Inspiring the future

By: Dr. Lance Secretan
It starts as soon as we climb out of bed in the morning. A vast array of impulses and information begins to stream across the broadband of our consciousnesseven before we are fully present in the world. We may begin the day with some precious moments in intimate connection with family or friends, even if just to review the after-school carpool schedule. But the radio, TV or newspaper soon sucks us into a vortex of violence, crises and tragedies. Already we are we multitasking. We pack up our children and their lunch bags and backpacks, and on the fly, we review the school day and work assignments. Breathless and wound up, we hurl ourselves into traffic, and our own unique workday worries as we flow into the world, juiced with fear. And we wonder why we are not more inspired.
Fear has become the dominant experience in many of our lives. We are afraid of health risks, suspicious of business institutions and governments, nervous about financial insecurity and just plain scared of terrorism, violence and dying. Fear is used regularly in organizations to produce motivation and change. Fear is also regularly used to motivate people in family, religious, and in educational settings. Because fear is so widespread in modern society, it seems like a natural part of life.
However, fear places a wedge in our relationships and distracts us from our daily tasks. It diminishes our effectiveness in the world and the contributions we make as humans. Our basic primal desire is to love and be loved; the second is to inspire and be inspired. But when fear rules our hearts, there is little room for love or inspiration to reside there.
Yet, there remains a place within each of us that yearns to inspire and be inspired. We long for experiences that fill our days with joy and love. So why is it so emblematic of our times that we are more afraid and less inspired than ever before? Great athletes, artists and musicians know that the quality of their work depends upon mental, emotional and spiritual preparation. The rest of us are no different-this kind of preparation affects everything we do in our lives.
In recent years, we have begun confusing the words “motivation” and “inspiration.” The word inspiration is derived from the Latin root spirare meaning “spirit,” to breathe, to give life. Webster’s Dictionary defines inspiration as “breathing in, as in air to the lungs; to infuse with an encouraging or exalting influence; to animate; stimulation by a divinity, a genius, an idea or a passion; a divine influence upon human beings.”
Inspiration is that moment when we access the ineffable, spiritual experience inside us. It is our muse, our creative juice—love and passion and joy bursting from our heart in a tide of beautiful energy. We’re not judging others or ourselves—we’re uncritical and unbothered by behaviors or attitudes that in uninspired moments are frustrating. It is an inner knowing that transcends any external motivation. It is quite different from motivation because motivation is a relationship between personalities, while inspiration is a relationship between souls.
Motivation comes from a place of fear. It creates an attitude of scarcity and self-concern: “I want to change your behaviour with a reward or incentive, so that, if you meet the targets or goals I set for you, I will meet my own needs and goals.” Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from a place of abundance, service and love, with no strings attached: “I love you and wish to serve and teach you and help you to grow.” When we motivate, we serve ourselves first; when we inspire, we serve others first. Motivation comes from the fear inside us; inspiration comes from the love inside us. They are almost opposites.
After 40 years of study, research, writing and teaching on this subject, it has become clear to me that inspiration plays a central role in helping people live fulfilling lives and creating good societies. Inspiration is a serving relationship with others that makes the world a better place.
Technology stands as another critical factor shaping our world. While we benefit greatly from the recent surge of technological innovation such as the internet and mobile phones, we seem to have made a Faustian bargain. Our world has become so accelerated and the demands of life so demanding there is little time to slow down and listen to our souls. It seems we are more invested in solving the small, the mundane and the often superficial problems of life, than in asking the more important questions. We are in danger of under-nourishing our inner souls, forgetting to invite it to be an equal partner with our worldly egos. In the process, we find ourselves dragging our weary minds to work or school or to our parenting roles, while leaving our hearts behind. We’re exhausted, with no spark left for the deeper essence of life.
If we truly wish to move from being tired to inspired, it will take courage, energy, creativity and effort. Doing lots of things at once leads to doing many things poorly. Multitasking may contribute significantly to the decline of inspiration because it thwarts excellence. Can you imagine great concert pianists performing at the same time as checking their voicemail?
If we want to achieve mastery in anythingand therefore be inspired by our contributionwe need to focus on one thing at a time, and accomplish it brilliantly. This can happen by focusing our resources and talents, by slowing down, empathizing and serving others, by giving that rare gift: our full attention. The inspiring thing about inspiration is that it can naturally flourish in almost every aspect of our world including organizational leadership government, education, religion, media, healthcare and communications as well as the soul spaces that make up our everyday lives. This is because inspiration comes from that spiritual center that is within us all. By honouring our souls once again, we can restore joy, gratitude and inspiration throughout our lives.
This, however, poses a challenge for many of us because our experience has been forged through polishing our skills of manipulation and exploitation to unparalleled brilliance. Even though this cult of personality has ruled our society for many years, we can reclaim higher ground by rediscovering and revering our souls once again. This will be a new experience in our time and therefore a difficult change, but it will yield a quantum leap in human fulfillment and inspiration, producing a change so profound that it will seem like a revolution. We each have the power to choose whether we live a life that inspires or one that feeds on and generates fear and scarcity.
Many of the people who have brought the most good to our world deeply understood the importance of inspiration. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. Gandhi’s life was authentic; when asked to describe his mission he said, simply “My life is my message.” Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King didn’t have a quality program or a strategic planthey didn’t need onebut they each knew their destiny and they had a cause so compelling that it became a magnet for the passion of others.
All great leaders and teachers have known three things: Why they are here on this planet-their Destiny; What they stand for-their Cause; and, What they will do, how they will serve others with their gifts and talent- their Calling. I call this understanding the Why-Be-Do. Those who have clarity about their Why-Be-Do lead authentic lives and inspire others through their example. They know how to bring out the best in others, and they have a gift for being inspired themselves.
Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos Cookies, has let inspiration be his guide in the business world. He is a warm, larger-than-life character, and uses his fame to support educational causes. Wally’s lifelong goal has been “helping people feel good about themselves.”
When you stand in the presence of someone, like Wally-someone who has a deep, inner knowing of their purpose in life, someone who is very clear about Why he is here on Earth, about how he will Be while he is here, and what he has been sent here to Do, you can feel the power of his energy. This is the power of knowing the answer to these three questions: the source of inspiration.
Our society’s emphasis on motivationthe heart of 90% of efforts in the behavioral field todayhas caused us to focus unwarranted energy on the mechanics of human relationships, instead of the essence. It’s like seeking the scientific data about the sunset rather than the joy, beauty and experience of the sunset itself. Creating an inspiring relationship is something one lives, not something one does. As jazzmaster Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” This is how we become as accomplished in inspiring others through love as we have become accomplished in motivating others with fear.
Our spiritual, emotional and physical wellness would grow in a world that was more aware of the impact of language and content in our day-to-day communications, relationships and transactions. The toxicity of fear would be replaced with inspiration.
Organizations would become more inspiring places in which to work if our leaders spoke the language of love and not fear. Labor-management relationships would be more inspiring, and reach more positive agreements, if we approached our labor disputes by considering shared needs, not egos or firmly-held positions. Our marriages and relationships would be more inspiring if we embraced them as powerful, uplifting and sacred gifts, knowing that love grows and marriages endure when both parties are committed to inspiring each other every day.
We all have the capacity to inspireif we choose tobut it is more about being inspiring than it is about telling others to be inspiring. As Albert Einstein said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
Lance Secretan is a Toronto-based organizational strategist, pioneering philosopher and bestselling author. Here is his Why/Be/Do: Destiny: To help create a more sustainable and loving planet; Cause: To inspire others to honour the sacredness in all relationships; Calling: To lead and serve through my writing, teaching and speaking. Explore what inspires with this Why/Be/Do worksheet.

