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Why Inspiration Matters?

  • International Institute of Inspiration Economy
  • Government Hospitals/Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Bahrain


Inspiration plays an important role for personal and professional growth and development though it tends to be an overlooked concept. This research study was designed to explore people experiences with inspiration and it investigates why inspiration matters. It is a qualitative study based on the grounded theory methodology which involved telephone interviews with ten persons holding top and high level management in their organizations. Research findings revealed that participants' experience with inspiration is a worthy part of their lives, it is evoked by challenging situations, and it helps them meet their personal and business related needs. This research shades light on the inspiration role in changing or enhancing the individual characteristics and traits such as being more persistent, prudent and accountable which encourage further research in this area.
Journal of Inspiration Economy
@2014: Scientic Publishing Center, University of Bahrain
J. Ins. Econ. 1, No.1, (Sept-2014)
Website:, ISSN (2384-4752)
E-mail: 1, 2, 3
Why Inspiration Matters?
Mohamed Buheji1, Zahraa Saif2, Haitham Jahrami3
1 Assistant Professor, University of Bahrain
2,3 Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Bahrain
Received July. 2014, Revised July. 2014, Accepted August 2014, Published Sept. 2014
Abstract: Inspiration plays an important role for personal and professional
growth and development though it tends to be an overlooked concept. This
research study was designed to explore people experiences with inspiration
and it investigates why inspiration matters. It is a qualitative study based on
the grounded theory methodology which involved telephone interviews with
ten persons holding top and high level management in their organizations.
Research ndings revealed that participants’ experience with inspiration is a
worthy part of their lives, it is evoked by challenging situations, and it helps them
meet their personal and business related needs. This research shades light
on the inspiration role in changing or enhancing the individual characteristics
and traits such as being more persistent, prudent and accountable which
encourage further research in this area.
Keywords: Inspiration, Innovation, Motivation, Insight.
J. Ins. Econ Vol. 1, No. 1, 15-24 (2014)
In today’s competitive environment, we tend to focus on measuring competencies, abilities,
skills and knowledge however we fail to recognize the importance of inspiration role. There
are yet few research papers that we came across with that try to answer why inspiration
We know that inspiration is well linked with creativity and innovation by allowing one to think
of new unconventional ways (Christensen et. al., 2010). Inspiration is also known to boost
a person or even groups or societies from the challenging and impossible status to the
enjoyable and possible achievements. One reason that inspiration tends to be overlooked
is because of its uid and intangible nature, albeit it is an experience that we all are
familiar with.
What is Inspiration?
Inspiration is about discovering your leap through dismantling the foundation of the problem
as Hendrick (2009) mentions. Therefore, inspiration is about our ability to spot the upper
limit of the human being within, thus enhancing his/her geniusity. Thus, as Hendrick (2009)
put it, inspiration is about thriving in sustained abundance, love and creativity.
Why Inspiration?
Harding (1948) believes that inspiration plays the role for capturing and harnessing ideas.
Therefore, different authors believe that inspiration is a motivational state that compels
individuals to bring ideas into fruition and that such inspiration is important to the creative
process (Christensen et al.. 2010 ; Thrash et al., 2010).
Until recently inspiration is seen as a term limited to only prophets, righteous people and
unique leaders (Carpenter, 1987). Today, the world of inspiration is spreading to all the
countries, generations, genders, communities regardless of where, when, how and who
limitations (Thrash, et al., 2010). The ability to inspire or get inspired is now a more frequent
and consistent trend as compared to 20 years ago and it is certainly more progressive in
the last few years. Inspiration is not any more about motivation for higher performance, it is
more becoming as a core value for evaluating things (Hart, 2000). Inspiration is more needed
today especially with the instability of social, economic and political environment, since it
has the inuence to building a common purpose among diverse communities (Iverson,
2011; Hart, 1998). When we inspire people we can involve them in the implementation of
needed social transformation. A true inspiration gives a sense of independence and an
ability to be autonomous and unique. An Inspired person means today he/she can be more
self-serving, participative and self-condent (Hart, 2000).
