Speak to anyone involved in doing something creative for a living, and you are bound to hear a lot about inspiration. Artists. Musicians. Entrepreneurs. Writers. Actors. Inventors. Photographers. Architects. Most will reference muses or sources of inspiration. For some, it is divine inspiration. For others, inspiration comes from nature… the light, the ocean, mountains, or sky. Still others are inspired by people and their stories… a muse or coach. Inspiration is the stimulation from an outside source that spurs a person to special or unusual activity or creativity. But since inspiration comes from outside, it is often out of one’s control. For some, inspiration is like lightning… it strikes and then is gone.
So how does one ‘find’ inspiration? If it is an external source, is it possible to seek inspiration? And can someone set out to inspire another? Is inspiration completely spontaneous, or is it something that can be attained, given or harnessed? Continue reading
Much has been written about both motivation and inspiration. People often use the words ‘motivated’ and ‘inspired’ interchangeably. Yet, the two words are actually not synonymous.
Motivation is when an individual brings his/her own impetus to a job, task or action. According to Websters, it is defined as “the force that drives an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains goal-directed behaviors.” Motivation is rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure. For example, when a person is motivated to do a job well, there is an internal force compelling him/her to optimize their own well-being. What triggers the motivation might be an internal value such as wanting to do a job well or desiring to overcome a challenge, or the trigger may be an external factor such as getting recognition, be promoted, get a raise or earn a bonus. But regardless of whether the trigger comes from within or outside, the motivation to act is a personal force.
Inspiration, on the other hand, is not an internal, personal force. It is a stimulation from an outside source that spurs a person to special or unusual activity or creativity. Inspiration can come from another person that acts like a muse or coach. There is also divine inspiration; a spiritual push or rousing that compels or prompts a person to act.
Although they might lead to the same outcome, what differentiates them has to do with the source. Motivation – even when linked to external forces – ultimately comes from within whereas inspiration comes from outside. Motivation is a personal responsibility while inspiration is the responsibility of others. Let’s start with our own behavior. How does one motivate oneself? Continue reading