The word inspire means “to breathe into or upon; to infuse with life by breathing.”
When we say, “I am inspired,” it has a deeper significance than we think. We are “breathing in” the living environment of ideas, enthusiasm and energy that comes with the creative process.
If we look in the Bible, we see the same idea. In Hebrew and Greek, the words for “spirit” are the same as the words for “breath” and “wind.” In fact even in English our word “spirit” comes from the Latin word meaning breath. “Inspiration” and “respiration” have the same root. This is no mistake.
From the earliest times, people could see the connection between breath and active life. When a person’s body stops breathing, it also becomes inactive and dies. Breath is the outward manifestation of activity and life.
This intimate connection between breath and active life is the reason why the same word is used for both “spirit” and “breath” in Hebrew (ruach) and in Greek (pneuma).
Inspiration comes from things that are infused with life.
In creating, Disney’s Imagineers always work from a basis of their training, exposure to others’ work, their research and their life experience. Working together, they are inspired by their collective histories, training, experience, predecessors and mentors.
When we are inspired, ideas that are living inside us will find a way to be expressed.
Here’s an exercise from the Imagineers: Select a creative challenge — painting, writing, inventing — anything that requires creativity.
Now, make a list of creative souls that could inspire a solution: artists, scientists, inventors, musicians, writers. Select one or more people from the list, reflect on their talent, research their work and let them breathe life into your thinking and imagination.
Now, find your own answers by letting your imagination play with multiple solutions.