Monday, February 16, 2009

Inspiration vs. Motivation

As I work on writing my response to the Handmade Nation documentary, I wanted to share this short, thought-provoking piece on inspiration v. motivation by Rob Walker that appeared recently on his blog Murketing.

Inspiration vs. motivation -- I didn't get it right off the bat, but since reading it's been on my mind. It actually relates to something Andrew Wagner said during the book panel on Thurs., that there are two kinds of people in the world: those that do and those that only think about doing.

In the post, Walker writes, "People with ideas are a dime a dozen; people who execute are rare."

He then confesses, "I don’t know about you, but when I look at my to-do list, I wonder where I fall on that continuum — will I be motivated to get things done this year, or merely inspired to add to add to my list?"

I wonder the same thing. I'll bet most of you do too. If not, what's your secret?

Scientifically speaking, motivation is "a series of small behaviors," Walker quotes. "You get pumped up and 'inspired,' and then before long you’re right back where you were … needing 'inspiration' again." The vicious cycle, and one fed by "gurus" everywhere (like the people who make posters like this).

I seek and covet good sources of inspiration, but sometimes struggle with maintaining the little routines that reflect motivation. Maybe I've always had a problem with discipline. Or maybe it's because inspiration comes from the outside and true motivation can only come from within. It's always that inside stuff that's the tough part.

(External attempts at motivation are extremely creepy to me, from this corporate example to this government-level one. But that's a whole 'nuther topic.)

How do you keep yourself on track with the "small behaviors" of motivation?

Sorry there were no Friday Snacks this week! There will be extra servings this week... Stay tuned!

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Image at top: the Inspiration of St. Matthew.

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