MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

the intangibles of inspiration


where does it come from?  thought i’d give you my list of the 5 intangibles of inspiration and you could give me your thoughts of agreement, disagreement, hatred, or all of the above.  Deal?  I’d love to get your list of 5 as well.  

5.  Excellence 

i am inspired when i see excellence in motion.  excellence is doing the best with what you have.  excellence is evidence of dedication, discipline, and care.  let’s not confuse talent for excellence.  one can be incredibly talented but fail to be excellent when they are not giving their utmost, day-in and day-out.  there is nothing inspiring about wasted or squandered talent.  excellence on display inspires us to all be better, to work hard, to put forth our best effort and to kick some major @$$ in whatever we do!

4.  Passion

I love seeing people who are in love with what they do.  I think passion is underrated in today’s “just get the job done” mentality.  I hope that if you do something, you would do it with so much passion that you get sweaty.  My favorites are sweaty eaters.  Passionate eaters are inspiring.  Some of the time.  

3.  Focus

There’s a lady I know in Thailand who works with the poorest of the poor.  A story goes that a group of investors from America came to visit her one day with well-meaning intent to fuel her work with financial backing.  Her answer to their offer went something like this:  “it’s great that you’re willing to give money to my projects but what about you?  what are you going to do about your heart?  Are you willing to be changed as a result of this?”  Now, that’s freakin’ hard core.  She wasn’t impressed by money or even good intent.  It’s clear that her life is about one thing: transformation.  I’m inspired by those who are zeroed in on what their life is about and know that all the other things around it are nothing but fluff.  

2.  Humility

i’ve come across some really humble people in my life and each time i walk away from such encounters with a renewed hope that I could one day walk as humbly as they do.  these are people who have accomplished a ton, know many “important” people, and possess unique, other-worldy talents yet they would never let you know that they are a big deal.  in fact, these people would be the first to offer help in a posture of serving me.  Little ol’ me.  Nothing is more inspiring to me than a bad-ass who keeps it real and keeps it low profile so as not to separate themselves from us “little people”.  

1.  Pure Love

when I see or hear of acts of pure love, I am inspired beyond all other things.  this goes beyond “romantic” stories like that of a husband buying 10 dozen roses imported from ancient Rome for his wife on valentine’s day.  pure love is demonstrated in sacrifice, selflessness, and reckless abandon.  you can’t buy pure love, you can only hope to experience it and give it some day.  we were all given the greatest example of pure love when Jesus gave up his life for us and that is the standard that remains today.  

I was reminded of this heartwarming story when I thought of the word inspiration.  I hope you are inspired to change the world like I am…


7 responses

  1. ERuss

    DK – all of this is awesome. I would add authentic. I love people are who the real deal – who walk the talk. Jesus also I think was looking for the same thing – read John 4:23. In other words, you inspire, DK. Blessings on the upcoming Justice NOW. I’m still sweating it out here in Cebu.

    May 8, 2009 at 12:53 am

  2. – D
    here’s my 5 in no particular order
    1. humility: i love what you said. and would like to add that the outward expression of humility comes from an inner understanding of where we stand in the world.
    2. excellence: be a master of your trade.
    3. love: know how to love
    4. sacrifice: when someone gives up something or is willing to pay their dues in order to let God shine through them…ie. taking less to no money, giving up a certain lifestyle to pursue a dream. Bruce Pearl (head basketball coach at Tenessee) worked 25 years probably making somewhere between 25 and 50K. Sacrifice paid off, he now makes over a million a year.
    5. Understanding of reality: people who know their giftings and their LACK of giftings. It kinda has to do with what you said about focus. I’m thinking more on the side of understanding how we can use our gifts instead of how our gifts will take us to a certain place. John Maxwell tweeted this in the morning, “if my dream is to become a professional dancer, that will NEVER happen.” My interpretation of that is to not always be thinking about the next place we can get to, instead take care of what we can control. People who do this are inspiring and usually possess all the others 🙂

    May 8, 2009 at 8:05 am

  3. DK

    @russ-authenticity. totally. what a great attribute to possess and live out. I pray that I can be a man of complete authenticity.
    @hour9- i like your fav 5 too! a future blog entry you sparked for me is, “dreams: gifts and reality”

    May 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm

  4. Dave Brubaker

    Allow me to throw a WRENCH into this whole thing… my belief is that inspiration comes from outside of ourselves– it’s like a touch of God/a visit from “the muses.” Like the story of Charles Dickens when he had writer’s block while writing Oliver Twist, he said, “I’m in my study waiting for Oliver to come, but he hasn’t arrived yet”– he understood that this literary masterpiece was bigger than himself, and the brilliant idea behind it all wasn’t just something he could make up on a human level. Or like my musician friend in Berkeley said, “all music is discovered.” With that in mind, maybe the characteristics on this list (excellence, passion, focus, humility, and pure love) aren’t the origins of inspiration but the RESPONSE to it– the by-product of a divine encounter.

    Feel free to agree, disagree, or hate

    May 9, 2009 at 11:57 am

  5. DK

    Bruce– perhaps I should have clarified that these are attributes that I find inspiring. You’re right, these things are not the origins of inspiration by any stretch. I agree with you 100%…although my tailbone aches from having been undercut like on the court!. I welcome your wrenches any time, brosef!

    May 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

  6. Dave Brubaker

    Actually I changed my mind, here’s my new theory (in equation form): + Adam Lambert’s falsetto = my inspiration squared

    I love you bro
    see you soon to massage that tailbone PERSONALLY

    May 9, 2009 at 9:54 pm

  7. DK

    Bruce-ski!! Tailbone massage I will accept! Your rescinding of previous comments I will not. You made a great point! If I was Jim Rome, I basically gave you a “rack him.” -dk formerly of

    May 9, 2009 at 10:42 pm

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