Motivation versus Inspiration

At some point in our life we decide or have decided for us that motivation must evolve into inspiration. They both do a great job the only question is how high can they take us?

From a very early age we learn the art of motivation: that is to determine whether what we are about to do meets with the approval of those people who may own the power we want. For example a parent may have the power to give us love and we will do whatever it takes to get the attention we call love from them. This is the purity of motivation.

Changing ourselves or changing what we do to meet other people’s approval means that we also change what we do to avoid their disapproval. This is the ultimate in altruism. The problem with motivation as a model for life is that around mid life will begin to struggle with a sense of confidence in ourselves and in what we do based on a huge number of people who have the power to influence us with their opinion. We begin to search for a way to both respect their opinion and our own. This is typically called a midlife crisis.

A midlife crisis can happen anywhere between 20 years old and 55. Typically what we start doing is following our own star, means listening to our own inner voice, in one or two areas of life while remaining motivated by other people’s opinions in the majority of the other areas of life. We create a hybrid environment. This can be extremely successful for a period but it also leads to dishonesty and compartmentalisation of life. For example some people buy a yacht and become fully independent while sailing but when they get off the yacht are worried about what people think all over again.

When we develop a hybrid model of both listening to the inner voice and listening to the outer voices it becomes extremely confusing. The aggravation of being influenced by seeking approval of others mixes with the required silence of listening to our own inner voice and creates what is often called a war within. We become dissatisfied with some aspects of life and satisfied with others. Ironically the satisfaction usually comes from meeting other people’s approval (motivation) while the dissatisfaction typically comes from the inability to fully listen to our own inner voice.

Mental ill health, physical illness, self destruction and agitation in the form of stress and anxiety are the results. And so this right of passage or transition that all human beings go through from listening to the voices outside of them to listening to the voice inside of them for life guidance and decision-making becomes a precipice over which many people fall and fail.

the benefits of the motivational model which is seeking reward for action are many: one doesn’t have to really calm down, one can be incredibly driven, use fear and guilt to motivate themselves and other which means we don’t have to know people very well, and, because we’ve grown up with this mechanism of self stimulation we can continue with what we feel comfortable pushing ourselves to meet outcomes that enhance the ego. The drawbacks of the motivational model are equally many (there’s a balance to everything). Motivation in a sense means never happy with what we’ve got always striving to improve and get more. That in itself creates a dissatisfaction with ourselves and the things that we’ve accumulated always wanting more. Motivation also empowers those around us more than we empower ourselves. This form of obedience becomes very frustrating over time.

imagine if you will that every single person we empower becomes a limiter, kind of like a bar in a prison cell, that limits the range of motion to their expectation of us. The more people we wish to seek approval from the Moore bars we have to the prison cell until such time as we feel so hemmed in and imprisoned by our need for approval and acceptance that we revert to decorating the prison cell, alcohol, sex, greed and all the things that go with that in order to survive.

Inspiration on the other hand is outside this prison cell. But the rules of the game change completely. What were once acceptable criteria for doing what we do become in consequential when we move from motivation to inspiration. Inspiration is when the inner voice speaks louder than the outer voices. In other words our own opinion speaks louder than the opinion of others. This also comes with some danger as we are most often more cruel and critical of ourselves than others were.

the other aspect of the inner voice which is really hard to get our head around when moving from motivation to inspiration is the discipline that it takes to practice between performances. What do we mean? Well, in the good times we don’t need, or feel that we don’t need, to practice the skills of inspiration because everything is going great. But this is an extreme mistake. We will eventually learn from this mistake that the time to practice inspiration and the ability to listen to the inner mind is in the good times so that when the going gets tough this ability is anchored deep within.

So what are the skills for inspiration compared to the skills for motivation? I’ve prepared a table below which should explain clearly the difference.

Outcome DrivenProcess Driven
Others opinionOwn opinion
External driverinternal driver
Rejection hurtsNo rejection
Blame otherBlame self
Approval SeekingApproval + Rejection equal
Driven by rewardDriven by vision
High EnergySustained Performance
ExhaustingCreates Energy
Innerwealth Motivation versus Inspiration

The difference between motivation inspiration is conspicuous however we fluctuate between the two when trying to transition from motivation to inspiration. On the one hand we may worry about what people think and meeting the expectations of our investors on the other hand we are driven to build a vision of the future.

So let’s take a quick look at the skills one needs to do motivation versus the skills one’s needs to do inspiration.

Ego DriveSoul Guide
Burning desireClear Vision
Agression Patience
Hard driveSelf-Belief
Constant FeedbackConstant Commitment
Lots of high talkSilence

So now you might ask what is the difference between the daily routine of a motivation based individual and an inspiration based individual and it’s seriously like chalk and cheese,

Wake to CoffeeWake to coffee
Wish to go back to bedCan’t wait to get into the day
Goes running to lose weightVisualise the future
Reads the news or social mediaReads affirmations
Eats lots of sugarGoes outdoors and takes nature in
Starts to worry about timeHas plenty
Needs more coffeeDrinks a protein smoothy
Starts to look at emailsStarts to look at emails

if you are interested in undertaking this transition and being guided through the skills of moving from motivation to inspiration then please be in touch and will create a coaching program specifically designed to help you move into this most magnificent way of leading your life.

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