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Unraveling The Truth: 8 Big And Common Myths About Motivation

Kitten unraveling ball of pink yarn illustrating the blog topic of unraveling the myths about motivation.

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There are as many myths about motivation as ways to be motivated. Sometimes motivation is needed because it is Auld Lang Syne’s time. Maybe a significant life event makes us know we need to make changes. Other times, we just know we must stop doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result. ITS TIME TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! But where do you start?

Sometimes, we are afraid to even dream of changing because we tried- it didn’t work, rinse and repeat. But there’s a saying that to get something you’ve not had before, you have to do something you haven’t done before. That sounds like a cute bumper sticker at first. But it can seem terrifying when thinking about implementing it.

Let’s unravel the truth, whether changing behavior, learning a new skill, starting something new, or starting all over. Let’s untangle the concept of motivation. Once you understand the myths about motivation, you can really get something done this time. Let’s do this!

A cup of coffee sitting next to a notebook with the words motivation vs inspiration written on the paper.

Myths About Motivation #1: Motivation and Inspiration Are The Same Thing (Get A Cup Of Coffee This Might Take A Minute).

Most people use the words “Motivation” and “Inspiration” interchangeably, even though they are actually two different paths to the same destination. They are different critters, but you need them both to get things happening in your life.

Sometimes, you feel motivated to do something but need inspiration for where to start. You can also feel inspired to take action but need more motivation to follow through. The good news is that motivation comes from feelings about things outside of you. Inspiration comes from feelings within you. Feelings come from thoughts, and fortunately, you can change a thought. Embracing that gives you an enchanted steering wheel for heading toward what you really want.

As we mentioned, motivation usually comes from feelings about something outside yourself. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) tells us that we humans do everything to gain pleasure or avoid pain. This gives a good picture of how motivation works.

Road sign with the words happy life ahead.

For Example, You Are Motivated To Gain Pleasure When:

  • You want a better car, so you are motivated to save money. This might also motivate you to get an extra part-time job and stop eating out.


  • You have a class reunion coming up, and you want to feel great in a new outfit. This motivates you to get a gym membership and stop hitting the drive-thru.


  • You know having more education will get you a better job or position. This motivates you to find the time and money to return to school.


  • You know that children of smokers have a higher risk of being smokers. This motivates you to kick the habit so your children might not pick up the habit.


  • You know that children who are read to tend to be readers. You also understand that children who enjoy reading do better in school. This motivates you to give priority to story time before bed every night.
Woman standing in front of car with the hood up illustrating one of the myths of motivation.

You Are Motivated To Avoid Pain When:

  • Your car is undependable and often leaves you stranded. You are motivated to save money, get a part-time job, and stop eating out so often.


  • You have a class reunion coming up, but you feel way out of shape and unattractive. You are then motivated to hit the gym and cut some carbs so you won’t feel embarrassed.


  • If you don’t like your job and know more education will get you a better job, this motivates you to find the time and money to return to school so you don’t have to work in this place anymore.


  • You get a health scare. It turns out okay, but it motivates you to change your lifestyle because you never want to go through that again.


  • Your child is struggling in school. The teacher says he will only move on to the next grade if his reading skills improve. Now, you are motivated to have story time and reading time to keep your baby from being held back.


Notice how each happens and makes you think, “I need to start doing this so something good will happen,” or “I need to stop doing that, or something bad is going to happen.” Know it is better to be running TO something instead of FROM something. So, we always recommend that more straightforward motivation comes from wanting something rather than trying to avoid something.

Woman tossing snow in the air illustrating one of the explanations about the myths of motivation.

So What Is Inspiration?

Inspiration comes from the inside. Motivation comes from outside. Inspiration comes from something creating a prominent emotion in you and making you want to do something differently. However, it still works from the same gaining pleasure or avoiding pain muse. Inspiration PULLS you by the heartstrings and “the feels,” as they say. Motivation PUSHES you with situations, facts, consequences, and results.

Examples Of Inspiration Would Be:

  • You witness someone doing something kind and helpful for others. This deep feeling in your heart makes you want to make that kind of contribution to help others.


  • You hear a song about being empowered and self-assured. It gives a sense of self that makes you want to act empowered and self-assured.


  • You visit a friend who is living a very comfortable life, and you feel a sense of need to do better and have better for yourself and your family.


  • You attend a charity function and see what difference this organization makes. You feel a need, an urgency to be part of something so helpful and vital.


In these examples, even though the trigger is something outside yourself, the need to change and start something new is a deep feeling coming from inside you. Many would even refer to it as a “calling.”

