Stop Waiting For Inspiration to Magically Appear

Written by on October 17, 2016 in Adaptability, Self-Awareness



When was the last time something, or someone truly inspired you? If you’re like most people, brief moments of inspiration come and go more often than you might imagine, usually with little more awareness on your part than a smile, warm fuzzy feeling or a quick “Like” on a social media post.

Today I want to challenge you to become more aware of the things (and people) that inspire you. More importantly, I want to show you how you can have more of these things in your life on a day-to-day basis.

First, let’s take a quick detour because I want to emphasize that what I’ll be talking about in this post is inspiration, not motivation.

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a crucial difference. Why this matters will soon become obvious, but for now let’s consider the definitions.

Motivated: Having a motive or incentive for doing something.
Inspired: Mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Motivation is good, especially when tackling long-term goals, but it requires a lot of pushing and prodding along the way or it begins to fade. Inspiration, on the other hand, stems from internal energy, emotions, and drive.

Which do you think is more sustainable? The external push or the internal drive?

Motivation requires something from the outside to activate you. Inspiration is an internal energy that keeps you continually fueled. ~Adrienne Duffy

What Inspires You?

When it comes to the concept of inspiration as a driving force, there is a tendency to think of it in terms of creative endeavors, in particular, the arts.

But inspiration is so much more. It is the spark that ignites ideas, innovation, and meaningful goals; it touches our very soul reminding us of our humanness and helps us to come up with creative solutions to some of our most profound challenges.

Fortunately, inspiration is all around us if we’re willing to take the time to look. There’s the magic of a favorite piece of music, the endearing faces of children, books that open new worlds for us, and the breathtaking beauty of nature.some-see-a-wish

I believe you will agree that inspiration is also a personal experience, so, in order to become intentional about inviting more inspiration into your life, you’ll need to work out the things that inspire you and in what way.

It could be that a particular poem or quotation inspires you to feel especially thankful for someone in your life; a walk in nature may inspire you to create a piece of art, or help to clear your mind so you can solve a pressing problem, while doodling could lead to a new idea for your business.

Create Your Inspiration Strategy

Once you identify the circumstances, activities, and people that inspire you then you can begin looking for ways to incorporate more of them into your life on a day-to-day basis. This way you can get into an inspired state when it will benefit you the most, rather than just when it randomly occurs.

What inspires me?

Everything about this website and my personal life contains clues to the things that inspire me the most, and every bit of that is intentional.

Again, my list may be very different from yours, but I’ll share three examples with you just to give you a frame of reference.


I surround myself personally and professionally with people who are highly resilient, positive in nature and who have chosen to take responsibility for their lives by refusing to be defined by their circumstances. These are often the people I write about, and even the characters in my favorite novels display the same characteristics.

In my view, these people are everyday heroes because they seek to make a difference in the world and inspire me to do and be more by their example.


The colors and images I use in my books and throughout Emotionally Resilient Living nearly always feature nature in some way. And, like many of you, I get some of my best ideas while spending time outdoors so I choose to live in a rural area and surround myself with the sights, sounds, and smells that inspire me the most.


I have always loved words, the power they have to touch our imagination and emotions. I even get a rush from the feeling of relief and satisfaction following the hair-pulling challenge every writer goes through of trying to come up with just the right word to express a point.

Reading is my favorite past time and I write thousands of words every day, most of which are inspired by ideas captured from my own readers or during walks with my dog on the hiking trails around my home.

I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9:00 every morning. ~Peter De Vries

I love this quote by Peter De Vries because it beautifully incorporates the elements of intention and discipline with the act of creation.

The bottom line is we can sit back and wait for the little blue flame of inspiration to show up, or we can take control and direct our own mind and behavior.

Don’t be afraid, there’s plenty to go around. It’s like love, the more room you make for it in your heart, the more it will expand in your life.

So don’t wait for inspiration to find you. Deliberately encourage it to become a part of your life on a daily basis.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.


