Inspiration vs Motivation – Diana Nyad

georgespatton164737_m-resizedYou often hear these two words, inspiration and motivation, used interchangeably. But they are significantly different. Abraham discusses this and I had never really differentiated them before hearing it from him.

Motivation comes from the external, outside of you; inspiration comes from within – it’s internal.

Which do you think is more powerful?

Take this picture for example. When you hit bottom, people can cheer and jump up and down yelling at you to get up and keep going (think “Drill Sergeant” or perhaps “volunteer” 🙂 ). Think about this situation. Would that make you get up and bounce right back into the fray? It might help but what will really get you back up and raring to go is what’s inside of you – what’s driving you to keep going.

Think of Diana Nyad who right now is almost 24 hours into her swim of about 103 miles. This is probably not even 1/3 of the way – swimming continuously, no stops (has to tread water to eat and drink), no sleep, no rest, nothing! You and I got to go to sleep last night. Or even if we were good friends and wanted to continue to track her, we would not be exerting every muscle of our body over and over again with no end in sight.  Do you think that the motivation that Diana is receiving from her support team and friends is enough to keep her going through such fatigue, hallucinations, pain, exhaustion, etc? Heck no! That would never be sufficient to get her to “bounce back up” or keep going. Of course it helps and is actually vital in someone’s success.

However, this kind of drive comes from within – deep within. It has to come from within or otherwise there is absolutely not definitive reason to put yourself through all this. Even love can’t provide that much inspiration. But when you combine love with a dream, there is NO stopping you at all. That is what is driving Diana. This is a dream she has held within and cultivated for 35+ years.  Think of wine and how valuable it is when it’s aged. People cherish it and know how much it means. There’s no difference with this. Diana’s dream has been planted, marinated, loved, nurtured and even brought out to see if it was “ready” for fulfillment (her other attempts). But it wasn’t ready to be put out there as complete. Now it is. And it will be her internal inspiration more than anything else that will get her across the Ocean. She has pulled out all the stops to conquer those darn Box Jellyfish and now is her time.

Take today to look within and find out what your true desire and inspiration is.

Go Diana, Go!


What I Learned in Just 7 Days, Part 3 – Momentum

 As I started my attempt at running a second marathon in 7 days yesterday, I wondered what the next 7-8 hours would bring. My first steps let me know it wasn’t going to be a great day at all  – my shins were burning making me stop frequently (just like the old days). They eventually loosened up so I kept plodding along. I wondered how I could feel so cruddy after only 4 days off and why it was taking me so much energy to just think I could even finish the half-marathon to say nothing of actually doing the full marathon. I was amazed at the downward spiral my mind was taking. I was filled again with self-doubt and self-judgment/criticism – the bane of our existence. It was as if that special week in time was a figment of my imagination, a dream, even a fantasy…..How could I possibly have done 7 days in a row and done a full marathon after 5 halfs and now with this 4 days off I can’t seem to do anything? What was going on?

But then I realized it was about momentum!

I was able to do the other events because I had the momentum and just “kept going”. As I was running (a combination actually of running/walking yesterday) I drew the parallel between this sequence of events with my realization and life and pursuit of any dream/goal. It’s interesting how we can continue moving forth once we get started and even the uphills don’t seem so bad because we are already moving. But if we stop for a bit and then try to get started again, going uphill in life consumes a phenomenal amount of energy and it seems so much easier to just turn around and go backwards down the hill or just stay where you are, never venturing further up the hill. I remember the one thing I never wanted to do was get off my bike on  a hill because for me it was virtually impossible to produce the amount of energy it took to just get started when you’re already on the hill. To keep on going no matter how slow while the wheels are spinning takes energy for sure but not as much as starting from scratch.

Maybe this is why so many people have trouble when they are “dieting” (it applies to the pursuit of any goal however). You do really well and then for some reason, something happens and you aren’t as “perfect” as you think you should be. At this point, it’s like stopping on a hill (the way most people look at diets or weight loss) and it’s probably a hill you didn’t want to be on to begin with anyway. Starting up the hill again (resuming your rigid control of your food intake) takes so much energy and seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Rather like me yesterday thinking “how on earth did I do all that last week – or did I really do it? How am I going to be able to run even 13 miles today?”. Looking at the accomplishment – the final result – was the insurmountable obstacle. I had to readjust my vision and focus (remember we talked about that in part 3) to concentrate only on the next step, the next mile, the next lap etc. That was the only way I was going to regain any momentum because the 4 days that my life returned to ‘normal’ had disrupted that amazing momentum that I’d had and relished in.

