14 Days of Inspiration

My 14 day project will be revolving around life philosophies. In a world where morose thoughts influence the public to the point where suicide is becoming a normality in society- something must be wrong. Everywhere we go, we are seeing more and more pessimism within our society, and no one seems to be doing a thing about it.  In fact, our society has become so numb to those who are pessimistic and depressed, that we have actually learned to classify people that are troubled into groups. We would see people dressed in all black, and we would categorize them into being either emo or goth, and pass judgements on them rather than trying to change their views on the world. My 14 day project will be a pursuit for happiness. For 14 days, I will photograph things that I feel are reasons to live- things that are inspirational in one way or another. I will be documenting my progress by uploading a photograph daily, with my own commentary on why I feel the subject in the photograph is inspirational. During my project, I would hope to answer questions such as “Where can I find inspiration” and “How can I keep inspiration alive?”

A little background information:

Everyone has their own lives, their own experiences, their own stories. My personal  story as to why I chose this project is that a week before today, a close relative passed away. On top of that, I’ve always been a ‘cup is half empty’ type of guy. As humans, whenever there is a death of someone we know, we react in distress. Every problem in the world seems to stack up at the worst possible moments, and we lose site of what we’re existing for. Life gets hard, and many people want to take the easy way out. Not me, I’m stronger than that, and you should be, too. It’s moments like these: the ones where we feel the most overwhelmed that we should try to see the beauties of life. I would like to dispel any types of anguish or disorientation that the death of another person can cause. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is natural to grieve over a person’s death; however, we should not drown ourselves in astonishment. That is the last thing that we should do at a time like this, and with this devastating event comes my 14 day project. I will be using this project in two ways: it will help me cope with death, and it will also inspire those who are lost and weary to find their reason to live.

Day 01: Pets If you don’t want to live for yourself, live for those who need you. Meet Tofu and Sushi, these are the men of my life. I cannot stress the truth in the quote “Friends come and go,” because we have all lived through this experience. There have been so many people who have entered and left my life, but these two will not leave me. I look at these two for inspiration in life because they need me as much as I need them, and everyone wants to feel like they are needed, right? In exchange for feeding and cleaning after my two boys, they unconditionally love me. They are with me from the moment I go to sleep to the moment I wake up, and all the time in between. They are always there for me, to listen to my problems. Even though they don’t understand what I’m saying, they make me feel like I’m not so alone, that I don’t have to face the obstacles of the world by myself.

Day 02: Introspect Another inspirational aspect of life comes from nature. I believe that taking walks or hiking are essential for a positive attitude on life because these activities allow for deep contemplation on introspective thoughts and feelings. Similar to our philosophy and creativity unit, we will be able to question our society and the system in which our society works during our internal contemplation. We allow ourselves to have time to question ourselves as to why we feel so unhappy, and searched for a reparation for our discontent with life. By doing this, we are able to keep our inspirations in life alive because we are freeing ourselves from the tormentingly distracting world around us. By going on this hike, I allowed myself to thoroughly filter out my thoughts and think about the world with a more rational view by releasing my bonds with the world for a moment and focusing on my own personal issues.

Day 03: Displays of Optimism Waking up, today started off terribly. I woke up late and missed my first class, which was Astronomy. Not to mention that I carpool with a friend, so I made him late as well. With finals coming up, there is no time to waste. Being late, I also missed breakfast (the most important meal of the day), so I am not a happy child. Classes were a blur; I could not remember a thing because I was so tired. I suppose my hike from yesterday really took a toll on my body, and I really needed to rest up. Upon retreating to the car after a day of tiresome classes, I see another car with an amazing message. The back windshield had a very inspirational vinyl that said “No Bad Days”. This car vinyl made my day better because it made me realize that our days will only be bad if we made them bad. This idea connects to our perception and reality unit. This is so because we associate certain ideas as being either bad or good; in my case, I assumed that my day would be disastrous when I barely even started it. I took a small event and exploded it when I should have looked at my situation in a different perspective. Instead of being late and causing a friend to be late with me, I was resting my body. What if I woke up on time and went about with my day and collapsed? I bet that the person who owned the car with the influential vinyl does not even know that they changed my day, but their optimism has allowed for me to have a different perspective. We can find inspiration through the actions of others, just as I have found inspiration through the simple action of someone putting a cute vinyl onto their car windshield.

