The Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation


I get a lot of questions on where I get my inspiration and motivation to run Nerd Fitness, not to mention my own personal health and well-being.

I also want to talk about the difference between motivation and inspiration, and how I use both to level up my life.

I’m NOT inspired by actors who have personal chefs, personal trainers, nutritionists, and the time to devote 24 hours a day to getting healthy.  Sure, it’s fun to get motivated by them, but I know any comparisons are, at the end of the day, unrealistic.

I AM inspired by normal people like Joe, who dropped 130 pounds in 10 months while working a desk job and traveling two weeks a month.

I’m NOT inspired by the guys in the gym who spend all of their time doing six different bicep curls and four different ab exercises to make sure their perfect muscles are sculpted more perfectly.

I AM inspired by the sixty-five year old guy I saw last week deadlifting 400 POUNDS.  If I can deadlift half of that at his age, I know I’m doing something right.

I’m NOT inspired by the guy who loads up 315 lbs in the Smith Machine and does 10 “power curtsies” (which are squats that aren’t REALLY squats: they just drop down a few inches).

I AM inspired by the older lady, whose kids are in day care, who is squatting 75 pounds, and is squatting the right way: DEEP.

Yeah, it’s fun to be motivated by this, but I find myself more inspired by THIS little dude who’s trying:

Nike: Find Your Greatness Video

I’m not inspired by the people who have it all figured out.    

I AM inspired by the people who are working hard every day trying to figure it out.

I AM inspired by the people who say “I’ve failed before, which means this time things will be different.”

I AM inspired by people who took a crappy situation, accepted personal responsibility, and changed their fate or channeled Iron Man to make the most of it.

I AM inspired by people who refuse to fall victim to ‘good enough syndrome.’  They instead compare themselves to who they were yesterday.

I am inspired by the Nerd Fitness community; I try to be better for them, to inspire them right back.

If you don’t have it all figured out, don’t worry. Nobody does!

If you are struggling to see progress, don’t forget to give yourself a quiet fist pump for getting skin in the game in the first place and figuring it out.  I had no clue what I was doing ten years ago, and to this day I am still learning…but every day is an opportunity to learn, adjust, and adapt.

Perfection is the enemy of progress. Waiting for the perfect opportunity or the perfect plan will result in nothing ever happening.  Educate yourself a bit, but put one foot in front of the other, and figure things out as you go.   That’s how the rest of us did it…but you need to start in order for that to happen.

Try and don’t be afraid to fail, but make sure you fail differently.

the truth about achievement

mountain top

Don’t get me wrong, I love a montage just as much as anybody, whether its Rocky IV or South Park.

And yeah, I could watch this video all day for motivation:

How bad do you want it? (Video)

In fact, that’s why we created NerdFitness.TV – so you can get that burst of motivation when all hope seems lost.

HOWEVER, I get my inspiration elsewhere because montages don’t give us a realistic look at life – just the highlights.

Montages are 3-5 minutes of the best parts of MONTHS  or YEARS of hard work with all the realism cut out. Real achievement is full of blood, sweat, tears, boogers, illnesses, and competing commitments. It’s full of moments of confusion and self-doubt. You don’t see the vomit after the cameras stop rolling, the sacrifices made to get from the before to after; the nights lying awake wondering “why the **** am I doing this?

I love the montage, but I get inspired by the months of work between takes.  Real achievement is messy.  It’s ugly. It’s boring.

And it’s awesome.

Don’t compare your daily struggles against somebody else’s highlight reel.   Montages take time.    

I’d love to hear from you in the comments:

What drives you daily to be better?

From where do you get your inspiration?



photo sources: mountain top, inspire

The Last Fitness Program You’ll Ever Need

Workouts, nutrition guidance, and habit-building. Never wonder where you should put your limited time, energy, and effort.

Get our FREE Starter Kit with dozens of resources today!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.