Thrash and Elliot (2004) believes that inspiration has not been well studied in from the point
of view of expectations, experiences, needs, and interaction patterns nor was studied from
the point of view of organization and cultural environment. This research study would try to
start to full this need of understanding role of inspiration through a designed investigation of
“why inspiration matters” for individuals level using a sample from the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Method - The research methodology used to conduct this study is the one known as
grounded theory. Grounded theory is a systematic research methodology in the social
M. Buheji, Z. Saif, H. Jahrami: Why Inspiration Matters?
sciences that involves the discovery of theory or propositions through the analysis of
data. Grounded theory methodology is therefore a research method, which operates,
almost in a reverse fashion from traditional social science research. Rather than beginning
with a research hypothesis, the rst step is data collection, through a variety of methods.
From the data collected, the key points are marked with a series of codes, which are
extracted from the text.
Research question – Why inspiration is an important dimension for personal and
professional growth and development?
Participants - Informants in the study comprised 10 persons. The pool of participants
included ve Bahraini men and ve Bahraini women who have been involved as national
consultants for the Bahrain Centre of Excellence. Those persons were appointed as
consultant due to their remarkable achievements, dedication, contribution and special
area of technical expertise e.g. research, statistics, marketing. Those informants were
also serving as middle or top management. The selection of these persons was based on
personal connection of the rst researcher. We wanted to get in touch with people who had
experienced inspirational moments and who could be assumed to be willing to and capable
of articulating their experiences for the researchers.
In accordance with the methodological and epistemological recommendations of the
grounded theory methodology, we wanted to select informants with varying level of
information and experiences. The groups therefore represented the entire spectrum
of potential informants, ranging from age, sex, educational background and so on. All
suggested persons accepted the invitation to participate in the study.
Data Collection - The collection of data consisted of telephone interviews with each of
the study participants. Telephone interviews have major benet in them that they simply
allow easy access to the informants regardless of their geographical location or business
work hours. This is a very important part because most informants selected in this study
operate at different prime times and they will be very difcult to get hold of during ‘standard’
work hours and therefore agreeing with them on date and time for call made it signicantly
easier to contact them. Telephone interview are also cost- and time-effective compared to
other interview methods, such as direct mail, cost much more. The issue of guaranteeing
response is also a highlight to choose telephone over other interview venues.
Telephone interviews are not without their disadvantages. Researchers have less control
over phone interviews. Participants might be interrupted by other phone calls, get distracted
by TV, mobile or internet browsing or any other similar activity. The authors want to also
acknowledge that telephone interviews have the inherited shortage of limited complexity
of questions because it is fairly difcult to get people to elaborate on their responses by
phone. The reason is that most phone interviews must be limited to 45 or 60 minutes.
The following questions were asked as standard in all interviews:
Tell me about your own experiences with inspiration?
1. What about your experience X that inspired you?
2. What in the environment related to experience X that inspired you?
3. Give me some examples of situations you have been inspired or inspired others?
Did they result in any change?
4. What are the characteristics of individuals who inspire you?
J. Ins. Econ Vol. 1, No. 1, 15-24 (2014)
5. What are the characteristics of environments that inspire you?
Common follow-up questions were added to these initial questions, a series of individually
adapted sequential questions of the type “tell me more,” “give some examples,” “why?”
and so on were used. Each interview took about an hour to conduct and recorded using
the record in the smart mobile device with permission of the informant. The informants
were assured that the recording would be destroyed immediately after transcription of
information to protect their anonymity.
Analysis - The interviews were transcribed from the recording les and consecutively
analyzed according to the constant comparative method after entry into Microsoft Excel
Spreadsheet. The rst step of the analysis was open coding. Data were examined line
line in order to identify the informants’ descriptions of thought patterns, feelings, and actions
related to the themes mentioned in the interviews. The codes derived were formulated in
words closely resembling those used by the participants. Later, codes were compared to
verify their descriptive content and to conrm that they were grounded in the data. As a
second step, the codes were sorted into categories. This was done by constant comparisons
between categories; and between categories, codes, and interview protocols. The third step
consisted of tting together the categories using the constant comparative method.
