How are they different? Or are they the same? Can they ever be conjoined in their resulting effects?

These two terms are most commonly associated with athletes and sport teams but are at play in all facets of everyday life.

Inspiration is definitely motivating, but I’m not sure motivation can inspire.

Noted motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion. Inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”

Life Coach Ron Prasad commented that “some people seem to mistake motivation for inspiration. They think both words have the same meaning and often use one word for the other.

“So, if you are set to go and exercise,” he continued, “you have to motivate yourself by reminding yourself of the motive for doing exercise. It could be weight loss, fitness, getting fresh air, etc. Whether you use the word ‘motive’ or use the word ‘reason,’ motivation needs to come from that source. Without having a reason or a motive, motivation will be hard to come by.

“Inspiration, on the other hand, is more of a process. You may hear a speaker who inspires you, you may read a book that inspires you, you may hear a song that inspires you, you may meet a person who inspires you, or you may see something that inspires you. Whatever it is that inspires you, it touches you on the inside and connects you to a state of being more excited, productive, purposeful or anything that comes as a result of being inspired.

“The word ‘inspiration’ comes from the late Latin word ‘inspirare,’ which means ‘inspirit’ or ‘divine guidance.’

“So, inspiration is something that you feel on the inside, while motivation is something from the outside that compels you to take action.

“Inspiration is a driving force, while motivation is a pulling force.

“So let’s look at some examples.

“Motivation—I have to raise $500 for my favourite charity. They are in desperate need of funding because they need to get a new computer. To be able to afford the new computer, they need to raise $500 by the end of this month.

“The ‘motive’ here is to make provisions for the new computer. That is the pulling force that is making me raise money for my favorite charity.

“Inspiration—I feel like helping my favourite charity to raise funds. When I am making a contribution towards others, I feel that I am in full alignment with my core values. That creates the essence of being congruent to who I really am.

“The driving force here is to make a contribution towards others because it feels congruent to who I really am on the inside.”


You write the book, the blog, the brochure to raise your profile so you can sell more stuff, serve more people. You compose and package your thoughts. A 1000-words-a-day until you’ve crossed the finish line.

All fine reasons.


I have something to say that needs to be heard. When I write I feel bigger, freer, like God is using me well.

We seem to need motivation to get stuff done. Typically, there’s a lot of ‘measuring’ that happens in the realm of motivation. Check lists and goal posts and markers and such. There is often a fear of loss involved. We are on duty. All perfectly natural.

But beyond finish lines and well done is a different call: Inspiration.

It is magnetic and progressive; its reasoning cannot always be reasoned—I just gotta do it. It busts you outta shouldsville into the unfenced field of freedom and possibility.

Inspiration is a completely different force of creativity.

Can Inspiration Lead to Motivation

I joined the Valley of the Sun Electric League in January of 1961 as the Promotions Director. One of my first assignments was to provide staff assistance for the newly-formed Manufacturer’s Rep Division.

At our first meeting, the members all agreed they wanted to put on a trade show and they wanted to do it the next February.

I convinced them we should wait and use the two years to do all the planning necessary to do it right. The two years would also give me time to learn more about what I needed to do to plan and execute the project properly.

My previous experience at an ad agency in NYC was planning the promotion for a consumer show called “Building Your Home 1954.” I had no role in putting the show together, but I was fascinated by it and hung around a lot.

The show featured a modular home, called the Tech-Built House, with surrounding exhibits in an old Army facility. The show looked good and had a lot to offer. Our subway ads won art awards but were all we could do on a meager ad budget and the result was very small attendance.

The lesson I learned was that it could all look pretty but the bottom line was getting people in the door.

It became my inspiration to learn more and do more in the trade show arena.

The 1963 Electrical Products Roundup was a great success and my motivation became stronger and helped launch a major part of my future career.

Some Inspiring Thoughts

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napolean Hill

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. –Michael Jordan

We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. –Babe Ruth

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