Gunjan Ghimire

spoken word artist, Spoken Word Nepal

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What is more important: inspiration or motivation?

There are lot of people who are an inspiration. Motivation on the other hand is achieved when you journey through yourself. Inspiration can even come out of a plastic bottle but motivation can only come out of self analysis.

So, what is bigger factor for success? Motivation or Inspiration? Can motivation come from the outside? Can motivation exist without inspiration or can inspiration exist without motivation?

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    Oct 11 2013: The problem with motivation and inspiration is that they are not long-term states. Along with motivation and inspiration we should consider dedication.

    A dedicated individual will persist past points where motivation or inspiration is lacking.
    • Oct 12 2013: You said it my man. It made me chuckle after reading it.
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    Oct 14 2013: It is so good to listen to such diverse takes but similar views on the idea.
    I think my decision to be active on TED community was wise.
    Perfect example of motivation, inspiration and perspiration working together. :)
  • Oct 11 2013: It is difficult to quantify such things; rarely does one exist without the other. However, if I had to chose, if I was forced. I believe that it is motivation that keeps one focused on the end state. Motivation keeps us going when the work truly becomes hard. Inspiration is the spark that sets one on the path, it is fleeting at best and as inspired as one maybe in the end, if there is no motivation to finish then what was the inspiration for? As an artist I look to my inspirations to give me that spark, the send off if you will. However, it is my motivation the drives me to completion. As a Sergeant in the Army, Inspiration will rally my Soldiers to the cause, but motivation keeps them fighting when the bullets start flying.
    Motivation can come for the outside, as a leader I motivate my soldiers to complete the mission. It is partly how the Army defines leadership. Leaders provide direction, purpose and motivation. However I have found that without some kind of internal motivation no amount of prodding or coercion will make an unmotivated Soldier perform any task. At some level motivation must come from within the individual.
    I think to sum up the last part of your question I would have to say that inspiration can exist without motivation. One can be inspired, but never act on it. In that sense he or she lacks motivation. On the other hand one can be motivated to do something but not know what it is they wish to do. I have heard many people say “I want to do something, but I don’t know what. Just something.” Is this motivation without inspiration or is it simply a drive to be productive out of boredom? However, one cannot motivate themselves into inspiration. Trust me I have tried. As much as I wish for inspiration to strike while I sit in front of a canvas with wet paints in hand or at my computer looking at the heading “chapter 2”, my genius chooses its own time to grace me its presents.Inspiration is spontaneous and unpredictable striking like lighting.
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      Oct 13 2013: Interesting James, just to put it into perspective, motivation is more on the outside while inspiration finds its roots deep within your heart. Yes you can motivate people into doing something but that doesn't show them how. They know what to do but they don't know how to do it. Motivation just tickles you into doing something while inspiration gives you the tools and the know-how to successfully achieve your endeavor.

      For more on this please see the comment I posted, it's somewhere top of the page.

      Interesting topic indeed..
  • Oct 15 2013: I think that the two are connected and cannot be separated. They both play large parts in success. Inspiration often comes from outside influences and that influence leads to motivation (the call to action). When you are inspired by something/someone, that inspiration will drive you to do better or be better. That drive is then carried over into motivation which is the desire to do something or change. However, I believe that inspiration can come from self analysis and reflection. When reflecting and looking back at your life or decisions, there are points where you overcame an obstacle or impressed yourself in personal situations or professional situations. These moments can serve as inspiration for your own growth and your own journey of success. I think they are meant to co-exist because they follow a pattern that ultimately leads to success.
    • Oct 15 2013: So tru; I think that one cannot effectively exist without the other. Inspiration is the idea and motivation is what propels a person to bring that idea to fruition.
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    Oct 13 2013: I think it was Einstein who said something along the lines of "Success = 1% inspirations + 99% hard work" ... but to maintain levels of hard work to achieve the vision sparked by the inspiration or the desired outcome one needs to be focused and persistent, and I think these are determined by ones emotional endurance.
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    Oct 13 2013: We really need to understand the meaning of the word "inspire," to inspire simply means to "fill up," "to charge up," "to equip," and "to empower." So inspiration has to do with what you feel deep within your heart, when you are inspired you are charged up, equipped and empowered from within. This is the real you coming to life here, you cannot forge inspiration because it is something from within you and nothing surpasses this. When a man is fully inspired, nothing can stop him in his feat, why? Because it is what gives him passion and fulfillment in life, it is what brings him to life, real life. One example, When the Master (Jesus) breathed to his disciples (John 20:22), he was inspiring, empowering them to go and be themselves fully doing what they were filled up to do effectively. Now we all know what they did after that, it was because they were most inspired and it was natural for them to do all the great feats that they did.