Results and Discussion
The table (1) below shows the responses to the interview questions on the topic why
inspiration matters.
Table (1) List of interview questions and answers
Q1. Tell me about your experiences with inspiration? Answers to this question stemmed
around topics like:
• Meeting personal and business related needs
• Inspired by problems and the need to solve them
• Travelling around and see current trends there
• Attending seminars and workshops related to the business operation
• or personal development
• Using social network platforms and channels
• Through networking and meeting new people
• Revising history
Q2. Give me examples of situations you have been inspired or you inspired others? Did
the results in any change? Answers to this question stemmed around topics like:
• Participating in decision making
• Dealing with challenges
• Reading books and stories
• Being around high-spirited and motivated persons
• Following a leader at work
• Meeting coaches and mentors
• Being part of teams either for professional or personal development
M. Buheji, Z. Saif, H. Jahrami: Why Inspiration Matters?
Q3. What are the characteristics of individuals who have inspired you? Answers to this
question stemmed around topics like:
• Persisted, high perseverance
• Do not give up easily
• Honest
• Prudent
• Fair
• Responsible
• Accountable
• Approachable
• Disciplined
Q4. What are the characteristics of environments that have inspired you? Answers to
this question stemmed around topics like:
• Challenging environment
• Hard situations
Anatomy of Inspiration
The research interviews found most of the informants have positive perspectives about
themselves. They think that their experience with inspiration is a worthy part of their lives.
Most of them think that their experience with inspiration is associated with meeting personal,
social and/or business needs. It is usually evoked by a problem that need to be solved or as
a result of observing recent trends during travelling or as a result of using social networks
platforms and channels. Networking and meeting new people and attending seminars
either for professional or personal development can be an inspiring opportunity.
Others indicated that revising history and reading some success stories or books is highly
valuable for inspiration. This research emphasis what other authors called for a better
understanding of the biological basis of inspiration (Thrash et al, 2010). The body of
knowledge needs more work that will illuminate the process through which inspiration is
compelled to transform ideas and spirit into products and solutions that may benet our
Forms of Inspiration
Most informants found that dealing with challenges, participating in decision-making, being
surrounded by high-spirited and motivated persons and working with leaders were inspiring
situations. Other inspiring situations highlighted were being part of teams, meeting coaches
and mentors and reading books and stories. There was consensus that challenging
environment or hard situations are the main characteristic of an inspiring environment.
The most common characteristics of an inspiring persons as highlighted by informants
include being persistent, highly perseverant, prudent, disciplined, honest, fair, responsible,
accountable, punctual and approachable. This brings us to the conclusion that inspiring
persons share leaders› characteristics. Similarly inspiration is a key feature for effective
leadership style where leaders need to far beyond communicating their vision to create
purpose and share meaning so others get motivated and passionate about that vision.
(Cont.) Table (1) List of interview questions and answers
J. Ins. Econ Vol. 1, No. 1, 15-24 (2014)
Thrash and Elliot (2003) suggests that inspiration is delivered in various forms and that
the term inspiration has many shades of meaning, and usually there are some variance in
participants understanding of the concept (Hart, 1993). Best inspiration is seen to reach
its heights of human motivation to the extent it awaken us to better possibilities (Steele,
1977). Inspiration thus falls squarely within the purview of psychology, and we hope that
our research will serve as an impetus for further study of this important and neglected topic.
Inspiration might come from new and striking combinations of ideas. So you might be a
physician or an engineer or a lawyer, yet you are also one of the most prominent story
authors or history scientist, and so on. Such inspirational characteristics however depend
also on our ability to build sufcient knowledge on the subject.
Most of inspired gures in our resent or old history are not made by wish, but by hard
focused work and sacrice. The inspired person does not decide exactly on the process
of achievement, but rather focus on the process of perfecting the delivery time after
time. Many Muslim scholars such as Ibn Sina, Al-Razi, Ibn-Rushd, Ibn-Alnafees and Ibn-
Alhaitham have manage to get all of their contributions in different areas of knowledge with
sustainable inspiration till today because of this holistic integrated knowledge and the spirit
of perfecting there product time after time. This spirit of inspiration can be seen clearly
today in leading countries products and services.
