Motivation, inspiration and the joy of being ordinary

I love speaking to a live audience, I love the interaction and the sharing of emotion that occurs as they respond to and identify with my stories. Despite much of the feedback, the kind messages that declare that I am an inspiration, I see myself as something else and hear me out on this one.

I am ordinary. I am nothing special.

Here’s the kicker, and neither are you.

Now would someone inspirational say that? Surely they would be full of the same “we’re all unique and special snowflakes” platitudes that you hear everywhere you go. But if we’re all special then surely none of us are, I agree that we’re all unique and that has its own wonderful “specialness” but I don’t see us all as special.

If you hold certain people up to be “special” then you are already putting barriers in the way of your ability to achieve that which you aspire to.

“But of course they did it, of course they’re successful, it’s because they’re special.”

Celebrate your ordinariness, celebrate the fact that deep inside you there lies every piece of strength, courage and tenacity that you need to succeed, exactly the same as the “special” people, all that you have to do is find it. Turn off the TV, put down your phone, still your mind and look within.

And really what is inspiration?

People have described me as a “motivational speaker”, an “inspirational speaker” and a number of other things that I shan’t share here, don’t you just love Twitter.

Motivation and inspirational are very different ideas though, one helps you to achieve a goal but the other helps you to find your calling.

When you are motivated you are driven towards a destination, it’s driven by your ego, “I can achieve this and nothing will stop me for I am motivated”. Inspiration on the other hand calls you on, it draws you towards your calling, its driving force is empathy and connection to others.

This difference shows up clearly in leadership, the motivational leader will build a team that will achieve their goals, hit targets and be successful, whereas the inspirational leader will give them a true purpose in life to change the world.

With motivation the focus is within pushing us forwards but with inspiration we look outwards and are drawn towards an ideal. Motivation will see us safely to a destination, inspiration will take us on a lifelong journey.

While I don’t see myself as special I do realise that the ideas that I want to share are, I am merely the vessel that is carrying these ideas to you, my dear reader, in the hope that you can use them to find your inspiration.

My life is bigger than I am.

This isn’t false modesty or self deprecation masking self hate, I’ve had enough of that bullshit to last a lifetime, it’s recognising that we are all merely atoms and particles, that our bodies came from intergalactic dust and that we will return to that same dust. What does matter is the ideas, the consciousness and the soul that inhabits these fragile and impermanent forms that we call bodies. We are transitory but ideas can last forever, or until that killer asteroid hits and we’re all wiped out but even then our ideas will still travel forever onwards through the cosmos as radio waves of our transmissions.

Bugger, does that mean that any other intelligent life will judge humans based on ‘Love Island’ and reruns of ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’. Oh, and while we digress, it seems a little harsh to refer to it as a “killer asteroid”, it’s not like it decided to wipe out all life on Earth, it’s not Donald Trump. Maybe “manslaughter asteroid through diminished responsibilities” is a bit fairer, or “act of God”? Nah, that’s a whole can of worms that I’m not going to open just yet.

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