    Motivation on the other hand is just really the tender stage of inspiration; when fully applied it leads to inspiration. Usually we begin at motivation in order to go to inspiration, so a man has to be motivated first in order to be inspired, or simply put, motivation is a precursor for inspiration. Motivation just stirs your hunger or your thirst up and pushes you to quench that thirst and when you decide to quench that thirst, that's when you start embarking on a journey of inspiration. Needless to say, inspiration far supersedes motivation...motivation is for babes while inspiration is for the matured. You can't change the world with motivation only but with inspiration it has been transformed for the better and we have history to attest to that with a number of great men and women who through inspiring people went on to achieve the unthinkable. I will not follow a man who only motivates me but I will definitely believe in the one who empowers me through inspiration because that one not only tells me what to do but shows me how.
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      Oct 13 2013: I really liked your answer and your description of "Inspiration" vs "Motivation". The only thing I disagreed is the part when you say "Motivation is for babies while inspiration is for the matured.", I think everyone needs both of them on any part of their life, because someone who's already inspired will always be uninspired at any point of his/her life, and that's where motivation takes part.
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    Oct 13 2013: Reading all the answers here. I got this conclusion.
    Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic but wherever it may originate, it will need perspiration to quantify into success.
    Motivation and Inspiration can and will be only temporary. Persistence however will be the most important factor if we were to define any activity. But if we were to talk about idea alone, motivation would be the most important because it promotes perspiration on a deeper level compared to inspiration.
    This is what I got. Thank You everyone for your answers. I hope I will try to understand it even further.
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    Oct 12 2013: I feel motivation about my “retirement work” when helping others.
    Inspiration gives me my ideas.Meteorically speaking, the old saying goes like this:
    Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day.
    Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a life time.
    My addition to this old saying is:
    “Teach a person how to teach fishing and you feed the world forever.”

    The fish metaphor could be replaced with the words free solar electric from the sun. The Sun charges electric batteries which run generators that heats sea water. This sea water is pumped, using electric pumps. Sea water is pumped through electric heated pipes. These hot pipes turn the sea water into steam which rises automatically and thus can escape into other pipes and then the steam cools and turns into clean water and is dropped into different pipes. Large pips could run from California to Texas. Lots of sun and vacant land in those 2,000 miles AND the sea at both ends!
    OBJECTION: Big oil and other companies want to make this idea so complicated that it’s too big to understand. Too big and complicated to understand only if we let politicians make the decisions of what we are capable of understanding. Politicians want to pump oil from Canada to Texas and college student are so stupid and or preoccupied texting that they can’t organize will enough to make a reasonable objection let along an idea of their own. Today’s students have bought into the idea/propaganda that they are smarter than my no internet protesting generation.
    Carl G. Mueller
  • Oct 11 2013: Perspiration transcends them both.
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      Oct 12 2013: ... and it is only during dedicated perspiration that inspiration comes. (viz: "Inspiration exists, but it must find you working" Pablo Picasso)
      However, in order to do the daily work of dedicated perspiration, motivation to get out of bed in the morning and get on with it, is needed. This suggests that maybe motivation is the prime-mover in all this.
      • Oct 12 2013: I've heard the only thing that matters is indeed earnestness. Where does one get it?
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    Oct 14 2013: Motivation and Inspiration are linked. We can get inspiration from someone or something. As soon as we get it(inspiration) a motivation state can be create in ourselves to achieve what we want.
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    Oct 13 2013: Inspiration is the precursor to motivation, in my opinion. Unless it is imposed motivation i.e. mundane jobs that people motivate themselves to do in order to get a wage/money.
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    Oct 17 2013: I must agree with the others on here and say that I believe the two ideas are completely connected.
    You can be stuffed full of inspiration but without action it is not going to lead you anywhere, and vice versa, you can be extremely motivated but without the inspiration behind you actions where will you end up?