Some leading scholars, practitioner and artists in our world today have managed to bring
many ideas outside the norm of subject and became associated with inspiration, due to
their ability to create the integration of these ideas with what make the difference to the
world or at least to their specialty. This type of practice is called today disruptive innovation
(Christensen et al.. 2010).
Relation between Innovation and Inspiration
Inspiration has received little attention within the scientic community due to none clarity
of inspiration meaning and it variety of disciplines origin such as in theology, psychology
(Thrash and Elliot, 2003; Carpenter, 1987). Therefore, inspiration was rarely studied as an
integrated denition that leads to innovation.
Inspiration may be conceptualized not only in terms of the characteristics of the inspired
state, but also as distinct processes that compose an episode of innovative trials. Innovation
and inspiration have been linked together for a long time. Therefore, today inspiration can
affect the level of innovation in every discipline and hence can ourish our life and our
society’s unity and speed up the economic development and recovery (Christensen, et. al,
Inspiration and innovation when they meet would be a source for an insight or what is called
the “aha” moment (Catmull and Wallace, 2014). Others believe that through inspiration
spirit ‘disruptive innovation’ can be implemented where a focus on reverse thinking and
giving a new way on how the world should learn (Christensen et al., 2011). Therefore,
authors like Thrash and Elliot (2004) nd that the process of “being inspired by” gives rise
to the core characteristics of evocation and transcendence, whereas the process of “being
inspired to” gives rise to the core characteristic of approach motivation.
Inspiration as a Motivator
In general the study support that Inspiration involves motivation in which the individual
M. Buheji, Z. Saif, H. Jahrami: Why Inspiration Matters?
strive to create an idea or do something new and creative. It is evoked without intentions
as a result of interaction with people and/or the environment. Although inspiration is
unconscious, through recognizing situations that tend to inspire us, we can proactively
seek inspiration and create such stimulating experiences. To achieve this openness to new
thought is a key pre-requisite as well as having psychological mastery, self-condence,
values and optimism are important to be inspired. It is worth indicating that inspiration may
not always lead to positive effects. To achieve desired outcomes, we need to put what we
have created into action rather than only getting enthusiastic about it.
Steele (1977) believes inspiration is often the motivator for questionable actions. Through
this motivated people are often welling to sacrice to discover more of their potentials.
Inspiration can help us create and/or overcome challenging decisions in life (Allen, et. al,
1998). This means that inspiration raises or motivates our ability to create an environment
where many people can thrive, grow, and live in peace with one another. Thus through
inspiration harmony can be promoted thereby provide sustainability for future generations
with ability to create communities of reciprocal care and shared responsibility.
Inspiration depends on the type of stimulus or object you get inspired from. We get inspired
from people, models, examples, ideas. Once inspired, we get motivated to transmit and
actualize certain realization. Thrash and Elliot (2004) sees inspiration as a process of either
being ‘inspired by’ and ‘inspired to’ which would lead to motivation. This research sees this
clearly true to the sample taken in Bahrain. However, this research fails short to investigate
whether the process of being ‘inspired by’ involves intrinsic value of a stimulus object, or
even see how the process of ‘being inspired to’ involves motivation to actualize the valued
qualities to a new object or individual as per (Thrash and Elliot, 2004).
Characteristics of Inspired People
This research clearly shows as per the sample chosen that inspired individuals’ values
making meaning to things and awakening something unique or new and usually appreciate
innovation. We can learn here that inspiration is not just about creating a wholly unique
idea but mainly may be about incorporating old valuable ideas into something unique. This
really makes exposing to stimulating experiences and ideas a learning opportunity that can
help people progress toward excellence. Inspiration as shown from the sample has positive
impacts upon individuals as it can promote well-being, psychological health, happiness and
satisfaction. It can strengthen relationships and empower people.
