What does it mean to be inspired?

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re eager to grow. To better understand what it is that best helps us develop in our personal and professional lives.

You’re not alone. Today, one million people will watch TEDTalks online, and scores more will attend motivational events, read books, go to school, or consult with their mentors.

They, like us, are searching for a cure for stagnation, a guiding light not at all dissimilar to those that shine from the heart of great speeches like Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, or Gloria Steinem’s “Address to the Women of America”.

But just what exactly is it that makes these sources of growth, whatever form they take, so inspirational?

Is it the charisma, the power, the knowledge of those who craft the words they contain?

Is it the words themselves? Those emblems of strength and liberty?

Or perhaps it is the atmosphere that surrounds them? The collective knowing of an audience ready for change?

It is all of these things, and it is none of them.

It is you.

We can argue the definition of a motivational speaker, but not the definition of motivation. Motivation is desire. It comes from within. Hearing someone talk about how they found success will not make you successful. A story of fortitude and courage can’t magically make you as resilient as titanium and as brave as a warhorse.

What you do with the words you absorb is what matters.

Maybe you think that’s obvious, but too many people fall into the trap of thinking that buying a ticket to an event, picking up a book, or browsing inspirational quotes will insight change.

They won’t. They never do.

The only thing that matters is how much effort you’re willing to put in; what steps you’re prepared to take to combine hopes and vision, and transform them into reality.

So go along to inspirational festivals and events. Watch them online. Read. Let the motivational feed you their knowledge, experience, and excellence. Use them to fuel your resolve.

Then get to work.

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