Inspiration versus Motivation


It’s hard not to see success. Many of us strive to improve ourselves and our circumstances. We live in an age of vast amounts of information and inspirational people to look up to. While it’s amazing to have all this at our fingertips; it can also become quite overwhelming.

Who is right? What should I do? Which way is best? Why after listening to all these motivational videos or talks am I still feeling a bit lost?

My experience with motivational speakers is that the majority of them have amazing stories – but they fail to connect with the ordinary person just looking for that spark to help them achieve their goals.

In short: we walk out thinking “wow that was truly incredible” but the minute the front door slams shut any inspiration felt is gone; and our life’s groove returns.

Besides the speakers inability to meaningfully translate his success formula into one we can use; I also believe people arrive at the talk without understanding their why. They walk in blind and other than wanting to ‘be inspired’ they don’t have any specific objective.

What do you mean they have not discovered their why? I hear you ask.

Great question.

What is your purpose? What is your cause? What is your belief?

This is something all of us have to dig deeper to understand and realise for ourselves.

When you figure out your why it becomes a powerful guide to link to not just organisations but other people too.

Simon Sinek is a great speaker exploring ‘the why’ (he had the second most watched talk on Ted – watch it here) and encapsulates this beautifully in one of his interviews when he states he envisions a world where all over the planet people wake up every day, inspired to go to work and come home fulfilled by the work they did.

Key word: fulfilled.

What we have done has made a difference to others; and ourselves.

Watching motivational talks and learning from those who are successful can become our personalised teacher. You watch a forty minute video and learn one thing; but that one thing may change your life.

It shouldn’t be about following people and their ideas or lessons like sheep though; but rather understanding what you’ve learnt, adapting it to your own style of being and what you want to achieve. It’s like having a chef teaching us various meals but changing the recipes to match our taste.

Maybe you don’t have a clear vision of your future? This alone can be overwhelming.  Tripp Lanier has a fantastic video simplifying this into what your current passion is and what you love now; and what to do today to cultivate these experiences so we become exceptional at achieving them.

Suddenly we have a journey mind-set.

Click here to watch. In thirty one minutes you may arm yourself with some more tools for greatness.

A word of advice. One of the reasons it can feel overwhelming is because we try and do too much. Before we’ve mastered one skill we are already moving on to something else.

Slow it down.

Pick one thing to work on this week, or however long it takes you. Master it. Then move on to the next thing.

Remember: it’s in the action where all the learning really happens.

Inspiration taps into our dreams.

Motivation gets behind the wheel and drives us there.

Dream big, and change your life forever.

Afrikaburn – Reflections of the Desert

AB 16 arrivalAnother Afrikaburn has come and gone – the Tenth addition to be precise. If you have never heard of it ( ); it’s based on the American principle of Burning Man (well actually there are ten principles –

I could spend hours talking about the diverse landscape along the drive; or the incredible artwork and sculptures on display; perhaps the unrivalled creativity with costumes on offer? But by now I am sure most of you have either heard from friends or started seeing pictures popping up continuously on your Facebook feed. So at this point what I can say is: if you haven’t been – put it on your ‘Absolute Must’ list. You need to experience it to truly understand and decide for yourself.

While you can navigate endless posts and photographs about the various experiences people have had out in the desert, there is one in particular that I’d like to chat about.

The absence of mobile phones.

The location is so remote that almost as soon as you hit the dirt road 120km from Tankwa Town, all reception and connection to the outside world is removed; like volunteering for solitary confinement in prison. Reminders of times pre 1994 when cellular phones descended like the Columbus plague on our South African shores.

The recent onset of smart phones has also meant ‘connection’ is even more at our fingertips with Whatsapp and Facebook just a tap away. This is not necessarily a bad thing; especially if, like me, you have special family and friends afar in Europe and the United States. Nothing is all bad; in fact it’s rather how we use anything that makes it good or bad. Mobile phones are no exception.

For a time, we were free and returned to the Wild West and became ‘primitive’. Or were we?

Over 11 200 people attended this year and whether I was rejuvenating at camp, strolling around the pop up town, cycling in the dust storm or dancing to the Rave Rover’s sunset funky beats; one thing stood out.

People’s heads were up.

Not hiding behind phones. No status update checks. No reading the news. No one almost walked into a street lamp because they were consumed by the dull glow of their screen.

It was magical to see people connecting the way we are supposed to; the way we used to. Talking face to face with eye contact and hand gestures; using changes in tone of voice instead of emoticons; and body language instead of our fingers. Being together and being present.

This is all magnified by the fact that one of the principles of Afrikaburn is gifting – there is no money. You walk past a camp and someone shouts out ‘How about some Champagne?’ – So of course, you stop!

In an instant you go from perfect strangers to opening up about your experiences since arriving. An opportunity for connection that otherwise would have been lost; engrossed in our phone walking by while our head is down texting; or even drinking our champagne head buried in an endless swipe of text and photos.

Of all the magic I experienced out there this is the one thing that I am going to try and keep alive in my city life. While shopping last night at a grocer I made a conscious effort to look every person I walked past in the eye – staff or customer – as I smiled and greeted them ‘hello’.

There are many people who didn’t look up or face me but the ones that did, flashed some of the happiest smiles I’ve ever seen. It’s so simple, yet we all seem to have forgotten to practice it.

The world is becoming nastier and increasingly soulless. Let’s do our part to bring back the human element again.

Let’s walk with our heads high and smile at unsuspecting strangers.

Or like the poor flies doomed to be burned: is that blue glow just too hard to resist?