Inspiration and motivation often get confused and lumped together, and while they are both significant, it is important to know the difference and to understand why inspiration matters.
The main difference is likely that motivation is something that personally pushes you to accomplish a task, or work through a difficult event, even when you would rather be doing something else. You will get motivated by a result. However, inspiration pulls you towards something that stirs your heart, mind, or spirit. You can be inspired by a person, an event, or a circumstance. When you are inspired, you aren’t thinking about the end state. In fact, when you are filled with inspiration, you simply want to hold onto that amazing feeling for as long as possible.
In these moments of inspiration, you often don’t need external motivation to move forward. The feeling of purpose and meaning is enough to propel you.
People seek out inspiration, it’s important to them – I know it is important to me as a writer – and sometimes it can be hard to find it. Tying into this need, the third most popular TED talk ever is the 2009 TED talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek which has been viewed more than 28 million times. The talk is based on the fact that when workers are inspired, they create both stronger companies and stronger economies. Sinek states that when people become more inspired at work, it creates a positive ripple effect on those around them. Just the fact that this talk has had so many unique views affirms that this message clearly resonated and that many people are indeed seeking out inspiration.
Sport has a lot of inspirational moments which people watch over and over again, take, for example, the 2019: First Canadian NBA champions or Sir Roger Bannister who ran the 4-minute mile in 1954, something nobody had thought could be done. Sir Roger ran it in a time of 3:59.4 on that historic day, and from that moment on, everyone believed that “It CAN be done.” Only 46 days later, Sir Roger’s record was broken, and to this day, over 1400 runners have run a sub-4-minute mile.
We live in a time where people are often obsessed with measuring things, yet the power of inspiration is too often overlooked. Inspiration is not only one of the most powerful intrinsic motivators, but also a springboard for creativity, innovation, and growth. Despite its (often) elusive nature, its influence is far-reaching for individuals, teams, and organisations and the results, in turn, can be very tangible.
Inspiration has the ability to change the course of history, yet it isn’t something that you can just make yourself feel. That said, if you are feeling lost and uninspired, remember that inspiration can come at any time and from anywhere, just look around you and notice the good things in life with a generous dose of gratitude, and you’ll find it. Stop the limiting beliefs and know that ‘you can do it.’
Changing your mindset and believing will invite inspiration to follow and propel you forward.