Guest Post: Inspiration + Aspiration

by Leo Babauta

leo_babauta2I deal every day with questions about how to stay motivated, how to stay on track, how to be excited about what I’m doing, how to stay grounded and balanced. Do you face these same issues?

What I’ve been playing with are inspiration and aspiration. Followed by perspiration.

Each of these words have the Latin verb for “to breathe” at their roots. We breathe in inspiration, breathe out our aspirations, and breathe through our hard work that brings us perspiration.

When we’re plagued with self-doubt or a lack of motivation, we can breathe in the inspiration of others. Seek out the passion that other people have for their work, the compassion they bring for other people, the goodness in their hearts that inspires them to do their work. We don’t have to copy what they’re doing, but instead be inspired by their spirit.

When we feel this inspiration, we can then look inward and find what it is that we’re called to do. And why: is it to build a better world, to help others who are struggling? Take this good intention, and infuse it with the newly inspired spirit you have. And then breathe it out into the world as your aspiration for today. What do you aspire to create? How do you aspire to help others?

And then finally, put in the hard work to make this aspiration happen. The best inspiration and aspirations are nothing but hot air without perspiration.


Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, where this post first appeared.  Babauta is a former journalist, a husband, father of six children, and in 2010 moved from Guam to San Francisco, where he leads a simple life.


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