I’ve been learning martial arts for 23 years, and in the beginning I was inspired by the thought of mastering these arts.
But as a beginner I tempered my inspiration, mindful of the gap between reality and expectations.
Inspiration kept me going but “realism” held me in check. As years passed I ceased to be a beginner, but I felt further than ever from the mastery that inspired me.
Disappointment crept in, and I grew embarrassed and then ashamed at my lack of skill.
Why was I not progressing? Why did I feel like a perpetual beginner? How could I have so little to show for my years of effort?
Realism and self-sabotage
When we pit inspiration and realism against each other we unwittingly bind and sabotage ourselves.
The more inspired I was, the more harshly I criticised myself for falling short of my ideals. I didn’t know how to draw on inspiration without then beating myself up.
I thought inspiration was about realistic hopes and goals and measurable progress, and in a sense that is true; but inspiration is also the fuel and the transformative power and the inner knowing that makes the goal achievable.
Inspiration is not motivation
I’m now learning the difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivation is what moves you into action. My goal of mastering Kungfu motivated me to practice.
But inspiration is much more than just movement into action. Inspiration informs and guides action with greater insight and wisdom than we could deduce on our own.
Motivation can set you on a path but inspiration creates a path all of its own.
Inspiration itself is ultimately about feeling good.
When I’m inspired I feel excited and satisfied, enthused and revitalised. My body feels more energetic and alive. My mind is clearer and more alert.
And when we feel this good it means we are in tune with our desires, our own inner being, and our “God’s-eye-view” of life.
So find your inspiration, revel in it, and feel it renew and guide you on your journey.