Merriam-Webster defines inspiration as follows: “Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create.”
Here’s what it says for motivation: “The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.”
Even though inspiration and motivation are expected to mean the same thing, it is vital to know and believe that there are some crucial distinctions. The subtle difference between the words can make a difference in leading people.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is a psychological concept described as a stimulus or force that compels people to take action. It is something that persuades people to behave and act a certain way. It is also defined as the process of giving a reason to someone to do or achieve something.
Motivation compels us to set our goals based on what we feel we should be doing. It involves diverse forces such as psychological, biological, social, etc., that intensify one’s emotions like needs, desires, hopes, stimulating them to take any action which will result in the achievement of a short-term goal. Motivation occurs when someone else persuades, entices, or coerces you into doing something.
What is Inspiration?
Inspiration refers to an influencing or arousing process that stimulates people mentally and emotionally to do something creative or extraordinary. When someone wants to do something different, the desire to do it comes from within. The urge is based on the value system, beliefs, life experiences, preferences, imaginations, aspirations, etc., that makes us feel better if we do or achieve it. Inspiration is entirely self–generated and comes from within. It results in a feeling of excitement and well-being and a desire to get into action immediately.
In inspiration, you truly want something for which you have an enduring desire to achieve; you are continually interested and committed to having it, making time for it, and making it your priority. It is a spontaneous impulse and leads to the achievement of long-term goals.
Inspiration is more about a person reaching a point of wanting to act, whereas motivation is more about giving people reasons to work.
Difference between Motivation and Inspiration
There is a need for both inspiration and motivation. But to lead effectively, knowing the difference makes a tremendous difference.
Motivation refers to a process of stimulating someone to act in a definite way to achieve a goal.
Inspiration is defined as an act of influencing people mentally and emotionally to do something creative.
There is a sense of resistance and competitiveness in motivation.
Inspiration has a sense of excitement and effortlessness.
Motivation is often related to accomplishing a task or something for our own sake. It stems from our perception of the outer world.
Inspiration leans toward creating things and impacting other people.
It stems from our personality and mentality.
Motivation is a deliberate or planned instinct to take a step.
In the case of inspiration, that impulse is spontaneous.
Motivation is short lived, i.e. suppose you attend a seminar of a great personality, after which you feel excited to do something, but after a specific period of a couple of weeks or days then the urge will start declining.
Inspiration is enduring in nature, that resides in us and makes us committed until we attain the goal.
Motivation comes from external factors. These can be extrinsic, such as rewards or social status, or intrinsic, such as our stubbornness to solve tough problems that we see as a challenge and push ourselves over our limits.
Inspiration, however, comes from within a person. Inspiration is only evoked when we resonate with an idea on our inner, personal level.
Motivation is considered an intrinsic scientific phenomenon.
Inspiration is considered an ‘artistic’ social construct that is not much researched from a scientific point of view.
We are motivated to succeed in numerous ways for nothing other than our personal satisfaction.
We are inspired to succeed when we know that success has broader, more meaningful repercussions.
We are motivated to work so we can pay our bills.
We are inspired to work so we can create something that affects others’ lives positively.
We are motivated to win a competition for a prize or the sake of winning.
We are inspired to win a competition by thinking how that victory might resonate with others.
Motivation is raising a particular amount of money for a charity before the end of the month so that they can buy a particular piece of equipment.
Inspiration is raising money for a charity because it makes you feel good about yourself and inspires others to make contributions and help others.
Becoming a good doctor so that you can earn money and respect.
Becoming a good doctor so that you can help others and inspire people around you to perform well.
It is clear that these two are very different, but this doesn’t mean that one is ahead of the another. Their relevance can be examined only at the time of need
To motivate someone means to push them to do something, whereas inspiring someone means to pull them into something. By this definition, motivating would be a lot easier. It would entail telling someone what to do and why they should do it.
Inspiring someone takes a lot more work. You would have to figure out what drives someone internally and pull that out of them to inspire action. We may need motivation to get things done sometimes, but inspiration will spur us to make this world a better place.
Facts don’t inspire people to action, but feelings do. Motivating people with information will only go so far, you have to engage people’s deeper motivations.
Read on to know where does motivation come from.