Inspiration vs perspiration

Kathy Krugerfind your flow, perspective, yinyang12 Comments

I know what you’re thinking – it’s one of those yin-yang things – you can’t have inspiration without perspiration.

You can have perspiration without inspiration, but only on a hot day (most days if you’re in Darwin) when you can’t be f….d bothered doing anything at all, and yet still you sit in a pool of sweat, or (as I rediscovered this past week with a nasty stomach bug) when you are sick with the hot sweats and can’t be motivated to move (other than to the toilet bowl).

My 'inspirational' office space at the end of our bedroom turned into 'hospital ward' for family during shit-hell gastro attack

My ‘inspirational’ office space at the end of our bedroom turned into ‘hospital ward’ for family during our gastro shit-hell

Otherwise you have to be inspired to perspire – inspired to get up off the couch and do something (anything), or motivated enough to run a marathon.

And you can have inspiration without perspiration, or so it would seem in the moment when you are sitting relaxed, or standing under a shower, or lying in bed and the light bulb goes on. No perspiration, just a great idea. No sweat!

But the secret – perspiration – has got you to the place where inspiration is to be found. To the only time and place it could find you.

You see perspiration is the secret ingredient in finding your flow – and flow is where you find inspiration (or it magically finds you), most of the time.

We tend to think of creativity and inspiration as magic, mystical ingredients in our lives – we can’t formulate a recipe for them. We imagine them as being beyond planning and strategizing (the very antithesis of logical thinking), and we don’t associate them with hard work. In fact we often wish for that spark of creative inspiration to rescue us from work-day drudgery.

Ideas come in flashes (of brilliance, universal sparks) – flashes and sparks (both being very hot) are fuelled by pent-up energy, which produces heat, and heat causes perspiration. Yep, my very scientific take on the subject.

Even Einstein would agree that the same energy that causes inspiration (in flashes and sparks) causes perspiration (in effort and hard work).

The trick is the temperature. Very hot, and we get sparks and flashes. Plain warm and we just get perspiration.

You go for a walk and it’s generally comfortable – you might sweat a bit, but unless you are recovering from illness or injury, a walk is unlikely to push you.

Pick up the pace and go for a run, or do some other kind of vigorous exercise, and you ‘work up a good sweat’ – that’s the saying and the reality.

I'm still this red after having a shower

In case you missed it from my previous ’embarassing’ post – My hot yoga sweaty face – I’m still this red after having a shower

It is the same with effort, hard work, ‘perspiration’ over anything. Work literally warms up our creative juices so that our ideas simmer, bubbling under the surface until inspiration seems to strike from nowhere.

All our hard work, learning, thinking, analysing, practise, even planning (and perhaps especially failing) go into cooking the ideas that come out, when we just let them spark.

When we work at something that we love, when we put in plenty of perspiration into ‘perfecting’ it – that’ s when we find our flow.

And when it feels like you’re flowing, when we you’re so busy flowing you can’t even really feel, inspiration strikes.

I reckon perspiration and inspiration are as inextricably linked as yin and yang.

In my wordy nerdy way, I’ll break it down for you.


Yep – personal effort results in INSPIRATION. Perspiration = inspiration (notice how they share spiration in common)

If you’ve been following my previous two posts on how to find your flow (even if you’re stuck up a river without a paddle) then this is the last one in the series.

If you want to find your flow (and keep flowing) I reckon it comes down to three simple things.

1) Discover what it is you REALLY love, that one thing you get lost in. Experiment with what you like to find the one thing that makes time stop.

2) Get yourself unstuck from what you don’t like doing. PICK UP A PADDLE (or paddles) – make changes, learn skills, get support, let go of self-judgement and START PADDLING to get yourself flowing.

3) PERSPIRATION – work at the changes you want to make, plan, prioritise, practise that thing you love (and practise some more) and soon you’ll be in your flow and then BOOM – INSPIRATION! Inspiration will keep you flowing until it doesn’t feel like you’r perspiring, because it doesn’t feel like work anymore.

On that note I’m off to work (or hot yoga) and will check you next time, in the flow.

What gets you perspiring (work-wise, keep it clean!)?

When does inspiration strike for you?


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Linking up with Essentially Grace for FYBF.



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Kathy KrugerInspiration vs perspiration

12 Comments on “Inspiration vs perspiration”

  1. Stephanie Jefferson

    Sorry to hear that your family has been unwell. Hopefully you are on the mend!
    I think your advice on discovering what you love by experimentation is a great idea! Give it a go and if it doesn’t work out try something else! For me that discovery requires action, but just passive contemplation.

  2. Alicia

    I can see that inspiration comes from perspiration. Inspiration for me comes when I am busy doing something else, usually laborious, and my mind starts ticking over. Luckily the gastro didn’t go through us all, only two. Lucky me and the one in nappies didn’t get it! Hope you’re all well now, I guess if you’re brave enough to do yoga, you’re over it!

  3. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Every time I get a sweat up, like a red-face sweet up then I actually do feel like I could take on the world. I haven’t had that feeling in ages, thanks for the reminder to get that back again (treadmill in garage is calling to me) x

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