This is Your Story

At the Optimist Daily, we believe that building a better world is possible, and that as an online media platform, we have a role to play in building this world. Our vision is a future that’s better for everyone, not just the fewand we believe can achieve this by empowering people with a more holistic understanding of complex issues and a greater sense of agency. Our goal is to not only keep people informed, but also to inspire them to engage, learn and lead.
People all over the world are living out their vision for a better world. We want to celebrate all of you who are engaged citizens, leaders and drivers of progress, innovation and optimism, making the world a better, more livable place. You move us, and it’s time to show the world what the future looks like! We want to know what inspires you and what you’ve done as a result of that inspiration. Share your story of inspiration and hope in action with us at sadie@optimistdaily.com.
By sharing, you help us show the world how we can each make a positive difference and your story may be highlighted on our website, social media or featured in the upcoming launch of our community platform. As we connect each of your stories of hope into a constellation of action, YOU will inspire even more good.
Here’s to each of you – the do-ers and the builders of tomorrow!
Explore What Inspires You…
What is your Why/Be/Do?
Ask yourself:

  • Why are you here on this planet?

 

  • What do you stand for? How will you be while you are here?

 

  • What will you do? How will you serve others with your gifts and talent?

 
Now write it like this
My Destiny is to
 
My Cause is to
 
My Calling is

Solution News Source

Inspiring the future

By: Dr. Lance Secretan
It starts as soon as we climb out of bed in the morning. A vast array of impulses and information begins to stream across the broadband of our consciousnesseven before we are fully present in the world. We may begin the day with some precious moments in intimate connection with family or friends, even if just to review the after-school carpool schedule. But the radio, TV or newspaper soon sucks us into a vortex of violence, crises and tragedies. Already we are we multitasking. We pack up our children and their lunch bags and backpacks, and on the fly, we review the school day and work assignments. Breathless and wound up, we hurl ourselves into traffic, and our own unique workday worries as we flow into the world, juiced with fear. And we wonder why we are not more inspired.
Fear has become the dominant experience in many of our lives. We are afraid of health risks, suspicious of business institutions and governments, nervous about financial insecurity and just plain scared of terrorism, violence and dying. Fear is used regularly in organizations to produce motivation and change. Fear is also regularly used to motivate people in family, religious, and in educational settings. Because fear is so widespread in modern society, it seems like a natural part of life.
However, fear places a wedge in our relationships and distracts us from our daily tasks. It diminishes our effectiveness in the world and the contributions we make as humans. Our basic primal desire is to love and be loved; the second is to inspire and be inspired. But when fear rules our hearts, there is little room for love or inspiration to reside there.
Yet, there remains a place within each of us that yearns to inspire and be inspired. We long for experiences that fill our days with joy and love. So why is it so emblematic of our times that we are more afraid and less inspired than ever before? Great athletes, artists and musicians know that the quality of their work depends upon mental, emotional and spiritual preparation. The rest of us are no different-this kind of preparation affects everything we do in our lives.
In recent years, we have begun confusing the words “motivation” and “inspiration.” The word inspiration is derived from the Latin root spirare meaning “spirit,” to breathe, to give life. Webster’s Dictionary defines inspiration as “breathing in, as in air to the lungs; to infuse with an encouraging or exalting influence; to animate; stimulation by a divinity, a genius, an idea or a passion; a divine influence upon human beings.”
Inspiration is that moment when we access the ineffable, spiritual experience inside us. It is our muse, our creative juice—love and passion and joy bursting from our heart in a tide of beautiful energy. We’re not judging others or ourselves—we’re uncritical and unbothered by behaviors or attitudes that in uninspired moments are frustrating. It is an inner knowing that transcends any external motivation. It is quite different from motivation because motivation is a relationship between personalities, while inspiration is a relationship between souls.
Motivation comes from a place of fear. It creates an attitude of scarcity and self-concern: “I want to change your behaviour with a reward or incentive, so that, if you meet the targets or goals I set for you, I will meet my own needs and goals.” Inspiration, on the other hand, comes from a place of abundance, service and love, with no strings attached: “I love you and wish to serve and teach you and help you to grow.” When we motivate, we serve ourselves first; when we inspire, we serve others first. Motivation comes from the fear inside us; inspiration comes from the love inside us. They are almost opposites.
After 40 years of study, research, writing and teaching on this subject, it has become clear to me that inspiration plays a central role in helping people live fulfilling lives and creating good societies. Inspiration is a serving relationship with others that makes the world a better place.
