Past the Point of Inspiration

As I sat in a small auditorium at MIT yesterday listening to Seth Godin talk his talk,  I came to a realization. Not that I needed to create and share my art (I’m right on top of that, Rose!) nor that I should try to aim for the tribes of outliers. Instead I realized, “This is not for me.”

In the middle of my notes I wrote:

maybe i’m past the point of inspiration. i’ve moved past needing to understand how to tap into my passion, i can no longer be moved by people pointing to risk and reward and art and generosity. i find myself annoyed at sitting in an auditorium watching slides and listening to someone talk about connecting, instead of going to a bar and connecting to the person sitting next to me.

My brain is full of inspiration, may I be excused?

I’m not done learning. But I’m done learning this in this way. I’ve graduated, or at least shifted to a place in my life where I don’t need this or even really want it. That’s exciting and scary – if not this, which is so obvious, then what? What’s next for me? And not just that, how can I help someone who does need and want this to take my seat?

It wasn’t a total wash, though. It was worth it just to have that realization alone, and  here are a few cherries from the sundae:

Susan Piver got up and told a crowd of people that she is a mystic. In front of a bunch of strangers, she presented her true self in such a sincere way that it was impossible to scoff or see her as a nut job or any other number of reactions I expected to have. Instead I thought, “Cool. What a tough thing to realize and what an interesting journey she’s on.”

Karen Wehner made a game aimed at teens but that I know plenty of my adult friends will be psyched to play called The Time Tribe. Time travel, history, puzzle solving… I haven’t been this excited for a learning game since I fired up Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? in 1990.

One audience member asked a question about college choices. Seth responded that there’s a big difference between famous colleges and good colleges. He didn’t particularly crap on either choice, but explained what each is good for, and then went on to say, “If you want to make an impact, you will.” I dug that. I went to a not-so-great public high school, but I got a great education there because I made one for myself. I found the gems of classes and teachers and clubs and sports and people that got me where I needed and wanted to be. When the school refused to honor our request for an honors environmental biology class, a few of us took the class anyway and worked on an award-winning independent project that included me standing in a recycling bin. Seriously:

Recycling is the best

Opportunity is where you make it, is what Seth Godin and I are saying. I don’t think he’s wrong, and I don’t dislike what he’s saying and doing. My ears are open to a new message now. And I think he can dig that.

Where do you find inspiration?


By Jennifer Spencer

I'm a storyteller, food lover, book collector, and a Southerner at heart. I love connecting people.