top of page

Inspiration vs Motivation

Motivation can be defined as a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. Inspiration on the other hand is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative or a sudden brilliant or timely idea.

The definition of these two words is slightly different but that is not the point of this article, what I'm really trying to do here is to investigate the difference in order that your conscious mind can fully understand both concepts and then apply either when required.

Maybe we could say inspiration comes from inside, motivation come from outside. Maybe we could say for motivation we need a motive, and to be inspired we need to hear see or feel an external message.

A coach motivates, an artist inspires something within us.

Trick is, how do we make this happen for ourselves?

I’m often motivated as I watch a lot of content on the internet and live presentations at conferences, but it doesn’t last? I feel good for a short while but to imprint it into my DNA and motivate me into action permanently is another thing. To be motivated I need a reason and the more base or primal the reason the better. For example, I gave up smoking because I wanted to stay alive.

Primal emotions are powerful, fear is the best, social inclusion is also up there, and of course reward. Conscious emotions can have to same affect but with less force. Loyalty, love, and generosity all lean towards wanting to be included and obtaining and sense of accomplishment.

In the end successful motivation is seen through action, which in turn feeds on itself and produces more motivation eventually you may even be inspired or maybe inspiring.

How do you do that?

There are many hints for breaking the procrastination or becoming motivated. Let’s start with a few that you may be interested in applying.

Break down the task at hand into small steps. You can outline grand goals, reduce each to plans and then list steps and apply time frames to each. This is my preferred behaviour pattern, then make a daily to do list and take great pleasure in ticking them off throughout the day. This helps with clarity of thinking as well.

Declutter your life and home. This will get you stared and allow you to feel better about your starting place. Once again do not let procrastination get in the way here either.

Do the hard stuff first. You may have heard about eating the frog, in other words do the hardest task first and get it out of the way. Brian Tracey outlined this quote from Mark Twain in one of his books.

Do one thing at a time, multitasking was popular in the past and in some contexts, it enables interest in an otherwise boring job, but when it comes to motivation get one thing done then start another.

Health is important, especially mental health and sleep underpins that, so get to bed early and wale up early, the open windows let light and air in it all helps. Stuffy rooms and air conditioning do not.

Reward yourself, everything from applying that tick or cross out on your list to a beer at the end of the day, make sure you have something to look forward to.

Focus on the positive and look to the future, remembering past issues and mistakes will slow you down and prevent great outcomes. Just learn their lessons and move on. Gratitude lists work well for me here.

Give to others without expectations, no I don’t mean donations, I mean having a generous disposition such giving compliments making sure others are okay and helping where you can. Externalising success seems to double results just and sharing problems halve their impact.

You become like the five closest people around you, be with good people, choose them carefully and keep positive along with them.

Note your interests and act on them, in other words be aware of what excites you and what you love doing. Then pursue these interests. I remember my teacher saying in my report card “will succeed if interested”. In the end that was so true.

Connect with nature, get outside, and enjoy the sound and air, stay fresh and enjoy friends. Don’t compare yourself with others only with your old self, celebrate the improvements and achievements.

Tell others about your goals and get them to keep you accountable. This was how I kept going with my book. It took years but I knew too many people would say Tony is just all talk if I didn’t complete the massive task. Yet here it is.

Look for inspiration from others. Although inspiration is not motivation it can provide fuel to it by getting you excited once more. Keep up the good feelings and good actions will come.

Stay with the facts, not how you feel about them, this is vital. Admit it if you don’t know the answer of the conclusion. Too many people make stuff up to fill in gaps in the arguments and conversations proving to me that they are not ready for self-responsibility. It surprising how many people do not think critically and its an area of society that need addressing. What I call the football team mentality in politics is a good example and has led to the disaster that is identity politics.

Practice all the above and your will power will grow. Just like muscles the more you do it the easier it gets.

Self-interest equals motivation.

Self-interest is fundamental, at a primal level it is undeniable. For a start you can’t help anyone else if you are not in a position to help yourself. So, there must be a thread of “why do I want this”? that leads from self-interest to giving. Your goals need to reflect you first and then to the other person or people. But you must have both.

Equal opportunity vs equality is the old left right debate, however in this world of harsh realities you can’t make everyone a success. They all have their own decisions to make. Therefore, all we can do is motivate people and occasionally inspire them to lead their best life possible.

To conclude, whether the stimulation come from you or someone else inspiration is something that you feel on the inside and motivation is something from the outside that compels you to take action. Inspiration is a driving force, while motivation which is a pulling force. Either way you are in control and have the responsibility to act.


8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page