The research shades a possibility that our ability to inspire others depends a lot on the
level of inuence we can reach; i.e. our ability to develop a vision that is both clear and
highly appealing for us or to others (Zarda, 2012). It is found that inspired people selected
for this sample show condence and optimism with more condence by recognizing
small accomplishments toward their goals and would have dramatic actions to symbolize
key organizational values or might even lead by example, which supports the work of
Hart (1998). Actually, Hart (2000) latter came to believe, after conducting a research for
many years, that inspired people have characteristics as drive, honesty and integrity, self-
motivation, self-condence, Cognitive ability/intelligence, Knowledge of the business,
emotional intelligence and exibility, which are around the same characteristics and/or
traits seen in this study. Therefore, it can be said that an inspired person differs usually
from others by their ability to discover.
J. Ins. Econ Vol. 1, No. 1, 15-24 (2014)
Inspiration nonetheless endures people with more explained innovation and would be
willing to give much effort to the extent required to produce innovative work (Catmull and
Wallace, 2014).
When you know you are inspired?
The sample shows that people know when they are being inspired. The participants showed
an overwhelming clear sense of self-satisfaction when they talk about inspiration. Sample
shows Inspiration is about discovering what you are most love doing and spend more and
more time doing it. So you know you are inspired when you start to enjoy the success and/
or the good feeling that this doing creates so that to bring you more towards life satisfaction
(Andrews and Withey, 1976). Brown and Pabon (2014) indicated that what we sensed in
the sample of Bahrain that people feel more inspired when they have better ability to learn
through seeing with the eyes of the heart and not only the eyes of your mind.
The individuals of the research sample expressed their knowledge in being inspired
explicitly through their sensitive feeling and high consciousness with coincide with Harts
(1998 and 2000). This research conrms previous work which showed that inspiration
status is recognized within us when we reach self-actualization, self-esteem and high
belongingness (Lockwood and Kunda, 1999).
To conclude, inspiration matters since it fullls an important aspect of our life essentials be
it our personal needs and/or professional growth and development. Inspiration as shown
from the interviews feedback has a positive impact on our psychological well-being and life
satisfaction. Nevertheless, inspiration has not been well-studied in terms of people needs
and experiences and its potential impacts on individuals and organizations.
As a recommendation, getting inspired and inspiring others are important, therefore we
need to proactively seek and encourage inspirational experiences for both personal
and organizational purposes. Exposure to stimulating experiences such as networking,
observing recent trends around us, involving in decision-making and solving problems and
being around high-spirited persons represent inspirational opportunities that enhance our
learning and ability to innovate. These inspirational experiences can motivate people and
help our societies integrate newly generated ideas into actions thus producing desired
outcomes while enhancing our communities’ readiness towards change.
M. Buheji, Z. Saif, H. Jahrami: Why Inspiration Matters?
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... Inspiration is said to lead individuals to make productive life choices (Reese, Kim, Palak, Smith, & Howard, 2005). It is also known to boost a person or even groups or societies from the challenging and impossible status to the enjoyable and possible achievements (Buheji, Saif, & Jahrami, 2014). Hence, elusive goods cannot easily be gotten through a straightforward process of approach and acquisition. ...
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The economy has shifted so quickly, since the early 80’s of the last century, from being an Industrial Economy towards an Information Economy, then more quickly by the early 90’s towards being more of a Knowledge-Based Economy. Today many scholars are talking about a Learning Economy and an Innovation-driven Economy (Lundvall, 1996). Even though many under-developed and developing world countries are still far behind in these concepts of economies; most of the developed, semi-developed and emerging economies are picking up practices that lead to the enhancement of the knowledge-based economy. This can be clearly seen in the type of turnovers of publication activities, the development from infrastructure or growth scales in the international indicators towards more innovation scales.The scale of learning and innovation even suggests that we are going to move towards a Learning Economy or an Innovation Economy soon. However, close observation teaches us that parallel to this we are having an emerging economy that would move without territory and would depend on discovering the potential of human beings' abilities. This economy can be called Inspiration Economy. The Inspiration Economy one could say is a mix of many things that lead to inspiration practices that motivate the spirit of inspiration in socio-economic development. These mixed practices can be like entrepreneur-ship, innovation, risk-taking, opportunity-seeking/creating; along with a focused and change-driven mindset. It is a type of economy that would be based on our societies and organisations’ abilities to discover the potential and the capacities of human beings and thus capitalize on it through inspiration. In this book, we will explore all the constructs of an inspiration based economy and the relevant challenges and practices.
