5/30/13

Motivation and Inspiration . . .

Easily among the most confusing image (in terms of what
it means or what it should invoke) I've ever seen.
I read this article yesterday about the ten most INSPIRATIONAL books for business folks. Note that I put INSPIRATIONAL in all quotes (Ooops, I Did It Again) as to differentiate from a more typical book of lists for business folks that might contain MOTIVATIONAL books. So here - dear reader - is the question . . . what is the difference between inspiration and motivation?

I am not going to consult the dictionary here (yes, I know I should) but I'm going to venture that inspiration is the catalyst. It is what gets the ball rolling. It is that proverbial first step in the proverbial 1,000 mile journey. It can be a person, place, thing, thought, implication, or pressure/force being exerted. It is the "birth" of action. I'll also presume and argue that motivation is what keeps you going. It is the finish line on the horizon, the pants that almost fit again, the dude that vowed to marry you if you just lost fifteen more pounds (and you should really marry that guy - he's a keeper). It can also be a person, place, thing, or thought but it is more likely an implication, pressure, or force being exerted.

Why am I talking about inspiration versus motivation today? And WHY did I share the above photo? (Seriously, folks, take a minute and check it out and ponder it and then put your best idea of why in the comments below (And to be proactive there is NO right/wrong answer since there is NO reason.)) Simple - at any given moment in your life you are governed by motivations. To be a better (insert religion or following here). To be a better (spouse, parent, friend, family member, car financing co-signer, etc.). To finish what you started. To not pop the buttons of them pants, gurrrl. Whatever. We have a million motivations for a million actions and they are strong and they are insistent and they are, in many cases, the things that define who we are.

But here's the problem - we spend so much time on motivation (my biggest one the last 143 days has been finding a job, not letting my child find out I have no job, not going broke, not having an emotional fit in front of friends and family, not popping the button on them pants, gurrrrl) that we don't bother to look for inspiration. How many things on any given day could inspire us and help us be happier or more dutiful or more successful in following our motivations (to make this super cheesy) if only we paid attention?

So here's the thing - I got inspired yesterday. Truly. I can't tell you what the inspiration is yet or what it means (I need to spend some energy and talk with some stakeholders in my life first) but I will share it as soon as it goes from inspiration (the genesis) to motivation (the driving force) which should be very soon.

In the meantime - please take a few minutes each day (if not hour) to just look around, see and hear and touch and feel and smell and taste life. See what might inspire you. And figure out what the heck is up with that picture up there. It is so odd.