top of page

Motivation v Inspiration and their 3 friends; fear, shame, guilt.

The distinction between #Motivation and #Inspiration and some insights about their three companions: Fear, Shame and Guilt contributed a lot to this Moody Cow project being a private art hobby for me while I took a month out to reflect, and a platform I've now made public to document my imperfect journey into academia, while sharing what has helped me with my own mental health journey.

First, a distinction about Motivation and Inspiration

#Motivation is typically an external force applied to the human to aid them in getting into and staying inside some form of meaningful action. When the Motivation eases, the productivity eases. Motivation often comes as a carrot or a stick. It has its place.

For example, there is an area of the brain that responds to rewards for timely milestones. That is to say - milestones the brain deems achievable. Dopamine is used to promote continuous effort being applied as the brain seeks said reward.

That reward wants to reflect that person's hierarchy of interests in order to be effective.

#Inspiration is an internal fountain that emerges inside a moment of mind/body alignment that is typically experienced as an 'ahah' moment. The individual is spontaneously inspired to get into and remain inside meaningful action without the need for (external) motivation to be applied. Inspiration typically endures into the long term, when there is an awareness and understanding of the role of Fear, Shame, and Guilt (I call these FSG Triangles) that emerge when inside meaningful action. They play a role in the growth required to become the version of you that gets to step into the final outcome. When we don't fully understand the role of an FSG triangle, we can meet these 3 cowboys and retreat. We don't have the awareness, (thus we don't get to access the innate abilities) to engage this force emerging to greet us, on the way to what we are here to achieve.

Fear, Shame and Guilt - the gift of growth

#Fear is typically most felt in the heart, and almost always is about the future.

#Shame is typically in the body, and almost always about the present moment.

#Guilt is typically in the mind, and almost always about the past.

Being prepared for this lot to show up inside your form of action, means you recognise the valuable (yet uncomfortable) opportunity they are presenting you with. To grow into your future self, while shedding parts of the old self that no longer serve you.

When the Moody Cow idea landed for me back in February 2023, I loved it. I loved the humour of the name, I loved that it was a kind way of poking fun at myself, and that it was apt for the art project I was getting myself immersed in.

What showed up a few months later, when this project - for myself, was morphing into a public facing project, was Fear, Shame, Guilt.

I took the time to be present with all three; using breath work to get into my body and open dialogue and with trusted mentors, I got into dialogue with what was going on.

I was able to fully be present with the overwhelm inside me in ways that shfted the experience in a couple hours. In the past, this would have taken me months, enough time for my brain to convince me why it would be better for everyone, if I just said nowt.

This time, those FSG Triangles were embraced and welcomed in for tea with a whole lot of curiosity. I didn't examine the surface level communication rushing towards me, instead I examined the underbelly that was driving these three cowboys into my arena.

Examining what was behind the overwhelm meant I could bring a lot of my history into my current awareness, that I was then able to process out of my space. Left brain-right brain fully engaged for a complete processing of (those) events to transpire and fall away as quickly as they showed up.

Working with those FSG Triangles in this form, I was afforded the opportunity to grow (up) (yet again) allowing me to become the next version of me that gets to step closer towards the end goal.

Allow me to point to the obvious here. I am on a journey to accomplish something that will take a good few years and a lot of work. The version of me today, isn't ready to step into that final frame. Between now and that end goal, I will be upgrading into the version of me that gets to own that end goal, I'm guessing, 3761 times over. In my experience to date, the layers of the onion are infinite. ;)

FSG Triangles play a really important role, for all of us, to accomplish great things. If I wasn't in a position to dance with these 3, I would not have been able to shift Moody Cow into the public domain, embark on a PhD, or pursue the excitement in my heart.

The images used in this blog, are images from my series of coloring books found in the Shop - I love them, I love that they are fun, full of micro learning and act as a tool to Be Present. Check out all three series: #ShouldersOfGiants #TimelyReminders #MindfulPractices $9.99 USD on Amazon, worldwide, or €4.99 for the instand download in PDF format here on this site.


Dr. John Demartini - my teacher and mentor of 10 years, he is one of the most significant influences on my life so far. The Breakthrough Experience - a weekend long course (something I've done about 2 dozen times over those 10 years) is one of the most quintessential experiences that shifts your world in all sorts of tangible ways the morning after it's complete.

His work has created so many powerful distinctions for me over the years, and his tools and methodologies have contributed to my self awareness expanding 10 fold inside each of those weekends. His work can be a really powerful lens with which to see yourself, and the world around you.

The FSG Triangles I talk about above - are something I made up - and will be writing about in far more detail in the coming months. I don't have any specific source to share with you on this one just yet.

bottom of page