Day 04: Holidays Last week was Thanksgiving, and I spent mine with my friends. Since my family does not usually celebrate Thanksgiving, what other way is better to celebrate it than with a group of people you really care about? Holidays are very inspirational events because they allow us to focus on subjects that are usually very positive. Examples may be Easter being a focus on new life, or Christmas being a focus on joy and charity. Thanksgiving is blatantly a focus on appreciation and gratitude. Alongside with being surrounded by astounding people, Thanksgiving also allows me to be grateful for everything I have- something people don’t usually do on a daily basis. Holidays can be a great source of inspiration because they provide emotions and thoughts that are usually pertaining to the holiday and season, which are normally very positive and optimistic. They are also emotions and thoughts that only exist a few times a year, since holidays do not come very often, so they provide a burst of carefree feelings when holidays are present. Seeing how it is Thanksgiving, I attempted to let go the loss of a family member in order to be thankful for everything I have. I could not do it, it’s too hard right now because the death is so fresh. The obstacle that I am facing right now is time because I have not had enough time to recovery from my loss. Perhaps if I had more time to recover then I will be able to cheerfully celebrate Thanksgiving, but that is not the case for my situation. Hopefully I will have a better Thanksgiving next year when I am given more time to mourn my loss.

Day 05: Haircuts


 So I got a haircut today, and I think that haircuts may also be a source for inspiration. Having a haircut is a good way to metaphorically cut away the past. When we cut our hair, it can be a representation of cutting away all of our problems and forgetting them. Haircuts also connect to our fashion unit. The way we want our hair to be cut is a way for us to convey to the world how we want to be portrayed. Before, I had long hair that covered my ears, the back of my neck, and the upper half of my face. I did so because I’m a shy, introvert person. By cutting my hair to a shorter length, I hope to convey to both the world and myself that I am a more confident and outgoing person. Despite cutting my hair to a shorter length, I have decided to keep my long bangs. I did so because I do not want to go through with my transformation too quickly. I am still a shy person at heart, but the short hair that surrounds my bangs gives me the feeling of being risky.

Day 06: Encouragement 

Today was surprisingly a very good day. By good day, I mean a normal day because nothing bad really happened. My workload is not too heavy because all I have to do is study for finals, and my only distraction is the dinner that me and my friends have planned to have at Red Robins. Having  such a delightful day, there was no need for me to search for things that could make my day better, but for the sake of my project I have found an inspirational message on a cough drop wrapper. The message says “Impress yourself today,” which goes perfectly well with my day. Seeing how my day was satisfying, the message states that I should do something to make myself feel even better than I already am. Although I usually see inspiring messages on cough drop wrappers as corny since they say things such as  “Tough is your middle name” or “Flex your “can do” muscles,” this message really stuck out to me. This message was intriguing because it did not tell me that I was already good enough and that I can do anything I wanted (which is not very realistic), but it told me that I should better myself. It told me that I should not be satisfied with things that are barely good enough, but I should flood my expectations by indulging myself with things that made myself a better, stronger person physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Day 07: Music


Music is an excellent source of inspiration because we feel less alone when we listen to lyrics that apply to us since we know that the singer knows how we feel as well. In Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper, the lyrics of the chorus are “You can take everything I have. You can break everything I am, like I’m made of glass, like I’m made of paper. Go on and try and tear me down. I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper. Like a skyscraper.” This song is inspiring to me because it states that although we will have obstacles, we will always be rising from them because challenges allow for a person to grow both in experience and in wisdom.

