Inspiration Over Motivation
I have a simple phrase that I use often when I work out or attack goals, that phrase is “I’m motivated, hydrated and dedicated”. These three words set the tone for what I need to be successful in the present moment at the goal I am attacking, it is pragmatic and obtainable. Despite the realism of my trope, it is nonetheless missing an aspect to it which defies pragmatism all together.
Maybe the words “hydrated” and “dedicated” can offer a level of realism that is necessary to complete goals, however, “motivation” may not be exactly the word I’m looking for in relation to the idea of being mentally stimulated enough to accomplish the goals I set for myself, whether during one hour sessions in the gym or long term aspirations. In fact, the word “aspiration” may hold the key to accomplishing large, long term goals, while “motivation” encompasses only a short term survival state of mind that is more primitive and less effective at completing tasks which require a heightened or expanded state of conscious.
“Aspiring” to reach goals is the external of being “inspired” to reach goals, or the internal. Motivation is a synonym of stimuli, and stimuli is not something that lasts, we are stimulated dozens if not hundreds of times a day to do autonomous things which we are subconsciously programmed in the very fiber of our DNA to accomplish. If we are thirsty, we gain the necessary motivation through stimuli to accomplish the task of getting a drink, and so on and so forth with the rest of our basic instincts woven into our being. When a task is presented, a series of autonomous motions are delivered to every function of the body to determine whether energy should be put forth towards accomplishing the immediate task at hand. When I lift the weight off the bar in the weight room, my only option is to either drop is on my chest or push it back up, my body will use all necessary energy and force to repeatedly ensure that the weight ends up where it came from in order to protect myself, which is why I am motivated to lift the bar back up. On the flip side, if my long term goal is to bench 500 pounds, this does not require motivation, it requires a level of inspiration directed through consciously orchestrated effort to put myself in constant positions to obtain that long term aspiration.
For a long time I was confused, I would often place the ideal of motivation where it didn’t belong and always seemed to forget the spiritual or higher conscious version of motivation, otherwise known as inspiration, all together. Although the two are interwoven in many ways, they are polar opposites as well and represent first half of life thinking versus second half of life thinking. In 2013, my drill sergeant called me aside in our first week in basic training, he wouldn’t look me in the eye and although he was proud, he maintained his facade of disgust for me when he told me that I was among the most motivated individuals he had ever met, and to keep up the good work.
I wish I was capable of deeper critical thinking because from that moment on I was led to believe that it was motivation which made a person stand out, but really I was far more inspired, than motivated, to be in that position. Eventually, when I was asked to speak to classes or rooms full of people who wanted to hear my story, I would touch on the topic of motivation. I told them that most days, most people are not motivated at all, but that fake motivation eventually turns to real motivation. In a diluted sense I understand what I was getting at, the monotonous day to day tasks associated with long term goals are often so trivial they are unbearable and lead a person to be unmotivated, therefor my reasoning was that you must fake motivate your self (fake it till’ you make it). Hyper-ironically, taking my own advice led to my most downward spiral I had ever been on and nearly cost me my life, clearly I was missing a prudent aspect of deeper resonating meaning than just motivation. My pursuit to play college football after the military would eventually teach me that by finding inspiration in what I do, the necessary motivation for the day to day tasks would arrive effortlessly.
What then, is inspiration? and how do we begin to find and acquire its healing properties? According to Google, inspiration is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”
There is a lot to unpack there and the wording is very important, especially compared to motivation, whose definition is “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”
Inspiration holds two key words, and one ironic word, which both separate and connect it to motivation. The first key word is “process” and the second word is “creative”. The word which connects it to motivation is “stimulated”. In being inspired to do something, inspiration draws on the properties of a process which takes place over time, the details of which are found in how we complete the day to day tasks associated with the long term vision we hold. What motivates us, or stimulates us to complete the day to day tasks, is the inspiring long term vision we have. The most important ideal associated with inspiration is having a vivid, detailed, stomach churning and goosebumps worthy vision for yourself. Your vision must invoke an emotional reaction, a physical sensation of how you will feel when you reach that specific point.
