Top 5 Sources of Inspiration

Where Do We Find Inspiration?

At the Next Generation of Service, we pair students and recent graduates with peer guides that educate and encourage national service. We start this process with our intake form where we ask, “What Inspires You?” This year we have had over 100 students tell us about their sources of inspiration. We’ve noticed that while we’re all inspired in different ways, there are several common areas that many of us draw upon.

Here are the top 5 sources for inspiration:


1. People Who Overcome Adversity

Everyone loves a good underdog story, so when you are feeling uninspired, revisit your favorite (I really like Disney’s Big Green). Take the time to reflect on the adversity in your life; we’ve all faced challenges and grown from them. What is something you have overcome to get to where you are?


2. Making a Difference

It is inspiring and empowering to feel like we can change aspects of our world for the better. Think about the things you want to change, the issues you care about, and look for organizations or thought leaders working to address those issues. Follow these organizations on social media and consider supporting their work through donations or by volunteering.


3. Family

Our family can be a source of stress at times but also a major source of strength. What you consider family is likely the group of people that know you best — that cherish you, that you cherish in return. At the end of the day, your family is there to support you throughout your journey and to succeed, and that is inspiring.

We often hear stories of students inspired by parents who faced challenges or family members with certain career paths. Our family serves as the primary influence on our values and worldviews. As we grow, we are able to internalize, test and reject these values. At NGS, we hope you build upon the foundation your family has helped foster and achieve personal growth through working with others.


4. Art

Humans seem destined to create – to channel their passions into things we can see, hear, and feel. Some would argue that the purpose of art is to inspire – to inspire action or contemplation. Each of us responds to art in different ways, which is truly the beauty of art.

When was the last time you went to your local museum or high school play? Where is the art in your own backyard?

Here are some examples of individuals using art to inspire social change.


5. Teachers & Mentors

A great teacher works not only to create captivating and timely curriculum aimed at teaching you critical thinking skills but also to change you and help you develop a sense of purpose.  You might not remember those ideas or facts your teachers taught you, but you will remember those experiences that made you feel inspired.

Teachers help guide you in self-discovery through providing opportunities for collaboration, to overcome challenges and to make connections in the world. Along the way, they instill a sense of ability and worth in the student. It is no wonder teachers are commonly listed as a source of inspiration, and also that many of our service opportunities involve teaching others.