Distinguishing Between Motivation & Inspiration

Motivation vs Inspiration

Motivational speakers often encourage their audience to think positively and eliminate negativity, while inspirational leaders demonstrate greatness in adversity and serve as a source of encouragement for their followers. Although motivation and inspiration are often considered synonyms, there are subtle differences between the two concepts.

Key Takeaways

  • Inspiration is generally longer-lasting and more profound than motivation.
  • Motivation typically comes from external sources, while inspiration comes from within.
  • Inspiration often leads to motivation, serving as its cause or driving force.


Motivation is the driving force that pushes individuals to work hard and achieve their goals. For example, students may be motivated to earn top grades in order to receive praise from teachers, peers, and parents. Similarly, a person may be motivated to work hard to provide for their family or to excel in their chosen profession.

Motivation can come from both external sources, such as praise or rewards, and internal sources, such as a personal passion for a hobby or career. At its most basic level, motivation drives individuals to satisfy their fundamental needs like food, shelter, and clothing. A person’s behavior and efforts are often guided by their motivation.


Inspiration can come from various sources, such as witnessing a hardworking parent or learning about great historical figures. When inspired by these role models, individuals may be driven to work hard, adopt certain values, and strive for greatness. However, inspiration is a deeply personal feeling that varies from person to person. Some may be inspired by political leaders, while others may find inspiration in athletes or actors.

Unlike motivation, inspiration comes from within and often serves as a guiding force during challenging times. A person’s inspiration can help keep them motivated and focused on their goals.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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