David Heinemeier Hansson

February 13, 2023

Inspiration is perishable

We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever. 

What doesn’t last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date. 

If you want to do something, you’ve got to do it now. You can’t put it on a shelf and wait two months to get around to it. You can’t just say you’ll do it later. Later, you won’t be pumped up about it anymore. 

If you’re inspired on a Friday, swear off the weekend and dive into the project. When you’re high on inspiration, you can get two weeks of work done in twenty-four hours. Inspiration is a time machine in that way. 

Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won’t wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.

This is how we ended REWORK. The final essay. And it rings as true today as it did a decade ago. I just spent the last couple of weeks high on motivation to pursue a new vision. It's been everything enumerated above: Months of work accomplished in weeks of pure drive. It's been intoxicating. I know the feeling won't last forever, but I also know that I have to get everything out of it while it does.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.