Motivation vs Inspiration

“My doctor says I need to lose some weight.”
“My boss says I need to get more motivated at work.”
“I know I should clean out the garage, but I don’t feel like it.”

Sound familiar?

If only we could motivate ourselves to do the things we need to do! Then life would be a lot easier, wouldn’t it? An entire industry exists around the subject of motivation. The problem is that there are so many books, seminars and videos out there! How do you know which one is best for you? Well, if there was one technique or formula that really worked, we wouldn’t need all that stuff! There must be something fundamentally flawed with existing motivational procedures.

Governments, religions, and ‘authority figures’ use fear to motivate. That works for a while, because when people get scared, their biological “fight or flight’ mechanism kicks in and there is a rush of adrenaline. The threat of physical punishment often works temporarily to keep people on the straight and narrow. But like an energy drink filled with sugar and caffeine, that high always wears off. People eventually come to understand that toeing the line is less important than maintaining personal integrity and dignity.

Personal resolutions for change that come from somebody else’s idea of what is right or good –– like losing weight (doctor), or doing better at work (boss) or cleaning the garage (the wife has been nagging you about it) also fail.
But what would happen if you were inspired to do these things?

Maybe you’d like to lose weight because you’ve got a closet full of beautiful clothes that you can’t wear anymore. The thought of seeing yourself in the mirror with your new figure makes you feel great.

Maybe you want to do better at work because you want to remodel that kitchen, and you are going to need an extra $30,000 this year. The thought of your new kitchen gets you fired up to improve your performance and get noticed for the new administrative position that is opening up.
And for something more mundane like a clean garage, well, every time you want to cut the grass you have to unpile the junk from on top of the lawnmower. And really, it’s getting pretty hard to find your toolbox too. Wouldn’t it be great to have a clean space where it’s easy to get the stuff you need?

There are millions of ways to get inspired, all of them probably different for each person. Motivational techniques, however, are a kind of sales job, where the sales pitch comes from somebody else. Sometimes you can convince yourself to go along for a while, but eventually you just tell the salesman to shutup and go away!

There is a subtle but significant difference between motivation and inspiration. You need to get motivated to do something you feel you should do. Usually these are tasks dictated from outside yourself.
Inspiration, however, is an entirely different animal. Inspiration comes wholly from within, and is something that connects you with the creative energy of the universe, and your Higher Self.

Motivation is the source of countless New Years resolutions (and those at other times of the year) that never are seen to fruition.
Inspiration is the source of passion and success.

Inspired people change the world. Motivated people work really hard and eventually fail.
Sometimes motivation can turn into inspiration! This happens when you find a reason to get personally fired up about what you are doing. And when that happens, you soar.

What’s the solution? Don’t motivate yourself! Throw away those motivational speeches and books. If your life isn’t going the way you’d like, sit down and ask yourself what you really want. Ask yourself why you are doing the things you’re doing.

When you do this consciously, you will discover a lot of crummy reasons for doing the things you don’t like, and a lot of good reasons for doing the things you do like.
The next step is to do more of the things you like, and less of the things you don’t like!
Or find better reasons for doing the things you have to do (like work).

I can tell you from personal experience that if you just find a couple of minutes each day to do something you love, your life will change. You will soon discover that those few minutes are the most powerful and enjoyable of your day. And remarkably, you will have more time in your day to do them, without losing time or getting stressed out on your other obligations.
Try it and see!

Copyright © 2007 Kenneth James Michael MacLean
The Big Picture

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