The people who choose to take their dreams and make them real will always inspire the rest of the world for a variety of reasons. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to go after what you want in life. The commitment to moving forward, picking yourself back up, and always striving to grow is extraordinary in itself. It shouldn’t be underestimated.Michael Bright.
How I found inspiration
When I was studying through high school, I was having quite a tough time. I had a lot to do, and I wanted more from life than the common everyday grind. Sometimes, I got so distracted and tired, I’d lose sight of my ultimate goal.
I can clearly remember in those moments of low energy, I would go to youtube, TEDx talks, documentaries, interviews of extraordinarily achieving people… Seeing what those people made out of their lives got me so pumped I’d immediately get an energy refill and get back to work to slay. So inspiring…
Inspiring and inspirational, what’s the difference
I’ve been told several times — by different people, in different situations and contexts —, that I’m inspiring… Being inspiring seems to make people energized and happy — I know inspiration makes me energized —, so I wanted to do more of it. The problem was, I had no idea whatsoever how I do it. I thought being inspiring is something you deliberately do, but no. That’s inspirational (no pun intended).
The difference between inspiring and inspirational is that ‘inspiring’ talks more about the effect it has on the person inspired by it, while ‘inspirational’ is more about the intent behind it. An inspiring speech is one that people are inspired by, whether or not it was intended to be.
Apparently, I’m inspiring, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Great.
From what I understand, you can’t be deliberately inspiring because it’s not yours to decide. If you’re inspiring or not, it depends on the person on the receiving end. When you try to be inspiring, you automatically become inspirational… and if the person you aim your inspirational act upon is actually inspired, then you become inspiring. If not, you remain inspirational.
But what does being inspiring actually mean?
I found an article — which I’ll use as a reference — , on entrepreneur.com website. The author described motivation as a pushing force and inspiration as a pulling force. While the article is not completely wrong, I believe it has some facts misplaced.
We frequently misuse the words inspiration and motivation, because of similarities in meaning, as we rarely really look into the true meaning of most of the words we use on daily basis. The explanation of inspiration given in the article, I’d say, is merely an explanation of “motivation done well,” sprinkled with an idea of what inspiration truly means.
According to the article, motivation comes from the outside and inspiration comes from the inside. How then, can a manager inspire you, if inspiration comes from the inside of the person inspired?
Let’s look into some dictionary definitions.
The act of providing a reason to act in a certain way:
Clearly, the company’s long-term motivation is profit.
Here, the reason for the company to keep grinding is to make profits.
The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative:
Helen had one of her flashes of inspiration.
This time, the flash might be to start a business. Whatever made Helen get that flash, inspired Helen to become [more] consciously aware of what she’d like to do next: start a business. The reason (to make money, solve a problem, etc.) she did what she realized she wanted to do next (start a business), is what motivated her to actually do it.
As you can see, both inspiration and motivation come from the outside but they have effects that are so closely related that they are regularly misplaced in interpretation. Inspiration is what makes you want to take a certain step; motivation is the reason you actually take the step. Inspiration is emotional (makes you want to do it), motivation is rational (gives you a reason or reasons to do it.)
To inspire someone is to fill the person with the urge to do something, to take a step towards a certain direction. To motivate someone is to give the person a reason or reasons to keep going in that direction. One can not work without the other.
Being inspirational is the deliberate act of inducing inspiration. Being inspiring comes from someone recognizing they received inspiration from you.
How can you be inspiring, then, if it doesn’t depend on you?
How to be inspiring
Being inspiring is not something you can deliberately do, but if you live your life a certain way, people will find inspiration in you.
If you choose to make your dreams real, you will become an inspiration to yourself and to the rest of the world. Live your life the way you want, break limits, and other people will follow in your footsteps. The benefits of living your true life will become the reason (motivation) for other people to keep going even in moments of uncertainty and during dark days. In you, they will see light at the end of the tunnel.
Can you do this?