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41 Reader Comments

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  1. ikechi says:

    Hi Marquita

    You are so right that there is a difference between inspiration and motivation and I for one like inspiration.

    There is inspiration everywhere and we can tap into it just as you have shared. I do angry that rather than waiting for the magic to happen we can create this magic everyday

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care

  2. That’s a great attitude Usman. Too many people focus on comparing themselves to other people when becoming the person we were meant to be really is about fulfilling our own potential. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation!

  3. And thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Rahul.

  4. So true Jeannette, and thank you for sharing the lovely verse! 🙂

  5. Well said Sushmita! Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  6. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I thought of you when I began writing this post Dave. 🙂 There really is nothing I can add to your comment, as insightful and “inspiring” as always my friend. 🙂

  7. What a wonderful selection Mandy! Two of my closest friends are teachers and seeing their dedication over the years and surely inspired me. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  8. Always happy to hear when something I’ve shared causes someone to think and question – it’s why I’m here. 🙂

  9. Wonderful list, and I especially like the one about “powerful life experiences” – count me in! Thanks for sharing Erica! 🙂

  10. Beautifully said Priya! And thank you for your kind words, I always enjoy your insightful comments and am so grateful you found your way here! 🙂

  11. Jeannette Paladino says:

    I find inspiration of my friends and the arts. After I’ve been with friends or talked on the phone with a friend, I have a profound sense of joy and peace. I cherish them and never take them for granted. How drab life be without friends and family. “Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer…” Jean de La Fontaine

  12. Rahul Sihmar says:

    Magic never happens you have to make it happen for you.

    You just have to stop assuming and dreaming i will say that come to reality and face this word.

    Your life will change.

    Thanks for sharing such a nice content

  13. Usman Nasir says:


    If I ask myself what inspires me than only one thing that keeps me going is to make myself a better version from what I was yesterday. That right there keeps me going each day.

    PS. Few people are my inspiration as well, those I saw have worked hard for their actual inspirations, and the end its all about hard work and patience.

  14. Sushmita says:

    Hello Marquita,
    Everything that motivates me to move ahead and achieve my set goals, to fulfill my dreams inspires me.
    The way one thinks and feels about themselves, including their beliefs and expectations about what is possible, determines everything that happens.
    Also, Music inspires me to create as well as write to focus. Thanks for sharing amazing read!

  15. Dave says:

    Have you ever seen the movie, Jerry Maguire? You know, the one with Tom Cruise and Rene Zellweger. Remember the famous line from that movie? Well, I have a parallel version of it …

    “You had me at inspiration.”

    I would guess it’s no surprise to you that this is the case, but I have such a deep connection with anything involving inspiration that part of me believes that one of the things that inspires me the most is being given the opportunity to inspire others.

    And I somehow don’t think that it’s coincidental that the four words I composed to define me and my writing – inspire and be inspired – arose from an article that you wrote several years ago that revolved around a TED talk and the magic of 4am 🙂

    So, what inspires me? I don’t think it’s one thing. I don’t think I can necessarily narrow it down to even a set of entities. What I can say is that I know it when I see it, touch it, smell it, hear it, taste it, or feel it on some much deeper level. I know because the goose bumps the present themselves to me – are as I’ve described them in the past – like the soul’s physical manifestation of a smile.

    Even though there isn’t that one thing (or set of things) that I will pinpoint as my inspirational sources, I do still intentionally invite it into my life. I continually remind myself to immerse my entire being into everything I do, to utilize all my senses and remain aware of everything around me.

