Inspiration Overload and the Ever-Important Exhale

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My journey as a writer and personal development blogger has been an incredibly rewarding one.

I've written for dozens of blogs and met and befriended hundreds of awesome men and women across the globe who I otherwise would probably have never had the chance to speak with.

Nearly two years into writing for my blog, about a month ago I was suddenly overcome with feelings of lost direction. These feelings are ones that I've felt before: the uncharacteristic sense of absent guidance, misplaced motivation.

Suddenly, it felt like I forgot why I was writing in the first place, why I had a blog, and what my whole journey was even about.

What happened?

I pegged the misalignment of my inner spirit's true purpose and direction as inspiration overload. You're familiar with information overload, certainly. But inspiration overload is just as overwhelming a burden.

Information Overload? Meet Inspiration Overload

Inspiration overload is like information overload, but when you're suddenly overwhelmed by outside-the-box thinking, grandiose calls-to-action, cutting-edge entrepreneurial or business philosophies and living principles.

You see, inspiration is incredible and important. But like anything else in life, too much inspiration has a counter-productive effect. With too many people telling you to try too many things and think about big concepts like life and purpose and love and spirit and philanthropy and changing your world, you're suddenly susceptible to a major overload.

The burden is overwhelming. Your brain can't process it all.

Instead of inspiring you to make changes and live better and work harder, you feel like you're not working hard enough. Like you're not smart enough, creative enough, empowered enough, good enough. Inspiration overload can exacerbate quiet, mild feelings of insecurity and doubt–and multiply them exponentially.

You might start to consciously or unconsciously ask yourself these questions:

  • "Mr. X is doing that now? Only a few days after launching his last best-selling product?"
  • "Joe Blow with another epic blog post–why do mine never look like that?"
  • "Ms. Y gave another brilliant performance in front of an auditorium of 5,000 people?"
  • "Another book deal for Mr. Z?"
  • "Jane Doe, how does she keep doing this, what am I doing wrong?!"

The Ever-Important Exhale

You can only take in so much at a time. Whether "information" or "inspiration," sometimes you become so entrenched in the thoughts and ideas and actions of others that you suddenly lose sight of your own purpose, happiness and contentment.

In these moments, you need to exhale. Breathe out, literally and figuratively. To exhale is to unburden yourself.

On my end, I realized that I felt overcome by about a dozen emailed newsletters from remarkable thinkers and writers and creatives–many of whom I'm genuine friends with. I decided to unsubscribe from every email newsletter. It wasn't a personal action against my friends; those inspiring bloggers across the web.

But, like me, you need to allow a natural pace for your own time and energy to manifest creativity, thinking, simply Being, unwinding, and in order to follow your heart and find your path.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

I also felt overburdened by a product development phase I was stuck in. I couldn't determine how to package and distribute a short ebook manifesto I had written called Power from Within. The solution became: Simplify.

I threw out every one of the ideas that had become a cluster of frustration and indecisiveness, and conclusively decided to publish the manifesto completely for free and as a blog post on Suddenly, the burden was lifted. I could breathe again.

And now my ideas are flowing. My purpose has found itself once more. My direction is back.

What About You?

Are you suffering from information or inspiration overload? What do you do to exhale and simplify? How do you avoid feeling overburdened by too many outside influences?

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About the author

Dave Ursillo

Dave Ursillo is a 25-year old writer, dreamer, blogger and life-explorer at Dave is also a leadership speaker and founder of the Lead Without Followers alternative leadership movement. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or invite Dave to speak today.