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The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration

 

The interesting thing is that some people seem to mistake motivation for inspiration. They think that both words have the same meaning, and they often use one word for the other.

Let’s look at motivation and inspiration.

One of my earliest mentors in personal development told me that motivation is a pulling force. For example, if you want to do exercise, and you feel that you don’t have the time, or that it is too cold outside, or that you will be in pain afterwards, you have to motivate yourself to go and do the exercise. That motivation will pull you towards doing exercise.

The key to being motivated is to have a “motive”. Think about it for a moment, the word “motivation” comes from the word “motive”.

So, if you are to go and exercise, you have to motivate yourself by reminding yourself of the motive for doing exercise. It could be weight loss, fitness, getting fresh air etc. Whether you use the word “motive” or you use the word “reason”, motivation needs to come from that source. Without having a reason or a motive, motivation will be hard to come by.

Inspiration on the other hand, is more of a process. You may hear a speaker who inspires you, you may read a book that inspires you, you may hear a song that inspires you, you may meet a person who inspires you, or you may see something that inspires you. Whatever it is that inspires you, it touches you on the inside and connects you to a state of being more excited, productive, purposeful or anything that comes as a result of being inspired.

One of my goals is to give people insights into defining their life purpose. Once they realize their life purpose, something inside of them awakens. They are inspired to live their purpose with passion!

The word “inspiration” comes from the late Latin word “inspirare” which means “inspirit” or “divine guidance”.

So, inspiration is something that you feel on the inside, while motivation is something from the outside that compels you to take action.

Inspiration is a driving force, while motivation which is a pulling force.

Some people believe that motivation is for lazy people because they cannot be bothered getting things done. On the other hand, they think that inspiration is for productive people because they are always getting things done.

No, that is certainly not the case. We all can benefit from motivation and inspiration.

So, let’s look at some examples.

Motivation – I have to raise $500 for my favorite charity. They are in desperate need of funding because they need to get a new computer. To be able to afford the new computer, they need to raise $500 by the end of this month.

The ‘motive’ here is to make provision for the new computer. That is the pulling force that is making me raise money for my favorite charity.

Inspiration – I feel like helping my favorite charity to raise funds. When I am making a contribution towards others, I feel that I am in full alignment with my core values. That creates the essence of being congruent to who I really am.


The driving force here is to make a contribution towards others because it feels congruent to who I really am on the inside.

I clearly remember, I received a phone call in 2012. The human resources manager of an organization asked me to come and give a speech to her staff so that her staff would be motivated, because she felt that they needed inspiration.

My response to her was this – “I can show your staff the steps to being motivated (which is to look for a motive). The rest is up to them. What I can also do is speak about how to awaken inspiration”.

The reason for me giving you the example above is this – I had to explain to this lady that motivation and inspiration are two different things. Also, motivation is no magic pill that someone can just give you. What you have to do is create a motive (or look for a motive) so that you can acquire motivation.

Some people think that motivation is bad, and inspiration is good. Please remember that neither motivation nor inspiration is a bad thing. They both can help to propel you forward!

Whether it is motivation that you are after, or inspiration that you want, gratitude always helps. Whenever I am driven by inspiration, I tend to look for things that I am grateful for, that will help me in feeling inspired.

Whenever I have a motive that I am working on, I tend to look for things that I already have in my favor that will help me work on my motive. I then express gratitude for the things that are in my favor.

So, gratitude can support you in feeling inspired and being motivated.

Quote: "Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go." —Dr Wayne Dyer

I hope that I have given you a simple insight into motivation and inspiration.

Now that you can delineate the difference between motivation and inspiration you can harness its potential to propel you to your dreams. Symbolic Designs can keep you motivated with our motivational canvas art so you can achieve your goals and live the life you always wanted to live!

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