    Which reminds me, that’s another thing that inspires me – when I stumble upon something new that I never would have thought would have such a positive effect on that internal drive. It sets those goose bumps in motion again, and it’s one of the most powerful, encouraging, and liberating feelings in the world when you know that the flame inside is being fueled to new levels of brilliance. There is something around us, every second of every day to inspire us – if we only allow it to 🙂

    Thanks, Marty! Needless to say, this article really hits home in a powerful way for me, and I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts 🙂

  16. Mandy Allen says:

    To follow your example, three things that inspire me are:
    Life – I find it both an adventure and a challenge and am in awe of the wonder of life;
    Children – I am constantly amazed at their resilience and creativity, I am delighted that I have the skills to work with them in a positive way, benefiting myself from my interactions with them;
    Teachers – because we are all teachers, even those of us who do not know it, any they inspire me the most because they don’t recognise their worth or the impact they have on others.

    Lovely, lovely post, thank you for sharing this.

    Enjoy the journey!

  17. I have certainly stated that I was inspired by this or that, by person or something that I saw, but I never thought about what I could actively do to be inspired.
    So, you’ve provoked me, in a good way, again!
    Like others have said, being in nature always inspires me. I feel close to God when I’m in nature and that always gets me ready to do good things, writing in particular.
    I also get inspiration when I am in very old architecture, pondering what man can achieve.

  18. Erica says:

    I like how you explain the difference between motivation and inspiration. It really is easy to get those confused. My inspiration is nature (which is funny for someone who chooses to live in a city), music and powerful life experiences which propel me to move forward with and help shape different projects

  19. Priya Prabhu says:

    Beautiful article Marquita.You always set me thinking and get me to speak my mind.Commenting on your blogs feel like talking to a good old friend.Never gave much thought to the fine line that sets motivation and inspiration apart.After reading ur article I think motivation is a term more relative to worldly goals and inspiration has more to do with the energy within.What inspires me the most is the mystery behind the concept of happiness.While we channelise our energy towards the factors that motivate us, these motivating factors drift us away from happiness. Example when I am able to meet my work goals for the year I feel on top of the world but with that comes the thoughts of doing more for the next quarter ,the pressure builds,although it feels like a positive energy ,there is stress associated with it.So motivation provides temporary happiness..Seeking inner peace and happiness within is what truly drives me and motivation sometimes conflicts with my inspiration.

  20. Knowing how much energy you share with us all, I am not at all surprised that you have surrounded yourself with things that inspire you my friend. Thanks for sharing!

  21. I can certainly see that about what you do Doreen – so you too have chosen to surround yourself with people who inspire you and that is brilliant! 🙂

  22. Well said Donna, especially your point about not waiting for inspiration. The quotation I shared in the post about writing pretty much sums up my opinion on writer’s block. I don’t deny that the writing flows easier some days than on others, but this is where discipline comes into play because if writing is your business you need to just suck it up and do the work. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  23. I agree Dr. Ho, it’s amazing the directions a few well-posed questions can send our mind and imagination. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Oh, great point Donna! Cooking is one of those activities that is both artistic and can completely consume your attention. I do enjoy cooking things from scratch and as a matter of fact, have come to the conclusion I’m going to have to get back into the habit of making my own tortillas. There is no shortage of Mexican restaurants in my new hometown, but the grocery stores are surprisingly limited when it comes to ingredients. Always appreciate your thoughtful insights. 🙂

  25. Well said Lea, and you are so right, regardless of what our personal preferences may be, environment plays a significant role in everything from our health and productivity to our ability to be creative. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Sounds wonderful Sabrina! Normally I opt for silence when I’m writing, but at the moment my little dog is curled up around my feet snoring like a drunken sailor and I can’t bring myself to move her so guess it’s time for a little musical diversion. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, especially for giving us a glimpse into the beautiful environment you’ve created for yourself. 🙂

  27. Very true Ken, good point.

  28. I hear you Jeri. I had to spend a fair amount of time getting around in snowy weather when I worked on the East Coast, but I much prefer enjoying the view from behind a big window, while sitting in front of a fireplace and sipping on a good glass of Pinot Noir. 🙂

  29. Blurring the lines between motivation and inspiration is pretty common Mark, and frankly, under normal circumstances, it really isn’t that big of a deal, but it was important to dig a little deeper with this post to help readers understand the true nature of inspiration. I hope you found it helpful. 🙂

  30. Sounds like you have some wonderful resources and a pretty good handle on the sources of your inspiration Phoenicia! Thanks for taking the time to share and contribut to the conversation. 🙂

  31. Chery Schmidt says:

    Hi Marty, Awesome post my friend! there are so many things that inspire me each and everyday.

