Inspiration vs Aspiration

The inspirational Emily

The inspirational Emily

Tonight I had a coaching call with one of my amazing clients, Emily, and she said, “I’ve stopped following anyone on social media who is aspirational. I only follow inspirational people now.”

BAM. That hit me like tonne of bricks. I had never even thought about the difference between the two because people so often use them interchangeably. But it is the insatiable desire to have more and achieve something that won’t actually make us happy – that makes us unhappy! Whereas inspiration is an inner feeling that can produce happiness on its own.

Google’s definitions:

Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Aspiration: characterized by wanting to achieve social prestige and material success.

My definitions:

Aspiration appeals to the ego, while inspiration appeals to the intuition.

Social media is a brilliant place to start cutting aspiration out and editing inspiration in.

I’m going to take a leaf from Emily’s book and do a bit of an inspiration audit on my online consumption.
Is that person inspiring? Are they inspiring me to be a better me? To push my limits? Or are they aspirational? A hollow symbol of success, wealth, fame, beauty? Causing me to believe I’d rather be cool than happy?

I think we confuse the two because we admire both kinds of people.

Here’s my litmus test to tell the two apart:

When you consume their content, do you feel:

a) motivated and encouraged?
b) envious and dissatisfied with your life?

Be. Honest.

I can already think of a few Instagram personalities I need to unfollow once I’ve finished writing this!

Thank you Emily for the inspiration to write this post!