Day 08: Friends

When we have had too much to handle, I can easily say that friends are one of the first places to turn to. If they are a true friend, then they will always be willing to listen to your problems and help, but if they ever need it then we should return the favor. A friendship is inspirational because the bonds made between two people are so enduring. Although not all friendships last, the act of making friends is a beautiful thing. Since human beings are social in nature, having friends allows us to feel security. The only hard thing is that most of my friends went to southern California for college. Right now, the only thing I have of them is this photograph taken from UC San Diego Circle K’s masquerade ball, and my memories. Even though my friends are not physically close to me right now, I feel that distance strengthens a friendship because the friendship is still the same it is just the communication that is different. I do not have the luxury of talking to them face to face like I did in high school, so we both have to try a bit harder in order to commute with one another. They inspire me because every time that they visit San Jose, I want them to see that I am improving in life and that I am becoming a better person.

Day 09: Nature Having a class at 7:30 in the morning, I am usually awake by 6am, meaning that seeing the sunrise is an ordinary activity for me. However, with a different perspective, the sunrise and sunset may be miraculous and inspiring events. Watching a sunrise or sunset has always been a special event where people would gather and stand in awe at the natural beauties of the world. When I see a sunrise or a sunset, I think of a person who has been knocked down by the world, but has risen to stand strong. In a way, the sun does this. When the sun sets, it is like it is hiding from the problems of the world, and the earth is left in cold and darkness. When the sun rises again, it is as if it has risen to overtake the problems of the world as a stronger being, and the world is bright and warm again. If the sun is able to be stand up after it has been knocked down, why can’t I? This personification of the sun inspires me to stand strong for what I believe in, and it teaches me that after every fall we should not stay down but we should rise as a stronger person.

Day 10: Wisdom

Wisdom is an inspiring aspect of life because it motivates us into becoming better human beings. Along with being wise, we should be insightful. Being both wise and aware of the world around us, we will be able to become the change that we want to see being made in the world. Similar to our philosophy and creativity unit, Socrates was known as one of the wisest men in the world, but humbles himself by stating that he is no better than any other man. He was viewed as wise because of his curious personality and thirst for knowledge. His journey to find a wiser man has allowed him to see that there are no wise men because every man simply works because he is told to, without knowing the reason why they execute the actions that they do. Socrates’ acknowledges that he himself is not a wise man, but simply a man that has a thirst for knowledge. Being humble and having an understanding of his surroundings has created Socrates into being viewed as a wise person. Overall, wisdom is a trait brought by insight and humbleness. Wisdom is a very admirable trait that we should all try to obtain because wisdom will allow ourselves to better our lives, which makes wisdom an inspirational characteristic in a person.

Day 11: Family

I think that in most cases, family will always be the most inspirational thing that drives a person into being successful. Whether it is because our families have had hardships and that we want to bring our future generations out of that hardship, or if we are striving to repay our parents for what they have done for us, family has always been an influential part of my life. Although I do not live with my family, they are on my mind every single day. The reason why I am trying to get a college education is because I am attempting to make a better life for my family by having a successful career. Being the baby in the family, I feel very pressured to surpass both my brothers. They are only one year apart, whereas I am four to five years apart from them, making me the odd one out in my family. Despite the significant difference in personality and mindsets, a family is still a family. The family is most definitely a place where inspiration for life and success is derived.

Day 12: Goals

When I grow up, I want to be an optometrist. This is actually a recent goal of mine since in high school, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. My goal of becoming an optometrist inspires me to work hard and do well in school. Not only do I want to achieve this goal for myself, but I am striving to make my family and my friends proud of me. I believe that we should have goals in life because they allow us to motivate ourselves into doing things that are beneficial for our lives.