Technology stands as another critical factor shaping our world. While we benefit greatly from the recent surge of technological innovation such as the internet and mobile phones, we seem to have made a Faustian bargain. Our world has become so accelerated and the demands of life so demanding there is little time to slow down and listen to our souls. It seems we are more invested in solving the small, the mundane and the often superficial problems of life, than in asking the more important questions. We are in danger of under-nourishing our inner souls, forgetting to invite it to be an equal partner with our worldly egos. In the process, we find ourselves dragging our weary minds to work or school or to our parenting roles, while leaving our hearts behind. We’re exhausted, with no spark left for the deeper essence of life.
If we truly wish to move from being tired to inspired, it will take courage, energy, creativity and effort. Doing lots of things at once leads to doing many things poorly. Multitasking may contribute significantly to the decline of inspiration because it thwarts excellence. Can you imagine great concert pianists performing at the same time as checking their voicemail?
If we want to achieve mastery in anythingand therefore be inspired by our contributionwe need to focus on one thing at a time, and accomplish it brilliantly. This can happen by focusing our resources and talents, by slowing down, empathizing and serving others, by giving that rare gift: our full attention. The inspiring thing about inspiration is that it can naturally flourish in almost every aspect of our world including organizational leadership government, education, religion, media, healthcare and communications as well as the soul spaces that make up our everyday lives. This is because inspiration comes from that spiritual center that is within us all. By honouring our souls once again, we can restore joy, gratitude and inspiration throughout our lives.
This, however, poses a challenge for many of us because our experience has been forged through polishing our skills of manipulation and exploitation to unparalleled brilliance. Even though this cult of personality has ruled our society for many years, we can reclaim higher ground by rediscovering and revering our souls once again. This will be a new experience in our time and therefore a difficult change, but it will yield a quantum leap in human fulfillment and inspiration, producing a change so profound that it will seem like a revolution. We each have the power to choose whether we live a life that inspires or one that feeds on and generates fear and scarcity.
Many of the people who have brought the most good to our world deeply understood the importance of inspiration. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa. Gandhi’s life was authentic; when asked to describe his mission he said, simply “My life is my message.” Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King didn’t have a quality program or a strategic planthey didn’t need onebut they each knew their destiny and they had a cause so compelling that it became a magnet for the passion of others.
All great leaders and teachers have known three things: Why they are here on this planet-their Destiny; What they stand for-their Cause; and, What they will do, how they will serve others with their gifts and talent- their Calling. I call this understanding the Why-Be-Do. Those who have clarity about their Why-Be-Do lead authentic lives and inspire others through their example. They know how to bring out the best in others, and they have a gift for being inspired themselves.
Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos Cookies, has let inspiration be his guide in the business world. He is a warm, larger-than-life character, and uses his fame to support educational causes. Wally’s lifelong goal has been “helping people feel good about themselves.”
When you stand in the presence of someone, like Wally-someone who has a deep, inner knowing of their purpose in life, someone who is very clear about Why he is here on Earth, about how he will Be while he is here, and what he has been sent here to Do, you can feel the power of his energy. This is the power of knowing the answer to these three questions: the source of inspiration.
Our society’s emphasis on motivationthe heart of 90% of efforts in the behavioral field todayhas caused us to focus unwarranted energy on the mechanics of human relationships, instead of the essence. It’s like seeking the scientific data about the sunset rather than the joy, beauty and experience of the sunset itself. Creating an inspiring relationship is something one lives, not something one does. As jazzmaster Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” This is how we become as accomplished in inspiring others through love as we have become accomplished in motivating others with fear.
Our spiritual, emotional and physical wellness would grow in a world that was more aware of the impact of language and content in our day-to-day communications, relationships and transactions. The toxicity of fear would be replaced with inspiration.
Organizations would become more inspiring places in which to work if our leaders spoke the language of love and not fear. Labor-management relationships would be more inspiring, and reach more positive agreements, if we approached our labor disputes by considering shared needs, not egos or firmly-held positions. Our marriages and relationships would be more inspiring if we embraced them as powerful, uplifting and sacred gifts, knowing that love grows and marriages endure when both parties are committed to inspiring each other every day.
We all have the capacity to inspireif we choose tobut it is more about being inspiring than it is about telling others to be inspiring. As Albert Einstein said, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
Lance Secretan is a Toronto-based organizational strategist, pioneering philosopher and bestselling author. Here is his Why/Be/Do: Destiny: To help create a more sustainable and loving planet; Cause: To inspire others to honour the sacredness in all relationships; Calling: To lead and serve through my writing, teaching and speaking. Explore what inspires with this Why/Be/Do worksheet.

