Motivation and inspiration are the words that we tend to use interchangeably in our communication with ourselves and others. When we are able to differentiate these words we are able to better question and understand ourselves and the decisions we make.
The Latin root of the word motivation is movere, which means to move and would include synonyms like stimulation, impulse, inducement. Through its definition, it implies that there is an external force pushing you toward an action. While this can be helpful at times when we need to get our butts kicked to start something, it certainly will not keep us moving consistently to meet our commitments. This is why the external factor, motivation can lead to burn-out and self-defeating commitments. We also instantly gratify our animal nature, leading to satiation, addiction and decreased levels of self-worth. Motivation is therefore a temporary change.
The Latin root of the word Inspiration stems from spirare, which means to breathe. The original use of this Latin term was in relation to a divine calling. If we study the word structure of “inspiration”, we can easily see the prefix, “in” and the root word, “spirit”. Further morphological deduction suggests that one takes action to perform a particular task from within rather than from without. When we live through inspiration, we are balanced and poised, we have an internal force at play as we are on track within ourselves. We remain steady no matter the circumstances and see all occurrences as feedback mechanisms. We also elevate our self-worth and make our long-term goals sustainable.
In a nutshell, motivation is someone telling you to do something that is important to them but not of importance to you. Inspiration, on the other hand, is a calling from within you to act upon doing something of importance to you. This action is in accordance with your values and your purpose. No one needs a reminder to do the things they truly love. A kid who loves video games does not need a reminder to play games. A mother who values her children does not need a reminder to look after her children.
Your values are things that you perceive that are most important to you; not things that only give you pleasure or pain. When you pursue your life’s mission, you embrace both support and challenge, you integrate both pleasure and pain. Creating an awareness of what is important to you is one of the first steps to living a life of fulfilment.
The Ancient Greeks had an aphorism, “Know Thyself, Be Thyself, Love Thyself”. To know thyself, is to have an awareness of what your priorities are. To be thyself, is to act on your awareness of what is important to you. And when you act on what is important to you, you have fulfilment (loving yourself).
Your values inspire you and anything out of your values requires motivation.
Bring this into your reality and start to feel and see the difference in your life!