The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration.
Have you ever had an epiphany? You know – one of those moments where something suddenly becomes clear to you and you smack yourself in the head wondering why you didn’t think of it before. I love epiphanies, but they’re very capricious phenomena. You can scare them away by anticipating their arrival.
Whenever I’ve been visited by one of these flashes of inspiration, I’m usually in a quiet state, free from the distractions of daily life. I mentioned last time that we recently took a vacation on Prince Edward Island. I’d wanted to see it for many years. We’ve taken very few vacations over the years, so I was looking forward to the trip all year.
PEI is known for its endless beaches, red soil, and of course, the charming Anne of Green Gables novels. Seems like a prime locale for an epiphany, doesn’t it?
Decisions, Decisions …
I really appreciate an epiphany when I’ve got a tough decision to make and no clear inkling of the best path to take. But the real magic comes when an epiphany alerts you to a goal that you didn’t even know you had. Lately, I’ve struggled with a few minor personal and financial decisions, but more frustrating has been this feeling that I’m not even sure exactly what some of my goals are or should be. I was really hoping for a burst of inspiration while on vacation.
It didn’t happen. Nothing came to me. We saw some beautiful sights and I fulfilled a longtime dream of visiting the Canadian Emerald Island. But no flashes of brilliance materialized. No clear path stretched out before me and I came home feeling a little lost.
With the easy button out of service, I was left with a couple of options:
A) Keep Waiting: Maybe I jinxed my chance for an epiphany by hoping it would arrive. Perhaps I should just put it out of my mind and keep hoping for a true epiphany at a moment when I least expect it?
B) Just Do It: I could take action. Start. Do something. I could look at the goals I know about and strike out on a mission to achieve them. In the process, I might discover some new ideas, goals and dreams. Then I could concentrate on figuring out ways to achieve them.
I chose B. While there’s something to be said for gathering information and carefully weighing options, you can only do it for so long before you become frustrated by a lack of progress. If your ruminating isn’t delivering the goods, it’s time to grab the keys and drive yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not quite sure where you’re going. Sometimes you just have to figure it out along the way. And you never know . . . That elusive epiphany just might make an appearance at some point along your journey.
Have you ever had an epiphany?