    I have had inspiration literally waiting to pour out of me in the past, but I lacked the motivation to do anything with it. There have also been moments where I was overwhelmed with the need to act and yet I could not find inspiration to be able to accomplish anything.

    These two ideas are intertwined; they go hand-in-hand. One without the other is useless and will never lead you to a truly successful place.
  • Oct 14 2013: motivation is a force that urges us to do something. Inspiration is epiphany or nirvan
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    Gord G

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    Oct 14 2013: It seems to me motivation requires a definable goal. It's the desire to attain a predetermined level of mastery. Inspiration is often the launching pad into uncharted territory. Though motivation sustains the vast body of knowledge already existing in the world, all new knowledge began with inspiration.

    So to answer the question... inspiration is more important.
  • Oct 13 2013: It's depends upon the situation.
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    Oct 13 2013: Okay apologies for the language used there, I was just trying to highlight the difference between the two. Other than that yes we both need them definitely.
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    Oct 13 2013: motivation can come out of share necessity. working to put food on the table or some other external source some one in trouble maybe someone holding a gun to your head to get you to do something I would not count these factors as inspirational
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    Oct 13 2013: Inspiration.
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    Oct 12 2013: Hello Gunjan,
    As an either/or question, motivation is primary over inspiration, bearing in mind that inspiration often catalyses internal motivation, but external and internal motivation get it done in the material world.
    Important parts are also played by:
    the Will (the Will to do),
    the Soul (can I live with myself if I do this?),
    the Intellect (does the action make rational-logical sense to me?).
    All of it requires determination and perspiration.
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      Oct 12 2013: I like your intellectual talking points about, get off our asses and do something. Easier said than done when it’s safer to do nothing. Keep up the intellectual insight. You helped inspire me or should I say motivate me?
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      Oct 13 2013: Joshua:
      I keep asking these questions whenever someone lectures me in a conference or in a meeting about these things. I would rather be doing laundry than listen to these words which make little sense. Perspiration for me was and always will be the most important but I just wanted an opinion because the masses believe that success is achieved mostly when these factors come into play.
  • Oct 12 2013: From your definitions and examples motivation can come from plastic bottle.
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      Oct 12 2013: see (listen) also to Jim Croce's song "Time in a Bottle". (I'm not sure if it was plastic or not).
      • Oct 12 2013: I was just saying , In you're statement you claimed that motivation only comes from within but inspiration can come from a bottle. Well guess what! ? Motivation can also spawn from inspiration! ! Isn't that wild! ?......
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    Oct 12 2013: My impression of motivation-inspiration relationship can be explained this way:
    Motivation - you have groceries for some meal
    Inspiration- you have a lot recepies for these groceries and also you have plenty of spices,to make diferent interesting meals.

    So, that mean that these forms- motivation and inspiration, have to be in relationship. Both of them are important. Because you can't have achievement without
    motivation (which is important prerequisite to keep try) and
    inspiration ( to make ton of different ways, to make path to reaching success more interesting, and as I said before, to "spicing" whole thing, by inspiration). :))))
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    Gord G

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    Oct 12 2013: I think the opposite is true. People can be motivated by simple means...a wage, a bonus, a promise of advancement. Inspiration requires complicity of the intangible connection with the sublime.
  • Oct 12 2013: Inspiration is an essential component or prerequisite of motivation. To love what you do, and to be able to do it.
  • Oct 11 2013: 1. the ability to recognize a good idea that is implementable (other may not think it is a good idea or doable)
    2. the grit to get it done
    3. the ability to recognize when it is not working and change direction
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    Oct 11 2013: The terms researchers use in studying the question of motivation are "intrinsic motivation" and "extrinsic motivation." Intrinsic motivation is the type that comes from within. Extrinsic is the kind that relates to an external incentive.

    As an example, if you read a book because you love that author, that is intrinsic motivation. If you read the book because you will fail the class if you refuse to read the book, that is extrinsic motivation.

    This popular TED talk on motivation has had almost 6.5 million views.
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    Oct 11 2013: Motivation being intrinsic is more important as its within one's self domain .
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      Oct 13 2013: In actual fact you are referring to inspiration there hey...check my post on this above.
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        Oct 14 2013: No my friend I am referring MOTIVATION ...even as per "your definition"..... with out passing the "tender stage" how can something go in to "mature stage" ?

        However, my idea about motivation and inspiration is different than yours ....