When I am working, I have often been introduced as a motivational speaker and author, and there is something about that really hasn’t sat well with me. I much prefer to think of myself as an inspirational writer and speaker. But what is the difference? Over the last few years, this has also prompted me to enquire deeply into asking myself “So, what is the difference between inspiration and motivation?”
Here are some of my current thoughts:
- Motivation operates in the realm of the ego and personality, whilst inspiration originates from the realm of our soul and deepest Self.
- Motivation is often about trying to learn methods and techniques to control ourselves and others, and get them to do what we want them to do. Inspiration is more concerned with “How can I serve you? How can I help you blossom into all that you are and are capable of?”
- We often try to find ways to motivate ourselves and each other to do what we don’t really want to be doing. What we are inspired to do, we naturally and willingly do. In fact we often find it hard to stop ourselves doing what we are inspired to do
- Motivation is something we do to ourselves and each other; we use carrots and sticks on each other. Inspiration is more about allowing ourselves to be who we already are, and encouraging others to be who they naturally are
- Motivation can become a way of forcing people or situations, whilst inspiration doesn’t force, it invites and allows. Inspiration feels expansive.
- Motivation can play to our fears or our sense of guilt, whilst inspiration will appeal to our sense of love, goodness and creativity
I think we need both at times. We sometimes need to use motivation to get ourselves over the hump of inertia or resistance. For example, I have to do things that I don’t necessarily feel inspired to do, like exercise, fill in my tax returns and keep to the speed limit! I need to motivate myself to do these things.
Whereas I love writing but I don’t always feel inspired to write. But by motivating myself to sit down and start writing, I usually find that inspiration starts to flow by engaging with the act of writing. Quite quickly the motivation gets me past the inertia and the inspiration starts to kick in.
I believe we can achieve things more gracefully through inspiration rather than motivation. I think many truly virtuoso performances are only unleashed through inspiration, not by motivation. Inspiration is a higher quality fuel and leads to a much more wonderful experience of life than motivation.
What’s your experience? How do you experience the differences between inspiration and motivation?