iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
GET UPDATES FROM Natasha Dern
 

Inspiration Vs. Motivation

Posted: 03/24/10 03:30 PM ET

Are you currently using motivation or are you allowing inspiration to use you? There is a huge difference between the two and you will know which one is in charge by the way you feel about something. When inspiration is still present, you are naturally motivated and can achieve all things required. But when you resort to using your will to motivate yourself despite the writing on the wall -- you will feel exhausted, worried, and overwhelmed. Be mindful of these two in all areas of your life. Motivation is of the ego and Inspiration is of the soul.

When something has run its course and served its purpose -- the soul begins to withdraw its energy and focus. This process can be confusing. The inspiration felt in the beginning disappears and motivation enters the scene. The soul is the giver of inspiration and it permeates everything that you do -- there is ease and effortless flow. Things feel good and feel right. However, we tend to forget that things are not permanent and believe it will last forever -- so when inspiration is gone we resort to using our will to motivate ourselves.

Culturally we are motivated but not inspired. We live our lives by motivation and wonder why we are so unhappy. Motivation forces us to keep up with others, compete against others, and measure ourselves to others. This kind of living is a testament of a collective who use will or motivation to achieve their ends in life. When they do, they realize they are not better off for it -- misery is still sitting at the dinner table. Despite achieving their objectives, the soul is left unfulfilled and therefore the achievements are not imbued with the soul's light. It all feels empty. Rather than investigating this state of being, they rush off to the next motivational adventure.

Motivation compels us to act, to do, give, expend, push past limits, and push the envelope. Now mind you, we all need to take certain actions in the world to get things done. I am not in any way saying passivity is a good thing - what I am saying is that we need to learn to distinguish between the two. Many of us have been guilty of using motivation when we should've been waiting upon the soul to inspire our course of action. But oh no, we had to keep the momentum going. We weren't willing to just sit and wait for that moment; we have too much to do and no time to waste. This kind of urgency is not really being productive. In fact, its depleting. When motivation is running the show, the very thing that you are so desperate to accomplish becomes distorted in the process. You lose your passion and begin to question if you are doing the right thing or even if you're on the right path. Self doubt creeps in and infects your plans, your intentions, and eventually the outcome.

That's why stepping back before any new undertaking to assess who's in the driver seat is crucial. Be mindful as you embark on a new adventure whether it is love, career, or starting a business. Always remain conscious of how you feel before, during and after. Your feelings will let you know if inspiration or motivation is dictating the execution of your plans. If inspiration is guiding your steps then continue on and be assured that the outcome will be magnificent. If on the other hand, motivation has become your compass then you need to stop, get quiet and wait upon the whisperings of the soul to spur and inspire you on. Living your life from a place of inspiration instead of motivation will enrich you beyond measure.