You probably keep a gratitude journal to record recent events you are thankful for. There is ample evidence from research in positive psychology to confirm that this activity increases your happiness.
According to the leading psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, there are nine other positive emotions that contribute to happiness. Inspiration is one of them.
Inspiration is the feeling we experience when we observe people at their best. This could be a graceful performance of an athlete or an entertainer. This could also be the virtuous, selfless behavior of a leader. Sometimes, we could be uplifted by an exquisite painting, sculpture, or poem.
Inspiration rivets our attention, uplifts our spirit, and incites us to strive toward higher quality.
Explain the concept of inspiration. Ask the players to recall inspiring experiences and share than with a partner.
To recall and share inspiring experiences from the recent past.
Maximum: Any number
Best: 5 to 30
5 minutes for the activity. 5 minutes for debriefing.
Blank pieces of paper
Room Set Up
Leave plenty of empty space to permit the players to wander around and talk to a partner.
Introduce the concept of inspiration. Explain the key features of this concept, using the content from the introductory paragraph. Discuss the uplifting impact of true inspiration. Encourage the players to come up with synonyms for the word inspiration.
Present sample inspiring experiences. Ask the players to think back on the previous day and write down a few sentences about three inspiring experiences they had. Give examples based on your recent experience.
Here are the three experiences I recounted during a recent session:
- I watched a basketball game in which a player was on a roll. He gracefully shot several 3-point baskets from long distances. He also passed the ball selflessly to assist his teammates.
- I read a gripping murder mystery by a talented writer. I was impressed by the author’s mastery of the language and her skillful use of words to evoke terror. I was also impressed by her ability to end each chapter with a cliff hanger that forced me to keep reading until I finished the last chapter.
- I observed a Montessori school teacher working with a 3-year old student labeled as autistic. I was fascinated by her talent in reaching to the child and encouraging him to respond.
If any player cannot think of inspiriting incidents during the past 24 hours, ask him or her to expand the time period to the previous week (or previous month).
Share with a partner. After a suitable pause, check to make sure that every player has noted down at lease one inspiring experience. Ask the players to stop writing and pair up with someone else to form a partnership. Tell the players to take turns to share their inspiring experiences and its impact.
Debrief the participants. Ask the players to reflect on how they felt when they recalled the inspiring experience and shared it with a partner.
Recommend an Inspiration Journal. Suggest that the players to briefly jot down one inspiring experience every day in a notebook.
- Watching the exquisite performance of a skilled person captivates our attention.
- Recalling and sharing inspiring experiences uplifts our spirit and makes us strive to achieve more.