Are you running towards something or away from something?
Are you chasing the carrot or avoiding the stick?
Are you driven by motivation or inspiration?
Most people wouldn’t take the time to distinguish between these two approaches, but I think it’s one of the critical, missing pieces in behavior change. If you want to change a pattern of behavior in your life, you must understand the difference between motivation and inspiration.
Motivation is the reason that someone acts in a certain way. It’s logical.
Inspiration, on the other hand, is the stimulation to act in the first place. It’s visceral.
When you are motivated to do something, you do it because it gets you something. It’s generally a means to an end. You are “motivated” to go the gym everyday to get in shape. You are “motivated” to make healthy choices at lunch time so you can avoid the afternoon lull. You are “motivated” to get to bed early so that you don’t feel like crap when your alarm goes off at 5 am. These are conscious, tactical decisions.
However, when you are inspired to do something, you can’t not do it. You are so lit up and so turned on that nothing can stop you. You are compelled to create or to complete something. You couldn’t stop the inspiration train if you tried. Inspired action is unstoppable action.
And, here’s the thing: Inspiration trumps motivation...every...single...time.
Here’s why: Motivation is usually borne out of fear whereas inspiration is usually borne out of desire. Fear is motivating; desire is inspiring.
As a result, motivation is generally a “push” energy whereas inspiration is a “pull” energy. Motivation moves you away from something; inspiration moves you towards something. And, moving towards something is infinitely more powerful than moving away from something.
The takeaway is this: Focus on what you DO want (desire), not what you DON’T want (fear).
When it comes to losing weight, focus on what you desire to feel when you have that rockin’ body (not what will happen if you never get in shape).
When it comes to falling in love, focus on what you desire to feel when you are in your lover’s arms (not what will happen if you never find true love).
When it comes to making a baby, focus on what you desire to feel when you hold your baby for the first time (not what will happen if you can never get pregnant).
Desire is more powerful than fear. And besides that, if we are focusing all of our attention of what we don’t want, then we manifest more of what we don’t want (basic Law of Attraction principle, people).
So, now that we know what to do, let’s start by identifying your desires. What do you want in your life right now? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? You get to choose.
If this is new territory for you, I’d encourage you to check out Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map for a step-by-step guide to this process. It’s well worth it.