Through detrimental social conditioning and an education system that is likened to an industrial revolution factory which slaughters creativity, we have all but lost the ability to dream for ourselves something bigger than we are now, we must return to our child like innocence in order to re-establish our calling. In order to be able to call on this innocence to create our vision, we must be able to be creative, the second word which is connected virtuously to inspiration. Often times we are so bound, so attached and so eager for the outcome, we forget and even ignore the necessary process of creation and creativity. The long term vision you will create for your self will only be issued to you under the condition that each day you move towards it, you create for yourself the necessary opportunities to take advantage of what you envision.
Certainly it is important to hold onto our grandest visions for what we want, and often times on the journey we will get glimpses which are so clear and vivid that it’s as though it is a reminder from God that we are on the right path. Most times it will feel like we’re given a “treat” when taking a glimpse into our future vision for ourselves, a vision for ourselves which is so clear we can feel everything associated with it, the raw emotion and passion included. I have felt this a couple times in my life and each time it is a wonder of positive emotion invoking light and love for my creativity process. I could say I have felt this “only” a couple of times in my life, but I recognize now that many if not most, will never feel it even once.
The majority continue to follow a path which sucks their soul, their drive, their love and wonder for all that is, from them. They never get to feel the all encompassing joy of knowing they are on the right path, one which is truly a blessing. These raw emotions and visions associated with our future self is not kept only for the high class or reserved for those who are hand picked by divine code, rather, they are reserved for those willing to pay the price and allow the facade of reality to dissolve before their eyes as they come to a self-realization and awareness that they are capable of absolutely anything they want simply by focusing on it long enough. Those who refuse to believe this is possible, or ignore the thousands of years of examples including miraculous modern ones, will never feel what those people feel or have felt. Those who do not believe that they can be a product of their highest attainment will spend a lifetime scoffing those who do, and saying that their advice is hearsay. They will play life safe only to end up in the same dirt as the ones who took an all encompassing journey to re-imagine and find “self”. This all encompassing journey is one which yearns for a deeply rooted, inspired and passionate foundation, it is built on a sense of inner peace which is hardly describable in modern lexicon, one which motivation alone simply cannot provide.
Motivation and its definition only explain the necessary action as it is, it doesn’t cover the conscious inspiration or long term vision for ourselves. Motivation is autonomous, and I’ve learned you cannot create it or make more of it, it comes and it goes at the behest of your natural reactions to your environment. Motivation requires little to no conscious thought, it is primitive. Despite this, both inspiration and motivation do remain connected. As we perfect our vision for ourselves and begin to focus our time and energy on our larger, divine vision, as we begin to map out our most ideal future, we begin to re-program the core of our being. Overtime, our subconscious, autonomous motivation pushes us to complete the necessary day to day tasks which leave us closer and closer to the vision we have for ourselves without even realizing it. Your inspiration and the passion involved with the desire to attain the future self which you have imagined, allows your subconscious to take autonomous steps towards completing the necessary day to day hurdles.
As you keep the vision of yourself in the forefront of all that you do and you take one step at a time, you will reach certain milestones which you will step upon and gaze in wonder at how far you have come in a short period of time, a sense of awe and peace will overcome you as you consider your journey which seemingly appeared before your eyes, simply because you had a focused and inspired vision for yourself. It is at these milestones where you will receive reassurance that you are on the right path and be able to, even more clearly, see the future you are creating for yourself with raw emotion injected more and more at each point. Do not get tangled up in the lust of these milestones, it is easy to stay there simply because of how good it feels to gaze at your journey in amazement. Have the courage to take the next step and move ahead, the feeling will only grow more bold and all powerful. The fact that you have reached these points in your journey and pause to reflect is a sign you’re doing it right. The autonomous and subconscious motivations to complete the necessary day to day tasks are being done seemingly without you even realizing it, which is why when you reach these points you stop and stare in amazement in the light of God and the concept of creation as you fill a void in your soul which only a sense of divine inspiration can fill.