Home Financial Literacy Phyllis Shallman – Inspiration: The Inner Flame that Lasts

Phyllis Shallman – Inspiration: The Inner Flame that Lasts

Phyllis Shallman – Inspiration: The Inner Flame that Lasts
In personal growth and achievement, two words frequently come to the forefront: motivation and inspiration.

While both are powerful forces driving us to action, understanding the subtle yet profound difference between them can be transformative.

The Flickering Spark of Motivation

Picture motivation as a spark. It’s the push we get from an external source, the flame ignited by someone else’s words, a particular event, or a reward. It’s that surge of energy you feel when you watch an invigorating TED talk or hear an athlete’s success story. Motivation is the gym membership you get at the beginning of the new year, fueled by societal expectations of the “New Year, New Me” mantra.

But here’s the thing about sparks – they’re fleeting. They dazzle for a moment but can die out just as quickly if not nurtured. Motivation, being an external force, often demands constant replenishment. It’s the reason we might need regular pep talks, repeated affirmations, or even the occasional nudge to keep us on track. Without consistent external stimuli, motivation can wane, leading to lapses in our pursuits.

The Everlasting Glow of Inspiration

Now, picture inspiration as an inner flame, a deep-seated fire that comes from within. It’s personal, intrinsic, and often intertwined with our very essence. When you’re inspired, you don’t need the world to tell you to move; you’re naturally compelled to because it aligns with your inner values, passions, and purpose.

Inspiration is the book you decide to write after years of introspection, the social venture you begin after personal experiences, or the marathon you run in memory of a loved one. It’s powered by a profound sense of purpose that doesn’t need frequent rekindling. The flame of inspiration, once lit, can glow indefinitely.

From Flicker to Flame

The distinction between these two forces is crucial. While motivation can get you started, inspiration ensures you persevere. If you embark on a journey merely based on motivation, the road might seem uphill the moment challenges arise. The external push might not suffice when faced with real adversity. But if you’re genuinely inspired, no obstacle seems too large. You’re driven not by the promise of a reward or recognition but by an unwavering belief in the cause and yourself.

As the renowned Dr. Wayne Dyer put it, “Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”

Cultivating Your Inner Flame

So, how can one transition from being merely motivated to truly inspired?


Spend time understanding yourself, your values, passions, and purpose. Dive deep into your experiences, feelings, and aspirations.

Connect with your ‘Why’

Simon Sinek, in his famous talk, emphasized starting with “Why.” Understanding the deeper purpose behind your actions can ignite a lasting inspiration.

Surround Yourself with Inspiration

Engage with stories, people, and environments that resonate with your soul. While inspiration is internal, external sources can sometimes act as mirrors, reflecting our deepest desires and passions.

In the grand tapestry of life, the journey is as significant as the destination. While motivation might give us the initial push, like a fleeting comet streaking across the sky, it is the inspiration that acts as our North Star – guiding, unwavering, and eternal. It reminds us of our higher calling, our deep-seated ‘why’ and our authentic self.

As we navigate the complexities of our paths, let’s not merely seek temporary sparks to light the way. Instead, let’s discover and nurture that resilient flame within us – for in its glow, not only do we find the strength to surmount challenges, but we also illuminate the way for others.

For, in the end, to be inspired is not just about achieving our personal milestones; it’s about becoming a beacon, a living testament to the power of the human spirit. So, when you find that inner inspiration, hold onto it, foster it, and let it propel you into a future where dreams are realized, not because they were easy, but because they were worth it. Let your inner inspiration be your legacy.

While motivation can be a powerful initial kickstart, it’s the enduring flame of inspiration that will guide you through life’s marathon. When you harness the power of intrinsic inspiration, you become unstoppable, not because the world is pushing you, but because an inner force is relentlessly pulling you forward.


“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

– Victor Hugo

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

– Harriet Tubman

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

– Albert Einstein

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

– Walt Disney


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