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Monday, December 28, 2009

Inspiration or Motivation?

As more people become aware of our trip, the number of wonderful support emails continues to grow. Recently 2 emails came in, within 5 minutes of the each other, and each used a different word to describe what this trip has done for them. One person said our trip inspired her, while the other email said that our trip motivated him.

These emails created an interesting family discussion: what's the difference between inspiration and motivation? The follow question then became, were we ourselves motivated to take this trip or were we inspired to take the trip?

We've resolved that motivation is something that causes action due to an outside force. For example, if my boss offers me a bonus to do something extra, I'm motivated to do it. There is something I want, but I don't necessarily need. The bond isn't emotional.

We've resolved that inspiration is something that causes action due to an inside force. For example, if my girls smile at me as they ask for a new doll, I'm inspired to provide it to them. There is an inner emotional drive to fulfill.

The problem with motivation is that it isn't sustainable. Relying on an outside force to remain strong enough long enough to accomplish something is suspect. Maybe it can, maybe it can't.

The power of inspiration is that it is fueled by emotions. Emotions can be a self sustaining reaction that can go on indefinitely, making possible feats that seem immortal. This amazing source, emotions, can also generate wonderful creations …. ones not possible by logic or reason alone. This, of course, can be negative too as decisions in an emotional frenzy can be dangerous.

Looking back at the genesis for this family adventure, it started off with a motivating force. The motivation was to travel, that was the reward, that was the carrot. Over time, it became inspirational as we've invested so much of our selves and our emotions into making this become a reality. Being inspirational, the fueling frenzy just seems to grow with every day passing.

As a final observation, we've concluded that motivation itself cannot transform an individual. Inspiration can. This is another characteristic that distinguishes between the 2 sources. We've most definitely been transformed!

We feel honored that we've motivated some, and inspired others. We are very happy to know that we've provided a reward possibility to some, and emotionally made an attachment to goals for others.

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