The Difference Between Motivation And Inspiration & How To Use It To Your Advantage

In the early days of my exploration into personal growth, I attended several Success Rallies. These events packed thousands of people into auditoriums to hear a parade of the hottest motivational speakers. There was a great deal of whooping, hollering and evangelistic fervor as the audiences were instructed to get rich, make it big, set the world on fire.

For many participants, this fervor lasted until they got to their cars to drive home.

Although it was a fairly pleasant experience, there wasn’t much substance or lasting benefit because these rallies were nothing more than junk food for the soul.

Eventually, I discovered that there was a way to create a bigger life, but it bore little resemblance to the messages and methods shared by motivational speakers. The power to create, I learned, comes from inspiration.

Although motivation and inspiration are often thought of as identical twins, they are quite different phenomena.

Motivation is often noisy, where inspiration may be quiet.

Motivation has a short shelf life; inspiration is there for the long term.


Inspiration whets our appetite, renews our sense of wonder, urges us to find out for ourselves. While inspiration is vital to the creative process, each of us finds it in a different way.

Knowing what inspires you, what triggers your creative thinking, is essential, of course, but there’s more to it than that. Inspiration waits for a welcome.

Thinking small, busyness, mindless routine and not valuing our ideas are some of the ways to keep inspiration away.

Inspiration prefers to work with the willing.

For over a quarter century, Steve Wynn has made a dramatic impact on the hotel business in Las Vegas. Like the work of any artist, you can see his evolution by looking at his work in chronological order. Each hotel is a bit more interesting than the previous one.

What keeps him inspired? “These places I build and life are an exercise,” Wynn says. “You’re always testing your potential. If you’re a true student of what you’re doing and a lover of your business activity, then you study what you’ve done to understand what you could have done better.”

Wynn also also acknowledges that he finds inspiration by traveling, going to the theater, listening to creative folks around him. He uses these as springboards for creating places that people find inspiring.

As I frequently remind myself, inspiration isn’t vaccination. We don’t get it once and we’re covered. Fortunately, it is also a renewable resource. Having identified what inspires us, we need to stay in contact.

Our work space is a worthy place to begin. Whether you work in a studio, a rented office or a card table set up in a corner of your bedroom, efficiency is only one of the

Your working space needs to be inviting, a place where you function easily surrounded by things you love and find inspiring.

So take a look around. Does your office reflect your power and vision – or does it resemble a junk room with a desk? Are there objects, pictures and words that lift your spirit? Is it easy to find things or do you waste precious time going through piles of papers?

As Steven Pressfield points out, a professional seeks order. “He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.”

Does entering your office make you smile? It should, you know. This is your laboratory, your creation center, your idea place.

So listen to Vivaldi, light some incense, get a fountain, paint the walls terracotta, hang a poster from your favorite movie, or decorate with whatever brings you joy. It’s a one-of-a-kind creation and you’re the beneficiary. Make it both beautiful and useful.

It all comes down to this: inspired entrepreneurs create inspiring businesses that inspire those who interact with them. Whether you’re cutting hair or writing articles or raising alpacas, business offers an opportunity every single day to awaken, delight and inspire.

Are you willing?

Barbara Winter is a writer and teacher who thinks hanging out with inspired entrepreneurs is as much fun as visiting a museum.

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