For thousands of years inspiration has been regarded as something ethereal, mystical and divine. In the absence of understanding this transformative effect we instead bestowed power to unseen forces.

The word “inspire” is taken from the Latin “inspirare” to mean “breathe life into”. As if the ancient gods had identified who they wished to speak through and would pass on their god like abilities through individuals with a single breath.

So who was worthy of this inspired touch of divine intervention? Are you or I any more worthy than someone else to receive this “blessing”? Of course not.

But it is a strange myth that perpetuates to this day.

For it is in a vacuum of understanding that fables and myths develop. We do not believe that Zeus himself throws lightning bolts through the air anymore, so why should we be fooled by modern story tellers that our innate ability of inspiration resides in the whims of a mystical lightning thrower?

Quietly, over the last 60 years a growing number of neuroscientists, psychologists and researchers have been investigating how exactly do people experience inspiration?

And the question that followed for me was – “how can we use this strategically in our lives and businesses?”

For this post we are defining inspiration as the “A-ha” moment. The flash of brilliance. The sensation when everything becomes clear and a clear direction of action opens up with absolute clarity which we (or others) then pursue.

Do not be confused. Inspiration is entirely different from motivation. See this previous article which provides clarification on the difference.

Dr Todd Thrash is one of the leading scientists in the world on the science of inspiration. Convinced that this area of science was overlooked he and his fellow researchers from Rochester University set out to firstly define what is inspiration.

They split inspiration into three core characteristics: evocation, transcendence, and approach motivation.

Evocation refers to the fact that inspiration is evoked rather than initiated volitionally by the individual. In other words, [the subject] does not feel directly responsible for becoming inspired; rather, a stimulus object, such as a person, an idea, or a work of art, evokes and sustains the inspiration episode.

During an episode of inspiration, the individual gains awareness of new possibilities that transcend ordinary or mundane concerns. The new awareness is vivid and concrete, and it surpasses the ordinary constraints of willfully generated ideas. Once inspired, the individual experiences a compelling approach motivation to transmit, actualize, or express the new vision.

This set of three characteristics is intended to be minimally sufficient to distinguish the state of inspiration from other states. (Thrash and Elliot, 2003).

Consider these three components again:

Transcendence: the idea is novel

Evocation: it arises spontaneously

Approach motivation: actualisation provides an actionable approach towards the goal

Now remember the last time that you had a genuine moment of inspiration. It may have been when figuring out a puzzle or solving a mystery. It may have been a moment of realisation in your business where you suddenly now where a significant opportunity lies dormant.

This is exceptionally common in entrepreneurs who have this moment of inspiration that propels them through weeks, months and sometimes years of obstacles and hardships – driven on by their inspiration until becoming successful.

Thrash goes on to determine that not only is inspiration a psychological process (confirming what most of us knew instinctively) he ascertains a key finding that it is, at this time, not thought possible to artificially create inspiration in the mind of another person.

Which makes absolute sense. At no point could I or anyone inspire someone who has never heard a classical piece of music to suddenly orchestrate and write a piece to rival Handel’s Messiah.

Instead we elicit inspiration from others

Imagine that this incredible experience is waiting within each of us, hidden from view and caged – waiting for the right person with the right key to unlock it.

Perspiration versus Inspiration myth

Edison famously was quoted saying that “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration“, and for a period of time this was considered a truism. However, in the same way that Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule for mastery has been widely discredited so has Eidson’s “off the cuff” statement.

It is not that I am so clever, I just stick with the questions for longer – Albert Einstein

Just because you have been, or you have inspired others does not mean that automatically the desired outcome will happen. There is still work to be done.

The difference is that you have a motivation approach that will drive and take you forward when others fall by the wayside. An idea and some motivation alone will never compare to this.

Ideas are not enough

Idea generation is easy. Get a group of people in a room, give them a pen and paper and ideas start flowing at a rate of knots. They usually start out fairly average, barely stretching the barriers of conventional wisdom or comfort and gradually become more and more outlandish until idea fatigue sets in and the assessment starts.

However, this scatter gun approach has rarely shown to be successful when the most voted idea is implemented.

As Ryan Holiday says “I think what people forget is that good ideas are not that rare. Its good ideas that people make into real things that are rare”

What is Neuro Responsive Inception™?

“It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.” – Nelson Mandela

Based on the scientific findings of science I started to develop a process that would allow me to elicit inspiration in the minds of others.

Many people find this hard to believe – why?

The work of Dr Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Inspiration, has redefined our understanding of influence and persuasion through science. What we both share is an ability to take this findings and configure them into a process that anyone can use and apply to various situations.

Our aim is to elicit inspiration from others in such a way that it is robust, sustainable and achievable. Do not think that this is a easy process to “stumble” upon. For Neuro Responsive Inception™ is based in evidence that has been rigorously tested to find what does work and what doesn’t.

One wrong move and it can just as easily unravel before your very eyes. But a nudge in the right direction at a specific time can have incredible results.

So, after close to a decade of testing, failure and then success I created Neuro Responsive Inception ™ (NRI).

Neuro – indicating the neuroscience of the brain

Responsive – Putting the brain into a state of responsiveness for inspiration

Inception – the ability to place the seed of an idea into the mind of someone else.

“It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.” – Nelson Mandela

This is not scientific fiction, dark arts or black magic. It is science that is available to everyone who is open to new possibilities.

This is the only system in the world that provides this technology and will be something you will hear a lot more about over the next few months.

But in the mean time I would suggest listening, reading and observing others who talk of their inspirational experience – how did they arrive at that moment of divine intervention?

I can tell you one thing – Zeus is never mentioned.