Day 13: Food

Today, I went to go eat my favorite food. Sushi! A friend of mine took this photograph that contains my Hotel California roll from Kenzo, and my hand. Anyways, I believe that food can bring about a lot of inspiration. Food has always been a source of comfort. So much, that there is even a group of food that is used for easing pain. The best example that I can think of is chicken soup. Chicken soup has always been a type of universal nourishment; There is the food, which provides nutrition to our body, and there is the verbal chicken soup: advice. Growing up, I’ve always been interested in reading the book series of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I’m pretty sure you guys read at least one of these books. Anyways, as a child I read these books because of all the funny mishaps that have happened to other people and that in a way, their lives were composed of mini adventures. Years later, I now realize that those humiliating stories offer more than just a humorous moment from a stranger’s life, they offer advice for our own lives. They are tales of pain or humiliation or disgrace that help us guide our own lives to a better trail. The reason why those people are willing to publicize their shameful anecdotes is because they want to give advice to those who are lost and confused. They are attempting to reach out to people who need help by telling their own tales of embarrassment. So to conclude my post for today, food is a symbolism for advice and advice is favorable for those who are in need.

Day 14: Yourself

For the last day of my project, I decided to write about myself. Not about my personality, likes and dislikes or whatever, but myself in general. Myself, yourself, ourselves. The main reason why I wanted to find inspiration through everyday people, objects, and activities was to attempt to allow myself to find things that I can use to better myself as a person; to become less pessimistic and shy in hopes of trying to alleviate my unhappiness. Although we are working hard in life for the people that we care about, we should also count ourselves as a factor as to why we want to better ourselves. At the end of the day, we are accounted for our own outcome in life, so we should strive and sacrifice whatever it takes in order to achieve our goals. Sometimes, push comes to shove and we will be portrayed through a negative manner, but we can’t please everyone in life. In the words of Tina Fey, “Bitches get stuff done!

Conclusion:

Ending my fourteen day project, I have successfully found a different inspiration for each day. Even on days that were already delightful, I was able to find things that have made my day better. During my pursuit for happiness, I have captured fourteen different subjects within my photographs- each with a different presentation of what I believe is inspirational. During my exploration for inspiration, I analyzed different aspects of everyday life in order to recognize and interpret different inspirational subjects present to us. I have found that inspiration can be found through the following: pets, nature, music, friends, and family.

Although friends, family, and pets are more of objects for moral support, they are also sources for inspiration to do better. Friends allow an environment of comfort and security since they are always willing to help us in our time of need; they provide me the inspiration to do well because I do not want to become a burden to them, and I want them to know that all of their support is fundamental to my well-being. My Family strengthens my motivation in trying to be a successful person because I would like to return everything they have done for me, which includes financial, emotional, and moral support. The affection displayed by my pets grant me inspiration because they have displayed a genuine companionship, which shows me that their loyalty will never diminish.

I think that music would be more inspiring if the lyrics were less vague. The artists’ attempts to connect to the majority of their audience has reduced the intimacy conveyed in their music. Nonetheless, music is still an inspirational substance because of the messages that artists are able to express. Messages of overcoming challenges and arising as a stronger individual generates very inspiring songs.

Nature is an inspiring subject because of what can be seen through nature and how we feel when we are in nature. My personification of the sunset as being a person that gets beaten down and the sunrise as a person that is arising from their dilemma as a tougher person inspires me to be more like the sun that I personified. During the adventures I have had on my hike, I was able to improve my mindset by having an introspective restoration. I was able to bring myself into quiet place in order to clear my mind from all of the troubles of the world.

Throughout my whole fourteen day project, the only obstacle that I faced was my own mentality. It was difficult for me to find inspirational aspects of life when all I could think about was death and detachment. In the end, I had to motivate myself to complete this assignment. I did so by telling myself that my grade is on the line and that if I really did want to use this project as a way to cope with death or as a way to inspire other people who are lost and weary to find their reasons to live, then I must not give up on this project; therefore, I did not abandon this project and came to the conclusion that in order to keep inspiration alive, we must free ourselves from the tormentingly distracting world so that we can focus more on ourselves and our needs. We must let go of the past because what’s done is done and there is no turning back. We must learn from our flaws and weaknesses and use that knowledge in our search for wisdom. Our goals and ambition will keep our spark of determination alive as long as we persevere and endure misfortune.

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    • Apryl Berney
    • November 21st, 2011

    This looks good. What questions do you hope to answer by photographing inspirational things?

    30/30

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