How Do Motivation And Inspiration Work Together?

Again, the motivation, “I need to lose weight,” will not get you anywhere without feelings (heart-felt calling) of why this change is so significant. On the flip side, inspiration feels terrific, but you need motivation (the action steps) to make it happen.

Get both moving in the same direction for the same reason at the same time, and it is called INSPIRED ACTION. This is the superpower in all of us that creates significant change.

Man with backpack sitting on mountain with binoculars illustrating one of the myths about motivation.

Myths About Motivation #2: Motivation Has To Come To You Instead Of Creating It.

This is one of the myths of motivation that we are so glad isn’t true. If it were, we would all be stuck hoping for the good idea fairies to show up for us. When you feel unmotivated, lacking inspiration, and just “meh,” it’s time to create motivation.

We recommend you lean more toward looking in places that gain pleasure rather than avoid pain. Gaining pleasure is usually much more pleasant and exciting. So what do you do when you just aren’t feeling it? Struggling? How To Motivate Yourself To Change Your Behavior 

Make a list (you know how we like lists…colored pens optional) of what makes you feel good and what makes you smile. Then, start doing some of those things. Good feelings will usually motivate you to create more of that. If you enjoy being with upbeat people who are making it happen in their lives, put it on the list. If you like walking in the woods with your own version of silence, put it on the list. Here are some more ideas of things to create motivation.

  • Listening to music that feels empowering and like you can overcome the hard stuff and deserve the good stuff.
  • Watch movies and read books about people who made their dreams come true. Notice that they are never superheroes or perfect humans. They are regular people like the rest of us who know what they want and don’t stop trying till they get there.
  • Have lunch with a friend who is living the life you want to own and takes notes.
  • Visit the neighborhood you want to live in.
  • Drive the car you want in your driveway.
  • Walk the campus of the place you want to go to school.
  • Find pictures representing what you want to look, feel, and be like.
Hand holding geometric heart, sunset in background.

Myths About Motivation #3: Motivation Has To Come From The Heart.

Inspiration is created in the heart. But motivation comes from your mind and what you think about. It comes from what you notice and what you choose and don’t choose. You are motivated to go to work because you enjoy what you do or you don’t want to get fired.

Because inspiration and motivation are so close, they may easily overlap. But motivation doesn’t have to be your life’s passion. You want to do it to get the result you choose. That’s not always easy, but it is fundamental and straightforward.  8 Mistakes And Motivation Killers To Your Personal Growth

Road with words start and success illustrating one of the myths of motivation.

Myths About Motivation #4: If You Aren’t Sure You Can Follow Through, You Shouldn’t Start.

This myth about motivation has left many people stranded on the tarmac of a great idea with a plane that will never get off the ground. As Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to know the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”

We forget that most people we admire were not trying to get famous or even wealthy. They were just motivated and inspired to do something. They did one step, then the next step, and then the next. Steven Spielberg wasn’t trying to become a household name. He just wanted to make movies. Amelia Earhart wasn’t trying to be famous. She just wanted to fly airplanes.

There are countless stories of people who created something that became something more significant than they imagined. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook started just trying to create a platform to keep students at Harvard connected. One motivation became something else. Most of us have not gone to Harvard but spend much time on social media.  

These people didn’t know where everything was going or if they could complete it. They just felt motivated and inspired to take action. They took that action and then another and then another. You only need to work on the step you are on.  How To Get Motivated When You Are Afraid To Dream

Man dancing in confetti illustrating one of the myths of motivation.

Myths About Motivation #5: If A Motivation Is Right For You, It Will Always Be Fun.

This is definitely a myth about motivation that needs untangling. Everything fun has some part that isn’t fun. Owning a boat is great. Cleaning a boat and buying gas for a boat is not. (Our boat-owning readers know what we are talking about.)

Owning a car is excellent. Paying for insurance or getting a ticket is not. Being in love is great. Navigating another’s feelings and perspective can be challenging. Having children is beautiful. Changing diapers and 2:00 AM feedings are not.

Just because you get to the part of your motivation that isn’t fun, interesting, or awesome doesn’t mean you have chosen poorly. Every job has parts that aren’t fun, but you can still be motivated in your work. Every motivation, every…everything has fun parts and…not so fun parts. It doesn’t mean anything.  7 Useful Changes To Becoming A Self-Motivated Person At Work

Man leaning against tree taking a nap illustrating one of the myths about motivation.

Myths About Motivation #6: If You Don’t Feel Motivated To Do Something, Take A Nap Until You Do.

