This past week, a Brigada participant asked if I had ever seen Eric Whitacre’s “Virtual Choir” talk at TED. I must have been on another planet. This is one of the most interesting and intriguing concept talks ever. It’s 14 minutes — but believe me, you won’t regret it


After I watched his TED Talk, I had to go find the full 2.0 version…

And then I had to go find the video by Britlin Losee that, according to Whitacre, started it all. She was the little girl who sent him the video-letter, explaining that he had inspired her to become a composer. What a great story — that she, then, inspired him to create this “virtual choir” that connected a couple of thousand voices from dozens of countries all over the world. So here’s my question: What triggers inspiration? And how can you inspire others? Here are some shooting-from-the-hip theories that I have:

  • *** Inspiration often comes from the place in which you least expect it. A successful high-brow composer gets an idea from a little girl, alone in her bedroom, with a teddy-bear on the shelf behind her.
  • *** We often glean inspiration someone unlikely to have ever earned the platform to grant it. Think about it — we often catch insight not from those who are normally speaking, but from those who have little voice: The under-dog who wins over the champion, the disadvantaged one who somehow overcomes all the odds, or the person in the midst of pain from a terrible life-threatening illness who takes on the world.
  • *** Glimpses of inspiration happen from the top of a mountain, or on a canoe trip in the canyon. To get ideas in here (our hearts or heads), we sometimes have to get out there (on the streets or among the poor).

Can you see the trend? If this is the case — if my hunch is correct — the one thing you need, if you’re going to inspire others, is “voice.” You don’t need riches. You don’t even need a ton of talent. You just have to care. You have to endeavor. You have to be exceptional in your effort. If we could learn how to inspire others (and how to be inspired by others), something tells me there would be a lot more cool insights by future Eric Whitacres.

Your thoughts? Just click on the comment box below. And thanks for your contribution.