Inspiration vs. Motivation

I woke up at 2:00am this morning and was wide awake. Why? Maybe because I’ve been going to bed 8pm for the past few nights and for the last several years I have survived on 5-6 hours of sleep. Maybe it was also because of the Mefloquin I’ve been taking to prevent malaria, which gives me terrible nightmares. But hey, I’d rather have nightmares than malaria. Anyways, I started thinking because that is what I do when I wake up in the middle of the night and I try to connect the dots of my life. One thought leads to another, which leads to another and the next one and eventually I am fast asleep. Usually these thoughts are about words and what words really mean. Yes, I have picked up quite the passion for etymology; aka the derivation and origin of words. If you don’t know about this, it is actually really interesting to read into and think about. Yes, I am a language nerd. This time, I began thinking about what the word motivation means and why people are so “hung up” on the act of being motivating. Whether it’s being motivated by an extrinsic force, motivating another human, or listening to (I can’t even say this with a straight face) a “motivational” speaker and miraculously having their lives changed by this so called “speaker.” Lord have mercy. When did this craze even begin? When I say motivational speaker, I’m talking about the motivational speakers that people pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars to go see for a workshop or seminar just to be told that their life sucks and that it needs to change. Don’t get me wrong, I have had amazing conversations with people; REAL conversations that have definitely INSPIRED me to make a change, and all were free and came right from within. But paying to listen to a speaker? What is wrong with the picture here? An hour later, I was still hung up on this thought and found an article on this exact topic because apparently, there are other people who think the same way I do about this.

If you don’t have time to read it, here’s a little summary: Basically, motivation is a force acting on a person to initiate behavior. The word is derived from the Latin term motivus; a moving cause. Moving is an external stimulus, therefore motivation is from the outside. Hm, so this made me think, what is the opposite of motivation? Words, words, words. Think, think, think. Ahhah! Outside vs. inside. Bam: INSPIRATION.

“Inspiration is from within. It is not external. It’s not characterized by euphoria. Instead, it is a constant nudge that can drive you all day without a lick of lactic acid”

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 6.00.34 PMInspiration even has the word in right in it. So what those so called “motivational speakers” are doing for you is providing you with an external stimulus to make a move, or to say it better, an illusion. If you are forced to make a move and it is nothing powered by something from within, you will lose that feeling of motivation and go right back to the same cycle you were originally in. Find that passion, what makes you happy and what makes you smile; regardless of what others think. Otherwise, you will be in the hamster wheel of life, wondering why nothing is changing. So when you post that “motivationmonday” hashtag on instagram, think about it, is it truly from within, or is it just an illusion?

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