- Motivation—the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to act. (Dictionary.com)
- Inspiration—the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. (Dictionary.com)
Most people use the words motivation and inspiration as interchangeable concepts when trying to express something to the outside world.
Looking at the definition of motivation identifies it as something that comes from within.
You have to ‘act’ upon what’s motivating you for it to become manifested and seen by others. There are many times when I see the words ‘motivational speaker’ and wonder exactly what that truly means. It implies someone can provide a series of words that will suddenly motivate others. Sure, hearing someone speak can generate a spark, idea or urge to go do something great. But did that motivational speech give you motivation? I’m sure in the short-term you may find a way to act on the concepts you hear. The internal motivation must already be there for you to sustain this level of action.
Now, contrast the definition of inspiration as being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.
This identifies the concept of inspiration can be ‘provided’ directly to another person if they are ready to receive and have the internal motivation to act. Again, contrast the motivational speaker versus the inspirational speaker. The inspirational speaker can provide a level of mental stimulation on a subject (leadership, mentoring, goal-setting, etc.) and then walk away from their audience knowing the seeds have been planted. It’s now up to the individuals who heard the inspirational speaker to decide to act or not.
Why contrast these two terms? Well, I view myself from the inspirational concept. Blog topics, emails, direct conversations with me are designed to provide inspiration to everyone I contact. I cannot give anyone the internal motivation to act but can provide a platform to generate the inspiration needed to create an action plan to walk into the future. I view my workshops, podcast contributions and conversations as inspiration to others. Some branches of my tree will act on these things and others may not—totally up to them but I’ve done my part.
The biggest thing I want to do daily is make a difference in the world. I do this by continuing to inspire my tree to grow daily and then reach back and help others.
So, what did you decided? Are you motivated or inspired? Curious to hear your thoughts!