Technical Report
يهدف المقرر إلى بناء العلاقة بين اقتصاد الالهام وعلم النفس الايجابي. ويطلب هذا المقرر من الطلاب قياس اثر التفكير الذي يتكون من (الافتراضات- السلوكيات- المواقف- الاستنتاجات) واثره على مجمل رحلة الالهام. كما سيقوم الطلبة بمناقشة تاريخ علم النفس الايجابي وتطور ممارساته. يركز المقرر على تطور العقلية الانسانية خاصة في الاقتصاد القائم على المعرفة. ايضا تقدم هذه المادة الإرشادات الرئيسية حول بناء العقلية التي تدير عملية التغيير وهندسة الالهام لتحقيق أفضل النتائج.
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Many people come and go in this life without reaching a clear answer for why they are selected from other creatures to be what they are. Many actually never make it to reach the essence of their life purposefulness. The reason for these failures have been explored by many researchers with different justifications. Most of the justifications are inter-related and most of them happen to meet at one main point that is not finding the hidden spot that build the unique life contribution story. ‘Breaking the shield’ is the result of exploring hundreds of case studies from different parts of the world. It talks about the creation and optimisation of inspiration, which is about everyone’s business. Breaking the shield towards inspiration get us hope, as without inspiration in reality, we can’t achieve or change anything of real value or that would create an outcome or even help us to leave a legacy in this life journey. In order to break the shield, we need to engineer inspiration and go to the roots of how to create and manage this inspiration. Finding xvi everyone, every organization and every community inspiration is very important especially in unstable socioeconomies where everyone is looking for best alternatives to handle turbulences. In breaking the shield we’ll try to understand how to shift towards being resource independent while doing real developments not only growth. Thus discovering and managing our intrinsic powers wealth in a way never been experienced before. With Breaking the shield towards better inspiration, we can structure an extraordinary path out of the ordinary. A job thought for long time to be sacred and only the selected few can reach it. In this book, we consider inspiration as the most important process of our life as through inspiration, we can make individuals, organisations and societies reach new levels of achievement that never been reached before.
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List of International Inspiration Economy Project Publications
Background: Evaluations of participatory arts and mental health projects have consistently found improvements in mental well-being but the part played by the creative aspects, as distinct from the benefits of social interaction, remains unclear. Methods: This study explored the specific part played by the creative aspects of introductory arts courses that aim to improve mental well-being. Nine course participants consented to recording of accreditation assessment meetings held with them towards the end of their course. Results: Thematic analysis identified themes relating to two categories: creative processes and the learning that ensued. The creative processes were playful experimentation and inspiration. Learning processes revolved around learning to learn and artistic development. Conclusions: Previous studies have found play, inspiration and learning to be associated with well-being. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that the creative aspects of the courses did play an important part in improving participants’ well-being.
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Within the creativity domain, inspiration is a motivational state posited to energize the actualization of creative ideas. The authors examined the construct validity, predictive utility, and function of inspiration in the writing process. Study 1, a cross-lagged panel study, showed that getting creative ideas and being inspired are distinct and that the former precedes the latter. In Study 2, inspiration, at the between-person level, predicted the creativity of scientific writing, whereas effort predicted technical merit. Within persons, peaks in inspiration predicted peaks in creativity and troughs in technical merit. In Study 3, inspiration predicted the creativity of poetry. Consistent with its posited transmission function, inspiration mediated between creativity of the idea and creativity of the product, whereas effort, positive affect, and awe did not. Study 4 extended the Study 3 findings to fiction writing. Openness to aesthetics and positive affect predicted creativity of the idea, whereas approach temperament moderated the relation between creativity of the idea and inspiration. Inspiration predicted efficiency, productivity, and use of shorter words, indicating that inspiration not only transmits creativity but does so economically.
