Motivation Vs Inspiration: Why We Need Both

Sustained Action

Most people already know how important it is to take action if you want to achieve something – it’s a major key to success. But what rarely gets enough attention is the concept of sustained action, or in particular how important your mindset is when it comes to sustaining action long term.

Consistency and persistence are qualities most people are not born with. You have to develop these traits, especially if you want to master a skill that gives you a sustained advantage. We are all emotional creatures and that unfortunately means we experience just as many downs as we do ups. In fact we might experience more downs than ups, depending on our circumstances and genetic makeup.

If you have ever read positive psychology from researchers like Martin Seligman you will come across the potentially bad news that not everyone is wired to be positive by nature. Rather, you will fall somewhere on a scale, with extremely positive at one end, and extremely negative on the other. This is simply a matter of genetic lottery, just like your tendency to be more extroverted or introverted. What you do from there of course is up to you, and based heavily on your mindset.

Peaks & Troughs

We all know what it’s like to feel a burst of motivation and then take that energy and translate it into work. The problem that arises is we don’t always feel motivated. Motivation ebbs and flows, often decreasing when we don’t feel happy, or when we face setbacks. Our physiological state also impacts our motivation, as do our results.

If we’re feeling fit and healthy, we’re not overly stressed out, we have a good social and family life, and we’ve gotten enough sleep, our physiological state will generally be pretty good! And when you can see the fruits of your labour, like getting grades in school, then you’ll be even more primed to keep up the good work.

If however the opposite occurs and you’re feeling stressed, hungry, tired, unhealthy and socially outcast then you’re likely to feel pretty low. Worse still, if you start getting poor grades or negative feedback, it’s likely that your emotional state will depress and you’ll feel like giving up. That’s only natural isn’t it? It’s pretty hard to feel good about these things!

One Step Per Day

One of the most important keys to success in life and in your schooling is to learn how to turn short term action into sustained long term repeated actions. We all know that to achieve big things you need to drill things down into the steps necessary to get there. When you know your big picture and you have a roadmap, the formula to reach your destination is just one step per day. How do you get from one side of the country to the other side? Simple – one mile at a time. Don’t you? You have a big picture goal and lots of little achievements are necessary to get there. You don’t take one step and all of a sudden you’ve made it!

Sustained action executing the right techniques, which follow the right strategy, leads you to achieving your vision. If you are focused enough to pick one strategy and follow it, the only remaining roadblock to your success is you. So you see that it’s your ability to execute day in and day out that matters more than anything else.

Most people fail because of lack of execution, not lack of knowledge of what needs to be executed.

If you drill that down further, there is an emotional or psychological or physiological reason that kills execution. You lose motivation and you don’t get the work done. It’s as simple as that.

What’s The Difference?

Inspiration is more spiritual than motivation because it comes from a powerful source. Something more sustained and divine, something that comes from a place greater than the person. It’s really a desire for change – big or small. Motivation, while still powerful, is often tied to a certain event, or timeframe or set of circumstances. It’s more physical, rooted in the present moment.

It’s the difference between going to school each day because you want to get your high school diploma, versus an unwavering desire to get into the College course of your dreams because you want to learn how to start and run a business that will change the world. These are both ambitions – but they are on very different levels.

Many people want to make sure they get their high school diploma so they can get a job to get money to survive. The student who wants a specific College course wants this to, but their source of motivation to act each day comes from a much more inspirational place. They want to influence other people in a positive way – it’s a passion. It’s pretty easy to see which desire would last longer. Being inspired carries you through the ups and downs. It gives you the power to stay the course even when it’s rocky.

What Inspires You?

When you hear a story of someone who is just like you and who was in a similar situation to where you are now, and then hear what they achieved and how they achieved it, you start to believe that anything is possible for you. This belief makes you see things for yourself you may never have considered before. Things like getting into College, never needing a job, even becoming a millionaire, or the possibility of creating something that has a massive positive impact on thousands — even millions of people. These things are all possible. But they require a motivation and inspiration to be achieved. They require sustained action at a pace of one step per day. We all have unlimited potential regardless of our circumstances. What you believe is possible for you is all that truly matters. So, the only question that remains is what’s possible for you?