    The plants in my home, the birds on my feaders, the fall colors, the wind blowing the leaves around and yes visiting blogs like yours here..

    Oh my the list is endless.

    Great Share..
    Chery :))

  32. Hi Marty. the thing that inspires me most is creativity. That’s why I love what I do in the world of chocolate. People who work with chocolate are co creative, and that inspires me on so many levels. I think that finding our source of inspiration is one of the key points to happiness and success.

  33. Donna Janke says:

    I agree we can encourage inspiration. A big part of it involves having an open and relaxed mind. Having some quiet time, walking, reading, music are all good for me. Inspiration also tends to beget inspiration. When we work on whatever inspired us, more ideas tend to flow. I also believe we can’t always wait for the perfect inspiration and sometimes just need to sit down and work. This is true of writing and I suspect other endeavours.

  34. Oftentimes my inspiration comes from the questions people ask but sometimes it just comes from sitting quietly and observing the world around me.

  35. Hi Marquita,

    Inspiration can come and go. Being an entrepreneur, we have to keep it up. That being said, I like to have my little “reminders” around me in my office so I can be Inspired. From a short quote to my plants surrounding me.

    Now if I really need a boost, nature works for me every time. I’m usually doing a beach walk, but this time of year is so magical, with vibrant colors of the trees, that I will go on trails.

    If all else fails, I’m in the kitchen cooking something complicated. It is a creative task that always lifts me up.

    So those are the things that can inspire me, along with hanging out online with amazing people like you.


  36. Lea Bullen says:

    Hi Marquita,
    Like most people I probably used these words to interchangeably but I surely know the difference. I feel like inspiration is deeper and can light the fire for motivation so it is probably more important to have in the long run.
    I think one of the biggest things that inspires me is my environment. Whether good or bad it definitely fuels me to do something.

  37. I love this! I am the same way. I live in a rural area too and love the views of the wetlands in my backyard. I make sure my office space is creative with artwork and beautiful decor so when I look around it reminds me to be creative. I also love listening to classical or jazz music which helps me stay relaxed in the process of being ok with letting others see who I am. As always, this was lovely.

  38. Ken Dowell says:

    There are all sorts of negative things you can say about what social media has done to modern society, but one very positive is that it is a constant source of shared inspiration. Many people post things that inspire them and we as friends get to share this experience and often find inspiration in it ourselves.

  39. Jeri says:

    Nature definitely inspires me and I like to get out and about every chance I can get. However, come the cold season that gets to be a challenge since I don’t enjoy skiing and the like. I’ve considered trying showshoeing, but in the end, my mind just goes brrrrrrr…

  40. Mark says:

    Thanks for sharing the subtle differences between “motivation and inspiration,” M.

    And I love your first image with your post BTW.And now going forward, I definitely have a much better perspective, of when yo use the words motivation or inspiration.

    Because to this point, I too had often used them interchangeably.

    But now, thanks to your far more accurate definitions, I can be far more accurate with my descriptions.Thanks!

    I’ll definitely sharing this one.

  41. Phoenicia says:

    Hmm where does my inspiration come from?

    Definitely people. Though an introvert I enjoy speaking to and listening to others (on a one to one basis). I always learn something new whether about myself or a fact of this world.

    The bible. I am a Christian and spend time in the word almost daily. This lifts my spirits.

    Music. Some artists are gifted at being able to minister to you with their voices and words.

    Authors and poets. Some people have a way with words. They are born to write – that most certainly includes you!