Motivation needs movement and action. Don’t feel motivated to walk a 5K, start by walking around the block. Don’t feel motivated to get your degree (but know it’s a good idea)? Start with just taking one class. Physics tells us that an object in motion stays in motion. A motivation in motion will remain in motion, too. Success breeds success. The first step motivates the next step.

Picture of a handwritten A plus on a piece of paper illustrating one of the myths about motivation.

Myths About Motivation #7: If You Don’t Know How To Do It Perfect, Don’t Bother.

Perfection is not only one of the myths about motivation. It is also a motivation killer. Voltaire told us that perfect is the enemy of good. It sounds deep. What does it mean? It means you will be in your own way if you try to get something perfect. In trying to be perfect, you won’t try new things. You won’t take a chance. You won’t risk doing it wrong.

Just like normal is only a setting on the dryer, perfect is only a perspective. No matter how hard you try, you or someone else will think it’s not good enough. Never (we seldom use that word so listen up) strive for perfect. Strive for good and then keep going until it’s either as good as you can do or as good as you hoped it would be.

Person with a fearful facial expression illustrating one of the myths about motivation.

Myths About Motivation #8: If Something Is New And Scarey, Don’t Try It Until You Feel Totally Confident.

Of all the myths about motivation, this is the biggest of all. We have a fairytale in our head that everyone who seems confident is always confident. We want to believe that people who have achieved what they set out to do never second-guess the whole idea.

We tell ourselves that successful people never want to quit or begin to think that the entire motivation was a mistake. We believe others never have feelings of failure.

In reality, anytime you put yourself out there for other people to accept or reject, it is a scary thing. We want to believe that everyone else is doing this perfectly and we are the only ones who are scared. Whether it is matters of love, money, or reputation, we are all scared at some time or another. 7 Amazing Steps To Get Motivated To Love Again

Think of famous people you admire. Grab a book, stream a movie that tells the autobiography of their life. Barbara Streisand confesses that she used to throw up before she went out on every stage. Eric Clapton heard he couldn’t sing from a few different people. So did Bruce Springsteen.

Walt Disney was turned down by banks and investors 302 times before Disney World came to be. Talk about a confidence killer. Abe Lincoln ran for office 8 times and lost before he became President. Again,…hard on the confidence.

Anything new can be scary, even the really good stuff like new marriages, jobs, and babies. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Joe Vitale says, “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”

A woman sitting in the grass smiling, with words you can do this.

Don’t Believe The Myths About Motivation. Believe In The Reality That Is You And What Comes Next.

Once you eliminate all the myths about motivation, what is left is…YOU… and what you want, what you choose, and what you are willing to do. Once the myths are busted, what’s left is not only possible but waiting for you. What you are looking for is looking for you. You’ve Got This, and you are already…ready.  4 Powerful Examples of Inspired Action To Use When Motivation Fails

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Pixi-Pebbles For Unraveling Myths About Motivation…

Pixi-Pebbles are songs, quotes, videos, interviews, movie references, and books that we each personally pick for you.

We’ve used these little Pixi-Pebbles to move ourselves from a feeling we’re not enjoying very much…to a feeling that helps us discover our vision of intention, awareness, and direction.

They lead us to hope, possibilities, and a fire under our butt to live life by design instead of default.

In our blog, Unraveling The Truth: 8 Big And Common Myths About Motivation,  here is a Pixi-Pebble that came to mind…

Just a little inspiration to get you from here to there…

We love to find stories about real people, doing real things that create real inspiration. This one really resonated with us as we were writing this blog about unraveling the myths about motivation. Click here to read Dr. Bronwyn Herbert’s amazing and inspiring journey-you may just find a whole lot of inspiration and motivation from her!

Meet Nikki:

Nikki has a way of making almost anything meaningful, interesting, and fun. She loves cats, believes you can learn a lot about yourself by shooting hoops in the park, and has a mad love affair with trees. As a Certified Neuro-linguistic Programming Practitioner, Intentional Living Mentor, Reiki Master, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, she understands how to help others create change and has a talent for making you enjoy doing it.

Enchanted perspectives creator Nikki and Jennifer sitting against tree

Meet Jennifer:

Jennifer is a woman who definitely lives life by design. As an Artist, Certified Holistic Life Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, Spiritual Studies Mentor, and Certified EFT Practitioner, she helps others find their unique, magical, and authentic selves. She loves art, music, nature, travel and believes everyone can dance. Jennifer is a compassionate teacher that enjoys inspiring others to find their own creativity, intuition, and passion for life.
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