Motivation and Inspiration, by Clemmie

Sitting on the sofa with my mother today watching her sew name tapes, I decide to alleviate her boredom with one of those deep and slightly unanswerable questions that you probably do not want to answer while you are trying to thread a needle: ‘Do you think there is a difference between Inspiration and Motivation?’ After considering this for a moment (or perhaps ignoring me while she threaded the previously mentioned needle) she eventually replied ‘yes’.  When pressed for further details she eventually came to the conclusion that ‘inspiration comes from an external factor, whereas motivation comes from within’.  Not willing to let her get away with answering my unanswerable question so easily, I began throwing examples at her to try and disprove this theory: ‘If a man told his son he would give him £100 pounds for passing all his exams, that’s an external factor but you wouldn’t call it inspiration, would you?’ And she simply replied, ‘No, that’s bribery.’  It was at this point I realised my mother was right and (frustratingly) had answered in the space of a minute the question which had played on my mind all day.  The more I applied her theories to examples in my mind, the more I realised that she was right, giving up when I realised ‘I am so internally motivated to disprove her theory that I have wasted a perfectly useful twenty minutes’. Is there any significance to knowing the difference between motivation and inspiration? I think so.  Knowing the difference will make it easier to define the source of a desire, and in my experience, things are always far more achievable when I know why I’m doing them!

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