Motivation is such an important aspect of life. Motivation brings a certain fire that makes us capable of doing and achieving the things in our life that are truly important to us.
But what is Motivation?… And what’s the difference between motivation and inspiration?
Motivation vs Inspiration
I often hear people talk about motivation and inspiration as if they meant the same thing, but there’s actually a very important difference.
Inspiration is a feeling that lift us up and makes us feel good. When we’re in an inspired mood, all the things that might usually bother us don’t touch us in the same way. It puts us in a state of mind where we see the world differently, and we don’t get pulled down into negative thought patterns.
A defining difference between motivation and inspiration is that motivation infers action, whereas inspiration doesn’t necessarily require you to do anything. Inspiration can be a state of being.
Say you’ve been inspired to meditate because you’ve finally had enough of the stress, anxiety or negative thoughts that keep impacting your life and health. You’ve been thinking about doing it for so long, but now you make the decision to do it.
You feel motivated, you realize you want to start your day with a win, so you decide you’ll start getting up earlier in the morning to meditate. You set your alarm for 6am (or whatever “early” is for you) and go to sleep.
The alarm goes off the next morning… You hit snooze… The alarm goes off again… You hit snooze, or maybe turn it off…
You lie in bed thinking about getting up, or maybe you just go back to sleep.
The inspiration to meditate is somewhere in the background of your awareness, but you don’t get yourself out of bed. By the time you finally do, there’s no time left for meditation.
So you go on with your day as usual, with stress and negative thoughts impacting every aspect of your life. On top of this, perhaps now you’re even judging yourself for not getting up and doing what you know you need to do.
You’ve read the studies proving how effective meditation is, but even more than that, you desire the freedom from the chaos of your mind. You know inside yourself that you need to do it… And yet you didn’t get yourself out of bed to do it.
In this case what you were feeling was not motivation, there may have been a genuine sense of inspiration and an inner realization of what you know you need to do, but because there was no action, getting up early to meditate was only a nice idea, or maybe just wishful thinking.
Have you ever experienced something like this?
Finally, one day you do get yourself up and out of bed early and do your meditation. What was different?
There was something more. There was a certain fire that got you out of bed. The inspiration or the idea reached a point where it manifested in action.
There was motivation.
Motivation Means Action
If there’s no action, then what you experience is not motivation.
Inspiration may lead to action, but it doesn’t have to. When inspiration does lead to action, there is an ignition, and then, there is motivation.
I know I can feel a sense of inspiration anytime, whether I’m doing something or not, but when I feel motivated it’s when I’m doing something. When I’m in the process of taking action as I work towards something, for example, writing this blog post.
When I had the inspiration to write it, there was something inside me that I wanted to pass. I was seeing and feeling a certain perspective around motivation that I felt might be useful for others.
So, I had an inspiration and wanting to share it, but the sense of motivation came only once I began getting the concept out of my head and into words by writing.
When I feel motivated there’s a sense of being more awake. Something is ignited inside me and action is a result.
Take a moment to reflect on the times when you’ve taken action on something, and when you haven’t. How does it feel different?
The Importance of Action
Action is what creates change and transformation. It’s also what creates the current life we have.
When I say action, this includes both physical action and mental action. Our physical actions are usually preceded by some level of mental activity, a thought, emotion or change in state.
If you want to become fitter but you never do any kind of exercise it won’t happen… there was no action taken.
Imagine you want to develop a deeper connection to you’re husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe workmates or employees. You realize you need to listen more calmly, while you stop taking things too personally and over reacting.
If you don’t actually change your habitual mental reactivity it won’t work, and you’ll continue over reacting… At some point you need to respond differently. A different action.
What take us from the idea, inspiration or wanting for something to the point of motivation when we take action?
Why do we want it? Why is it important?
If we don’t know why we want something or why it’s important then we won’t do it.
But it’s more than knowing it mentally. We have to realize it inside us. We need to feel it.
Our why comes with a certain fire. You know when you really want something, there’s a fire inside you that finds a way to make things happen.
This fire has a vitality that makes us feel alive!
If we don’t tap into the feeling of it then we’re not tapping into the fire and it won’t lead anywhere. The idea is not enough.
What’s important in your life that you haven’t taken action on yet?