Inspiration and motivation are not the same things. There is an argument that they are quite the opposite from one another.
Inspiration is a strong desire to create, to reach out and make something or do something that never existed before.
Motivation is a general willingness or the reason for an action.
What’s the difference?
It’s all in how we express it. Motivated people charge forward, not letting anyone stop them or interfere with their process. Inspiration, on the other hand, pulls other in your wake and drags them along.
With motivation, you grab the vision and run with it.
With inspiration, the idea grabs hold of you.
Have you ever had an inspiration? You can probably remember every detail, the time it hit, the idea behind it, the way it felt. With motivation, that comes and goes and maybe you remember the project that came from it, but not in the fine detail that inspiration leaves on you.
And that is probably the most significant difference.
Motivation wears out
Often it runs out long before the project is over.
Inspiration can last a lifetime and take you to new horizons you’d never thought of before.
Motivation is like the coach that yells about “getting up,” “hitting harder,” “running faster.” It’s the push that we need to get over the initial slump or over that mid-point.
Inspiration doesn’t need a push or a press. Inspiration is more like finding a new perspective, a fresh eye where you’ve never known existed.
You cannot teach inspiration
It can’t be passed on from one person to another.
Inspiration comes indirectly, stealing into our thoughts when we don’t expect it when we’re clear-headed and often concentrating on something else.
Motivation is the drive to bring creation to reality, to finish the project, but inspiration is the birth of creativity.
Inspiration can be a life-changing event that completely realigns your perspective on a permanent basis.
Motivation is independent of passion
Motivation is often a replacement for passion.
Inspiration is passion at its most raw. Inspiration is an idea, a vision that takes hold and never let’s go.
People who are inspired are more likely to succeed, more likely to influence others.
Motivation is not contagious
Being motivated to a task typically does not motivate another. Being inspired, on the other is contagious. Inspired people catch others in their passion and create inspiration in them.
It’s easy to get caught up in a dream and then dream your vision, making inspiration the more valuable of the two.
With that being said… I must admit that I’m still looking for a daily dose of motivation to accomplish my goals.
That’s why I turn to podcasts.
Feel free to vote for the best motivational podcasts here and add your own.
When to Get Motivated
Now, let me ask you a question: how many times have you sat down to get something done, feeling completely and utterly motivated – and then do nothing at all?
It’s a frustrating feeling, and you might have even been beating yourself up for it, thinking that this was somehow your fault for ‘missing the moment.’
What if it wasn’t your fault at all, but instead a problem of misapplied motivation? Believe it or not, motivation placed in the wrong moment can do more harm than good.
Typically, there are three places where we apply motivation – and only one is the right place!
Before we begin a project
Waiting for it to show up. That is typically the kind of motivation that we think of when we talk about being ‘motivated.’ Often, we don’t even pull this one out ourselves but instead we ‘wait’ for motivation.
That’s why it’s so hard to get that term paper written on time – we’re waiting until we ‘feel’ like it. And that feeling might never come.
As we begin the project
Here’s where we cue the snappy music, the positive quotes, the energy. We NEED to get that term paper done, so we throw all this motivational stuff at ourselves to give the impetus we need to lurch into motion. Except there’s no staying power. The music fades, the quotes are forgotten, and the project looms as big as it ever has. You might have gotten half a page written, but now you’re lagging, and you lack the motivation to continue. Wouldn’t it be just that much easier to stop now and hit up that movie with friends?
What happened? Isn’t this where motivation was supposed to work?
The problem is, you were using motivation to force you into doing something you never wanted to do in the first place. In this case, motivation becomes that whip to drive you onward. That’s not a pretty picture.
After the project is in motion
Motivation works best as an accelerant, not as a whip. Let’s see where it SHOULD be.. Here’s where motivation works at its optimal best. Why? Because if we’re already in the project, we’ve CHOSEN to be there. That means that the obstructions to moving forward are gone. And motivation, rather than trying to move you with the idea that you ‘have’ to do something, is instead a positive feeling of ‘hey, I’m doing this, let’s keep going.’
In our term paper example, we’ve already settled down to write; now we’re just pushing ourselves to keep that forward momentum. And that’s how the paper gets written.
Applying motivation at the right time is the difference between success and failure. Knowing the proper steps (choosing actions THEN applying the push) will show you the real power of motivation – and how much you can accomplish.
So, how do you feel today: are you inspired or motivated?
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