A good way to start this post is with this living line by Kenneth Hildebrand, “… The most glowing successes are but reflections of inner fire.” That inner fire is an inspiration.

Many things inspire people, such as suffering serious hardship, deprivation, initial failure, being told that you can’t amount to anything, having passion to solve a problem for humanity, reading a book, and so on. As a matter of fact, when you make an experience an “encounter” that is, an intense inner challenge, it definitely inspires you to do the unusual, to go for the mountain.

I see inspiration as a state when you receive illumination of the spirit culminating in a new surge of empowering feelings rising up within you, conquering all limitations of your thoughts, and moving you to take definite actions in the new direction. At this point, you don’t and can’t accept any no for an answer. We all have had opportunities to enter into that state of the heart.

The most successful people on earth, some of which are highlighted here, make good use of the opportunities of their inspiration. Let’s see how they really get inspired.

(1) Driven by the desire to find a solution. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, didn’t set out to build a business. He says he was simply solving a problem he noticed around. In his words, “I was just trying to help connect people at colleges and a few schools.”

Zuckerberg saw on the Internet that there were services for finding music, news, and information, but there was none for connecting with people you cared about. This important need inspired him to find a solution.

Billionaire Richard Branson also shares in this line of thought of providing an answer. He believes that it is in looking around you and finding a hole that needs to be filled to better the lives of the people that make you to really take an action. In his words, “Entrepreneurship in its truest form is about identifying a gap in the market and creating a product of use to fill that hole and make people’s lives better. Often the best way to find this gap is to look around you – are there services that could be improved or a product that could make something easier?”

It was also the need to find a solution to a real problem, the problem of solving an on-demand taxi service that inspired Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick to start Uber. This is a convenient, inexpensive, and safe cab service. With a tab on your smartphone, a nearby driver arrives, may be within minutes, to take you to your destination. You can even watch the driver en-route as he’s coming to pick you up. Valued at over $50 billion, Uber is operating in over 60 countries today.

(2) Inspired by a documented thought to do good: Today, the richest man in the world is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the e-commerce giant. One great source of daily inspiration for him is a quote, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, he sticks on his fridge. The quote reads:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

(3) Inspired by seeing far more opportunities for good things than evil in the world. The book Bill Gates wished he could give to every graduate is the book that has inspired him the most, The Better Angels of Our Nature, written by Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology.

Pinker argues that despite the media’s focus on crime, war, violence, terrorism, and so on, research shows that all these things are on the decrease over a long time. Rather than getting worse, the world is getting better with greater opportunities that should make us hopeful, instead of worrying, about the future.

(4) Being around passionate people. Passionate people look at the bright side of life and are often visionary. They pursue a great purpose. Being around them is contagious and they’ll get your juices going.

(5) Traveling. Also, visiting other places exposes you to experience new things and meet different people that can be the source for your next great idea.

Therefore, be sensitive to identify what really inspires you and make sure you keep that inner fire always burning. One genuine inspiration could be worth a life’s experience.