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Inspiration has received little theoretical or empirical attention within psychology. Inspiration is conceptualized herein as a general construct characterized by evocation, motivation, and transcendence. In Studies 1a and 1b, a trait measure of inspiration was developed and was found to have strong psychometric properties. Studies 2a-2c documented a nomological network consistent with the present conceptualization. Study 3 related inspiration to the holding of U.S. patents. Study 4 linked trait inspiration to daily experiences of inspiration, extended the nomological network to the state level, documented antecedents and consequences, and established incremental validity. This research provides a foundation for further study of inspiration, both as a general construct and in specific content domains (e.g., religion, creativity, interpersonal relations).
The accessibility of people's highest hopes and achievements can affect their reactions to upward comparisons. Three studies showed that, under normal circumstances, individuals were inspired by an outstanding role model; their motivation and self-evaluations were enhanced. However, when their most positive self-views were temporarily or chronically activated, inspiration was undermined, and individuals' motivation and self-evaluations tended to decrease. Another study found that role models inspired participants to generate more spectacular hopes and achievements than they would have generated otherwise. It appears that increasing the accessibility of one's best serves undercuts inspiration because it constrains the positivity of the future serves one may imagine and prevents one from generating the more spectacular future serves that the role model normally inspires.
This article reports a qualitative research study of the experience of inspiration in ordinary persons. Results gleaned from analysis of 70 in-depth interviews suggest that this phenomenon is a significant and distinct epistemic event that many people experience. As such, this evidence may help to shift the center of gravity of knowing away from the exclusivity of a narrow form of rational empiricism. Although inspiration cannot be willed, it may be cultivated. Experiences described as the absence of inspiration seem to correspond to common mental health complaints.
Positive psychology has been a liberating force in that researchers have more freedom than ever before to investigate what is good and right about human functioning. However, with this increased freedom comes the responsibility to integrate new constructs and theories with, and differentiate them from, those established previously. In our research on inspiration, Andrew Elliot and I (Thrash & Elliot, 2003, 2004) have observed a relatively strong relationship between inspiration and the established construct of activated positive affect (PA). Accordingly, we have sought and presented evidence that inspiration is distinct from activated PA. Inspiration has unique correlates, antecedents, and consequences. The substantive aim of this chapter is to provide additional evidence of the discriminant validity of inspiration and activated PA by documenting different distributions of the two states across days of the week. The second aim of this chapter is didactic--to illustrate the application of multilevel random coefficient modeling (MRCM) in addressing the above substantive aim. Specifically, I demonstrate how a dummy variable representing assigned condition (inspiration, activated PA) may be modeled as a between-person moderator of the within-person distribution of experiences across days of the week. In doing so, I also illustrate several techniques that may not be familiar to all researchers, such as the prediction of a dichotomous outcome variable using the logit transformation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The influence of inspiration on well-being was examined in 4 studies. In Study 1, experimental manipulation of exposure to extraordinary competence increased positive affect, and inspiration accounted for this effect. In Study 2, trait inspiration predicted an increase in positive hedonic and eudaimonic well-being variables (positive affect, life satisfaction, vitality, and self-actualization) across a 3-month period, even when the Big 5 traits, initial levels of all well-being variables, and social desirability biases were controlled. In Study 3, both trait inspiration and personal goals inspiration predicted increases in positive well-being variables across a 3-month period. In contrast, well-being did not predict longitudinal change in inspiration. Study 4, a diary study, extended the relation between inspiration and well-being to the within-person level of analysis. For given individuals, variations in inspiration across mornings predicted variations in evening levels of positive well-being variables. These effects were mediated by purpose in life and gratitude. These studies provide converging evidence that inspiration enhances well-being and document 2 parallel mediating processes.