiences, reject negative inputs, and shifts you into a more optimistic, happier mood. As you write, listen to music, and control your breathing, you will form more connections between ideas and help to prolong those moments of clarity that will transform ideas into tangible results.