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Motivation And Inspiration: Is It Really Two Different Things?

Motivation and inspiration are actually two different things. As Simon Sinek puts it, “Inspiration is a spark inside of us. It’s fueled by our idealism and the love of our friends and family.” 

Motivation is different. It could be internally or externally driven. It’s a pulling force. 

Motivation is the process of stimulating people to perform certain actions in order to accomplish whatever the end goal is. 

The feeling of motivation doesn’t last. That’s why we have to keep repeating it daily. 

It makes me think of my days in college playing on the basketball team. 

I had to wake up at 5am to run 3 miles, then be in class by 8am and finish by around 1pm. 

Then head over to the gym for our second practice that usually lasts until 5 or 6pm. 

This was my life everyday of the week. Who does that!?

So what motivated me to do all these things everyday? I hated running …

5am was too damn early…and quite frankly, there were many days where I just didn’t feel like doing it. 

However, I knew that in order to play in the game, which was the fun part, I had to show up to practice. 

Otherwise, the coach will not let me in the game. 

I also had a scholarship to keep, so if I was missing practice, I’d eventually get kicked off the team.  

It was not losing my scholarship and having to go back home a failure that motivated me to get out of bed.

Motivation causes goal directed behavior. I talk more about this in my theory of motivation post.

It’s all about the motive. A short term stimulator. 

Once you finally get to the thing you want to get, you’re off chasing the next thing.

From making more money by taking on a new job…

Working hard for a promotion and many other things pushes us towards something. 

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But inspiration is deeper than that. 

Inspiration is present in us all the time….once we find it of course.

When you are inspired, you are mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

An inspired person is often compelled to be different and do better than what they currently are. 

Can inspiration lead to motivation?

In some ways yes. However, if you’re inspired, you really don’t need much motivation to pull you towards your goals.

Look at inspiration as the vision. It is your deeply seeded WHY. 

Why do you want to do something, be something or have?

Inspiration is asking yourself a lot of questions. 

Going deep. 

If we can trust what our deepest held values are to be innately fulfilling and embody those values in the present moment, that is where meaning and fulfillment comes from. 

So when we’re inspired to take action, to embody that value, that is when things start to flow effortlessly and come together. 

No one can get in the way of an inspired person. When you are inspired, what you do, should not define who you are. 

Examples of motivation and inspiration and how to use both to level up your life…

I’m not inspired by people who have it all figured out. I am inspired by people who are working everyday, trying to figure things out. 

I’m not inspired by famous celebrities who have 24 hours a day and many resources and teams around them to help them get what they need at will.  

Rather it’s a team of personal trainers, chefs and nutritionists to help them get in the best shape and health of their life. 

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Or a team of financial experts helping them on how to grow their wealth even further.

…and the list can go on and on..

Sure it’s fun to get motivated by them but I know that any comparisons are unrealistic at the end of the day.

I am inspired by normal everyday people. 

I’m inspired by the once 56 year old woman who wanted to get in better shape with her sister and became the world’s oldest, competitive bodybuilder today at the age of 84. 

I am inspired by people like Cal Gilbert who went from homeless, living on the streets to award winning author. 

People like this don’t live their lives in the spotlight with a desire to stand out, but are driven by quite the opposite: a desire to fulfill their passion in their own way, embracing the energy that chasing their dreams gives them.

If you don’t have it all figured out, don’t worry about it. 

If you are struggling to see progress, give yourself a quiet fist pump for getting some skin in the game in the first place. 

We may not know everything when we get started. Everyday is an opportunity to learn, adjust and adapt. 

Perfection is the enemy of progress. Sitting around waiting for the perfect opportunity and the perfect plan will result in nothing ever happening.

Educate yourself a bit and put one foot in front of the other. That’s how everyone starts. 

Try and don’t be afraid to fail. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good montage like the movie Creed or The Karate Kid. But I get my inspiration from somewhere else. 

Montages don’t give us a realistic look at life. It just gives us the highlights.

It’s more like 3-5 minutes of the best parts of months or years of hard work with all the realism cut out. 

Real achievement is full of blood, sweat and tears and competing commitments. 

It’s full of moments of self doubt and confusion. You don’t see the sacrifices that were made to get from the before to the after. 

You don’t see the nights lying away asking yourself, ‘why am I even doing this?’ when the camera’s not rolling. 

Montages are great, but I get inspired by the work between takes. 

Real achievement can be all over the place and messy. Even boring at times. But it is amazing and rewarding. 

Never compare your struggles with someone else’s highlights. Montages take time. 

If what you’re doing right now isn’t working, try something new. Don’t be afraid. 

Learn, adjust and adapt. I’ve had to do this many times and that is perfectly okay. 

Let me know in the comments what your take on motivation and inspiration is. 


Discover unique products that inspire at the
InspiredLife ShopWear Your Motivation. Inspire Your Space.