Motivation no. Inspiration yes.

Not everyone in my family, as I think I’ve mentioned, either likes or believes in what I do.

One of them will not let the word “psychic” pass their lips, as they think that means “carnival act,” “charlatan” and “stealer-of-people’s-money.”

Instead, they tell people I am a “motivational speaker.”

And that’s a lie, too. For a very specific reason.

I have always — ALWAYS — told my clients there is a massive difference between “motivation” and “inspiration.”

MOTIVATION: “I’m your doctor, and I’m saying that if you don’t lose sixty pounds and go on a strict diet you’re going to get diabetes and die horribly!”

INSPIRATION: “She’s eighty-one and can still do THAT kind of yoga pose? I want to be like her at that age!”

Motivation makes you sigh (out) heavily.

Inspiration makes you gasp (in) with delight.

Self-help books that “motivate” do damage. I remember the very first paragraph of the very first self-help book I ever bought for myself — at 13 years old.

Judy has a far out wardrobe. Judy’s makeup is fab, and her hairstyle is groovy.

But nobody likes Judy, because Judy’s fat.

BOOM. Right there, an impressionable young teenager is already told she is a complete failure no matter what she does, thinks, or is by nature, because all she’s worth is a Twiggy-skinny frame. And if she doesn’t have one? Social oblivion and contempt.

And so, despairing, I became one of the millions of young girls who dieted constantly because I was motivated into thinking I was worthless if I was bigger than a size seven. (I was a size 13…and stayed that way, no matter what.)

The term motivation is derived from the Latin word movere, meaning “to move.” You can move someone who doesn’t want to move. You can push something. It isn’t necessarily something joyful.

Let’s instead take the word “inspire,” which comes from the Latin word inspirare ‘breathe or blow into’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe’. The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being.

When someone is inspired, something inside them lights up, is oxygenated, is given the impetus to emerge into the world joyfully.

When we are motivated to do something, we need to provide ourselves with a goad. Something is wrong if it doesn’t get done. We will fail if it doesn’t get done. There is always a cost.

When we are inspired? Ah, then we have wings. We are excited. We see wonders ahead that we want to taste. There is no downside.

That’s why I am an inspirational speaker. What I strive to give you is belief in yourself, your abilities, and your own dreams. I don’t say you’re a failure if you don’t make a certain goal. I tell you that the journey is worth taking, and that your journey inspires ME. I invite you to find your wings, and not wait for anyone’s permission to fly.

Today, try ditching the motivation. Motivational books, motivational speakers. Trash ‘em. And find the books and speakers and ideas that inspire you instead.



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Corbie Mitleid

Corbie Mitleid

Psychic medium & channel since 1973. Author. Certified Tarot Master, past life specialist. I take my work seriously, me not so much.