Motivation or Inspiration?

I talk a lot about the difference between “away-from” and “towards” motivation (see this Motivation blog).  On the whole, motivation “away-from” something you don’t want is an excellent way to get yourself moving, to give yourself a kick in the pants when you are allowing things to drag a little, and it tends to fade the further you get from the undesired state.  And a motivation “towards” something desirable is far more effective for long-term sustainable performance.  So the ideal is to have both, in sequence – “away-from” to get you moving, until the point where it starts to fade, and then “towards” to maintain the momentum as you get close enough to the goal for it to be effective (see the diagram).

Motivation Away then Towards

Motivation Away then Towards

However, what really fires up an entrepreneur and their team to produce outstanding results is not motivation, it is inspiration. Even “towards” motivation tends to be something external – riches, power, fame, maybe even love.  But inspiration runs deeper than that – although it expresses itself in terms of results in the outside world, and it is greater than us as individuals, it comes from within.  It is the very essence of what we are in the world for, and it provides both an internal power source and a reaching out beyond our physical bodies into the infinite being we truly are.

How does inspiration relate to motivation?

Have you ever noticed the way motivation, even “towards” motivation, tends to fade after a while?  That’s why those big charismatic-style events tend to have a limited effect for most people.  They provide short-term impetus, but if that isn’t backed up by something more solid, that’s when it quickly fades.  Where motivation often has elements of guilt and “should” attached, inspiration carries more of an impulsion, like something that you simply cannot choose not to act on.

I was always surprised when I was helping run those big events, how some people would make life-changing shifts and never look back, while others would simply get fired up for a couple of weeks, and then fall back into their old patterns. Now I realise that the people who completely turned their lives around were the ones who either already had a genuine inspiration and lacked the tools to act on it (a very frustrating situation for them), or they experienced a ‘light-bulb moment’ right there at the event, finding their inspiration in some of the exercises or inductions, and also the tools to take action on it.

How to find inspiration – now that’s a whole different question …

About Andrew Horder

Founder of the blog at TheBusyFool.com, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique Focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw
About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of the blog at TheBusyFool.com, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique Focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The Busy Fool's a to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon http://andrewhorder.com/amazon-azlw