So what did I learn from that? You have to keep the momentum going no matter what it takes. The danger zone lies in stopping. We can’t ever stop moving – preferably moving forward in some way, shape or form, but at least moving in some manner. When you work toward your dreams, your goals, those things you want to pursue, examine your feelings and use your feelings to generate the passion that will produce the momentum for you. Take small steps, look only at the small chunks (my new favorite phrase is “chunk it down”) for they seem much less insurmountable than the big picture. Just keep going in some way shape or form.

And even more importantly you just HAVE to have a support team and a coach. Even if the “coach” is not an official coach, create one. Find someone you can work with or even just look up to. I keep reiterating that without Parvaneh (the most wonderful race director in the world) I would not have even thought I could accomplish any of this. And yesterday was no exception, she and the other folks continuously cheered me on.

In case you’re wondering, I did complete the full marathon and I’m pretty darn proud of it. The last 4-6 miles were very tough for me but then Parvaneh, Angela and Dagmar dragged me with them for the last mile and I made it.

Just keep moving forward!


In Spite Of

Here’s a great Emmet Fox post:

Success consists in the overcoming of difficulties. All men and women who have made a success of any kind have done so by overcoming difficulties. Where there are no difficulties to be overcome, anybody can get the thing done, and doing so cannot be called success.

There was a time when laying a telegraph line from New York to Boston presented many complicated changes. Then there was a time when doing that was easy, but laying the Atlantic cable was a great achievement, because of the perplexing areas which had to be overcome. Later on, marine cable laying became a routine business, but radio across the ocean presented problems which for a time seemed insurmountable. Then those difficulties were overcome too.

There are no personal areas that cannot be transformed by quiet, persistent, spiritual treatment, and the appropriate wise activity.

If you have a personal experience that seems to keep you from success, do not accept it as such, but capitalize it and use it as the instrument for your success.

H. G. Wells had to give up a dull underpaid job because of ill health, so he stayed at home and wrote successful books and became a world-known author instead. Edison was stone deaf and decided that this would enable him to concentrate better on his inventions. Beethoven did his work in spite of his deafness.

Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly child and was told he would have to lead a careful retired life. He was a very short-sighted and nervous little boy. Instead of accepting these suggestions, however, he worked hard to develop his body and became, as we know, a strong husky open-air man and big game hunter. Gilbert wrote Pinafore on a sick bed, wracked with severe pain.
The owner of a fashionable dress business in London started with northing but good taste in clothes and a belief in prayer, and is a wealthy and successful woman today.
Whatever you think your disadvantage is, capitalize it. Spiritual treatment and courageous determination can overcome anything.

Emmet Fox

Did September 11th 2001 Change Your Life?

The hearts of everyone in the United States stood still that horrific day in 2001 and our brains were numb. In fact, most everything was numb in most of us. Such is the human body’s reaction to tremendous trauma like we experienced that day. Not that there has been anything like that in most of our life times. But were all those lives lost in vain?

If you didn’t change your life and your outlook on life after that fateful day, then yes, they were lost in vain.

That was a day when we all questioned the existence of a good God, Higher Power or Divine Mind. You’ve read how we tell you to say “I declare it good”. How could we possibly declare that event good? You have to look at tragedy and know that something good will come from it. This applies not only to the world but to you and your daily life.

Please take some time today and do two things. One is to remember the bravery and selflessness that was exhibited all over our country that day, especially in New York where no one ever thinks good things can happen.

The second thing I want you to do is to look at how your life has changed because of that day. Did you realize that you must live each day to the max – that there may not be a tomorrow? Did you realize that we are not alone and that selfishness does not get us anywhere? That when the chips are down we must take care of and support each other? Perhaps you learned not to be so judgmental? Or maybe it was to tell people you loved them at every possible opportunity?

I encourage you to post below any memories or thoughts you have regarding that day in America – never forget the sacrifices and courage exhibited in New York, DC and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001. Post your feelings and thoughts.  What motivated you that day?

For those of you not in the United States, post how that day has affected your life as well.

We will never forget and we learn from the stories of strength and survival.