A friend has recently asked me: “What inspires you?”. I kept putting the question off. Frankly, I don’t have an answer. Here, I come to my keyboard, trying to find one.
I asked Google: what is inspiration? “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative” it said. What a beautiful definition. Keyword here is stimulation. What is stimulation, I asked. “The action of arousing interest, enthusiasm, or excitement in something”, Google answered. What a beautiful definition! So in essence, inspiration is the process that gets you to become mentally aroused and excited to take action.
When she asked me, I felt that I have mixed up the definition of inspiration and motivation, so what is motivation? “A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way”, Google strikes again. I can see why I have mixed up those definitions now, for there is quite a thin line. But putting these two definitions next to each other, it seems to me that inspiration is a process that leads to motivation. Therefore, the answer to what inspires you, and what motivates you might sound very similar, if not the same. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something gives you the reason or reasons for doing that thing. Inspiration gives you motivation. Hence, what inspires you is what motivates you.
I’m still not convinced. It’s still not clear to me. What is the difference between motivation and inspiration? Google answered me this time with this brilliant article that lit a bulb in my head. “Inspiration is a driving force, while motivation is a pulling force”, the author said. How beautiful! It makes so much sense. Motivation is what will get you out of bed to go to the GYM because of that motive you have of bettering your health. It’s a pulling force. Inspiration is what will not let you sleep as it completely takes over you and makes you forget everything else. It’s a driving force.
“Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.” Dr Wayne Dyer
Fuck. I love this. It’s so beneficial to know the difference between the semantics, for it may open up new horizons in how you think of each.
So, what inspires me? And motivates me?
Knowledge. That’s the first thing that came to mind, as I remembered these moments (like the one I’m in at the time of writing this) of complete isolation, as I care less about my surroundings and environment, and double down on this intriguing idea or thought that’s tickling my brain. I zone out. I’m driven by my hunger for knowledge, and crave to express my feelings and thoughts about that knowledge. That drives me, and takes control of me.
P.S. Music helps a ton in the isolation of my surroundings. But it only works when I’m in one of these states, as I don’t focus on the beats or the lyrics. It’s rather my favorite background noise that plays as my brain-cells work out.
People. That’s the first thing that came to mind: relating to social phenomena that tingle my soul and make me feel good. The crave for these social phenomena is my motive, even if I sometimes consciously choose to deny that. I believe that we humans naturally crave acceptance, and in some cases attention. The feeling of being part of a bigger system. One that reacts positively and rewards your accomplishments. Not many of us would bother workout and look in great shape, if people would react negatively to such looks/behavior? That definitely is never the only factor motivating me to do something, but it certainly is a strong subconscious one.
Of course, there are other things that inspire and/or motivate me, but that’s what came to mind first.
What’s inspires you? What’s motivates you?