This is Your Story

At the Optimist Daily, we believe that building a better world is possible, and that as an online media platform, we have a role to play in building this world. Our vision is a future that’s better for everyone, not just the fewand we believe can achieve this by empowering people with a more holistic understanding of complex issues and a greater sense of agency. Our goal is to not only keep people informed, but also to inspire them to engage, learn and lead.
People all over the world are living out their vision for a better world. We want to celebrate all of you who are engaged citizens, leaders and drivers of progress, innovation and optimism, making the world a better, more livable place. You move us, and it’s time to show the world what the future looks like! We want to know what inspires you and what you’ve done as a result of that inspiration. Share your story of inspiration and hope in action with us at sadie@optimistdaily.com.
By sharing, you help us show the world how we can each make a positive difference and your story may be highlighted on our website, social media or featured in the upcoming launch of our community platform. As we connect each of your stories of hope into a constellation of action, YOU will inspire even more good.
Here’s to each of you – the do-ers and the builders of tomorrow!
Explore What Inspires You…
What is your Why/Be/Do?
Ask yourself:

  • Why are you here on this planet?

 

  • What do you stand for? How will you be while you are here?

 

  • What will you do? How will you serve others with your gifts and talent?

 
Now write it like this
My Destiny is to
 
My Cause is to
 
My Calling is

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