The raw beauty and natural grandeur of the great outdoors are humbling and inspiring at the same time. Natural environments, from the vast expanse of open plains to towering peaks of mountain ranges, evoke a sense of awe and wonder.
For anyone seeking inspiration, Mother Nature offers plenty! Here are 6 sources of inspiration in the great outdoors.
Also, I’ve included some lessons you can learn from being in nature. These are things that stand out to me when I observe the natural elements listed below. But that’s not to say you won’t find deeper meanings as you explore the great outdoors.
1. The Flowing Waters
You can find inspiration whether you’re surfing the strong ocean waves or leisurely kayaking through the gentle waters of the river.
And if the idea of being in the water gives you the jitters, just sitting by the beach listening to the sound of crashing waves can inspire creativity.
Besides, the soothing sounds of gentle sea waves and the noise of cascading waterfalls are deeply relaxing.
If you want to stimulate your imagination, I strongly recommend going to the beach or spending time in the flowing waters. The serene, natural environment with the cool breeze and ambient sounds is the perfect combination for activating your creative juices.
Lesson: Ride the Tides of Life Proudly
Something about flowing rivers, waterfalls, and tidal waves brings to mind the nature of modern life. It seems our daily lives are all over the place, like the waves of water moving back and forth on the sea.
One day, we’re excited about something and its prospects, and the next, we’re yanked into a myriad of problems that seem to come at us from out of the blue!
But that’s perfectly okay, whether you’re cascading down a steep relationship mountain like a waterfall, accelerating through financial crisis rapids, or floating unexcitedly through a career floodplain.
We don’t get to choose what curveballs life throws at us. We simply make the best of things and ride the tide.
Plants are everywhere, even under the sea and on arid lands, and they are good sources of inspiration in the great outdoors.
Take trees, for example. Their solid trunks sway back and forth without breaking, inspiring us to always be flexible, strong, and resilient. Their branches remind us to reach out and be there for others.
Here’s what I suggest if you live near trees.
Grab a hat and journal, sit under a tree, chew on a piece of straw, and just listen to the gentle breeze.
Who knows, an idea might occur to you. And even if nothing strikes you in those moments, sitting under a tree provides a good opportunity for self-reflection.
Lesson: Stand Strong
Towering trees hold a lot of lessons for me. They remind me to stand tall and hold my head high, no matter what life throws my way.
And knowing that tree roots go deeper into the ground with every pouring rain and strong wind helps me to weather the storms of life.
But there’s more to learn from trees and plants beyond their unwavering nature. Don’t be fooled into thinking that plants do nothing all day (besides sunbathing).
Whenever you feel lazy, remember that plants make their own food, even though they don’t move around like humans and animals. Let that thought spur you into action!
3. Natural Patterns
Nothing is as stunning as the millions of natural patterns in nature. Even with all the technological advancements, modern machines can’t come close to making some of the intricate designs found on simple things like leaves, feathers, tree barks and cross sections, and some rocks.
Interestingly, many extremely delicate designs in nature are created by lowly living things, like bugs, and non-living things, like water and countless years of layer formation.
If your work involves designs, the best place to draw inspiration is from Mother Nature. Leave your desk and go outside! You can get amazing design ideas from tons of animate and inanimate things out there.
Lesson: Don’t Overlook the Simple Things
Even the tiniest things in life can make a huge difference and be a great source of inspiration. Sometimes, what you’re looking for is hidden in plain sight, and you just need to look a bit closer to see it.
4. Sounds, Smells, and Sights
If you want to gather your thoughts, the great outdoors is the best place to do so. That’s because nature is generally quieter than manmade or built environments.
With zero noise pollution or waste noise, it is easy to find inspiration in nature.
That said, nature’s sounds, smells, and sights are excellent sources of inspiration. Whenever you get the chance, go into the woods around late afternoon, find a safe spot, and close your eyes. Take in the smell and listen to the combination of sounds.
From birds chirping to animals howling and insects buzzing, the sounds are simply amazing! Most importantly, they can inspire you to ideas you may not access in a noise-polluted manmade environment.
Lesson: Communication Is Key
All living things in the great outdoors are excellent communicators ― they make sounds to attract mates, warn groups about predators, share food locations, and more.
Question is, how often do we keep in touch with each other? And by that, I mean talking face-to-face with the people around us.
Sometimes, it makes more impact to communicate in person than using the web, phone, or technology.
5. Trails and Paths
Scientists have shown that walking can stimulate creative thinking by around 60 percent. And there’s so much creativity to tap into when you walk in the woods along trails and paths, surrounded by lush greens, serene environments, and the vast blue sky.
Here’s what I recommend when taking nature walks for inspiration: tune into all your senses. This means:
- Tune out worrisome thoughts for a while and focus on the present moment.
- Walk at a slower pace, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds around you.
- Pause at intervals, close your eyes, and inhale deeply.
- If inspiration strikes, stop and note it down in your journal.
Sources of inspiration are plentiful along trails, so there’s no reason to sit at your desk struggling to get ideas.
See it as a red flag whenever you catch yourself thinking, “That’s how it’s always done.” Take it as your cue to get moving to unleash your creativity!
Lesson: Originality Is Tough but Rewarding
Here’s something I should point out about nature walks. There’s a subtle lesson to be learned from trails and paths.
Following a path is a lot easier than breaking a trail!
And here’s the lesson: you can’t get originality on a platter of gold. It takes pushing past fears, doubts, and difficulties.
In other words, you’ll have obstacles and hurdles when doing something new. But don’t give up just because charting a new path is difficult. Remember, you’ve got this! Continue forward.
If you can, climb to the peak of a mountain and look down. Take a trip to the countryside (if you don’t already live there) and stare at the vast plains. Or visit a natural landmark near you and take in all its massiveness.
What do you see? How does it make you feel?
From magnificent plateaus to sun-kissed coastlines and picturesque landscapes, beautiful natural scenery often sparks inspiration. And even more interesting is the fact that different ideas can inspire you at different times from the same scenery.
Landscapes are powerful sources of inspiration, whether you’re an artist looking for your next masterpiece, a writer trying to overcome a mental block, or a regular person trying to make sense of the situations in your life.
Besides providing inspiration, visiting culturally meaningful landmarks and features and spending time in aesthetically pleasing landscapes can enhance your overall sense of well-being.
And the big lesson here?
Landscapes help you get perspective. If you ever find yourself worrying about your problems, take a trip to the countryside or nearby landmark, and let the sheer size of these natural elements remind you of the vastness of the world and your place in it.
Sure, your problems won’t magically disappear, but being surrounded by the majesty of nature helps provide a broader context within which you live your life.
Get Outside and Find Inspiration
Some of us enjoy nature walks and hikes in the woods. Others are more than happy to observe nature from the comfort of their backyard or neighborhood park.
Whatever works for you, spending time outdoors is a good way to get your creative juices flowing.
The next time you feel stuck in your professional or personal life, remember that nature has the answers you want.
Here’s the thing, though.
When looking for sources of inspiration in nature, go outside to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. You’re more likely to find inspiration with that mindset.
Now get outside and get inspired!