The Benefits of Having an Inspiring Image at Work

Featured image for The Benefits of Having an Inspiring Image at Work


Creative Commons License photo credit: Carlos Y.

Work can drain your inspiration. The daily grind can break you down so that after a few months and years you have forgotten about your long term goals and dreams. One way that you can help prevent this is by keeping an inspirational image on your desk.

Why keep an inspiring image at work?

Images are used everywhere. We use them in advertising to entice people to buy a product, in religion to inspire faith and trust, in magazines to illustrate a story or experience, etc.

For example, I could tell you a story about a young starving boy I met in the slums of India. I could talk about how his face was gaunt and his ribs protruding through his skin. Whatever I said, however, it would never have the same effect as one photo.

A picture really is worth a 1000 words – it can conjure up emotion and transform your mental state – and that is why you should keep one in your work space.

Here are some ideas for inspiring photos you can keep on your desk:

A personal hero

Michael Jordan from the famous dunk contest

“As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” – Ernest Hemingway.

The most common and probably the most effective photo you can keep on your desk is one of your personal hero. As a Buddhist I have a small picture of my teacher in my office. Whenever I get stressed or start to lose motivation I look over at the photo and it reminds me why I am working and gets me back on track.

The photo of a personal hero should be of someone who you want to become like. It might be Bruce Lee or Michael Jordan. It might be Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi. It might be Jesus or Buddha. It might be your father or mother. Who ever it is you should make sure it is someone you want to become like. This will inspire you when things get tough.

Photos of our hero help us connect with a deeper part of ourselves that our job quite often suppresses. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself – connect with your deep sense of potential and hope.

An inspiring landscape


Creative Commons License photo credit: bbjee

Another popular image to have in your workplace is an image of an inspiring landscape. My father has worked in real estate for over 40 years and in his office is a photo of the first commercial property that he ever sold. He says it reminds him of the good old days.

For me it is mountains. I love the Himalayas and so a picture of some snow capped mountains with a surrounding forest or waterfall really makes me feel good.

A photo of a wide open space is the best thing to have in your office because it makes you feel less trapped and confined.

A negative event

Tiananmen Square

Sometimes I think that it might be a little depressing to have a negative event pictured on your wall. However, I know a lot of people who have something horrible up on their wall as it inspires them to work harder and stay focussed on their goal to help.

For example, I know someone who works for an animal protection service and she has a picture of a dog that is near death from abuse and starvation. The photo is of the dog’s eyes and the sadness it is communicating is palpable. She says when she looks at this photo she is able to put aside all her selfish ambitions and problems and just put all her energy into the cause. This is quite a powerful thing.

I think if we are going to have a negative thing pictured on our wall we should also have something positive. For example, if you have sick dog on your wall you might also put a healthy and happy dog on the other side to show that you are making some progress. If you don’t you might find things get a little bit depressing.

Your family

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

Having a picture of your family on your desk is probably the most common. It reminds you of why you go to work in the first place and gives you something to look forward to as you know you are going home to them at the end of the day.

There is something extremely comforting about having a photo of your family at work. Your family is your clan, your team. They are people who will always accept and love you. This is a good thing to be a part of when it seems like the world is all about competition, speed and stress.

Can anyone think of any other good pictures or images to put at work?

8 thoughts on “The Benefits of Having an Inspiring Image at Work

  1. I keep Mo Willems’ pigeon by my desk. The pigeon is an eternal optimist (Someday, someone will let him drive a bus, I know it!) who dreams big. Sure, it’s a pretty goofy motivator, but he reminds me that I don’t have to take things so seriously. I can just go out and get things done. I tend to respond well to the simple lessons of children’s lit characters.

  2. It also help to put pictures or things that remind you of the times when you achieved something. Sometimes when things go wrong it helps to remember that you are actually a winner in life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prove that you're human *