Many times we’ve heard people say that so-and-so motivated them, or that they were inspired to achieve something. The words “motivation” and “inspiration” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
Simply put, motivation is usually external, while inspiration is usually internal.
Many people are motivated to achieve a goal or finish a project because of what they will get at the end. What is gained at the end can be either positive or negative.
- If you are motivated to finish planting your garden, your motivation is what you will see when you are finished: beautiful landscaping or a food garden that will yield enough food for you for a year.
- If you are motivated to avoid dangerous situations, it is because you know what would await you in that situation is something painful or something you fear.
You can be motivated to make a job change because you will make more money or finally work in the field in which you have your degree.
You can be motivated to stick to your diet because of the fear of diabetes or other health challenges, or even fear of not fitting into your clothes.
Inspiration, on the other hand, is not so much in your control. Have you heard the phrase, “I’ll do it when the mood strikes me”? That is one way of understanding inspiration. Inspiration comes to you, often when you don’t expect it.
Dr. Wayne Dyer gives a great explanation on the difference between motivation and inspiration:
- When you are motivated, you get hold of an idea and you carry that idea through to its natural conclusion.
- When you are inspired, the idea gets hold of you and it carries you to where you are supposed to go.
The word “inspire” originally meant being in or with a spirit or “force”. When you are inspired, all blockades and limitations seem to disappear; the “how” just appears. When you are motivated on the other hand, you have to figure out how to get the task done.
What motivates you to achieve something? When have you been so inspired that you knew you just had to do something?
Let us know in the comments section.