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How Do I Get Inspired and Motivated?

How Do I Get Inspired and Motivated?

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Hi,

How can I inspire myself so that I will be more excited to do good things?

Thank you for your assistance in this.

Answer:

Keeping inspired is a lifelong journey, and most of us, at one stage or another, have to face the challenge of being uninspired. However, asking this question shows that one is on the correct path.

An Introduction to Inspiration

It seems that some people are inspired on an almost a daily basis; however, it could be that nothing much ever comes of it. This kind of inspiration is “a tale . . . of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Other people plug along, doing what they have to, every day, whether they are inspired or not. In Judaism this is called kabbalat ol, accepting the yoke of serving G‑d, and it is truly an elevated form of serving G‑d.

To keep on doing, keep on going, even if you’re tired, even if you’re not “turned on,” even when you feel like there is nothing left within you—that is truly holy. The Chinuch—an anonymous thirteenth-century sage—wrote, adam nifal lefi peulotav,” a person is worked upon by his works. Or, in modern lingo, “Fake it ’til you make it.”

On the other hand, when you do feel inspired, what should you do to keep hold of the inspiration? The answer is that you need to translate that inspiration into action. Decide on an area of your life where you would like to improve. When you feel spiritually inspired, take upon yourself something small in this area that you can continually work on. It could be working on a character trait. For example, for half an hour a day you will work on not getting angry, or on greeting whomever you meet with a pleasant smile. It could be working on how you act towards your spouse or parents: from now on you will try to call your parents every day and ask them how their day was, or you will do one pleasant act for your spouse when you (or they) return from work. It could be something between you and your Creator: from now on, when you pray, you will focus on saying the words of a specific prayer with greater concentration, keeping in mind the meaning of each word.

Some Ideas to Inspire

  • Even if at this moment you cannot motivate yourself to be excited about something—do it anyway. After all, the important thing is the action and good deed. It may take some time, but G‑d willing, the intention and the excitement will come too.
  • Sometimes the best way to be inspired is by being an inspiration to others. When you give to others, you frequently receive way more than you give. And you may find hidden reserves within yourself that you never suspected were there.
  • It’s perfectly okay to ask G‑d for some help in this area. In the blessing before the Shema prayer, we ask G‑d to provide us with inspiration, feeling and excitement about His Torah and His commandments. While saying this, think about being more inspired.
  • Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains in his book, the Tanya, that there are two souls and life-forces within us: one that is the source of all good motivations, and one that is the source of animalistic motivations.

    He explains that there are “four elements” that encompass the animal soul’s characteristics:
    1. Anger and pride emanate from the element of Fire, which rises upwards.
    2. The appetite for pleasures emanates from the element of Water, for water promotes the growth of all kinds of pleasure-giving things.
    3. Frivolity and scoffing, boasting and idle talk emanate from the element of Air; like air, they lack substance.
    4. Sloth and melancholy emanate from the element of Earth, characterized by heaviness. A person encumbered by sloth and melancholy likewise senses a heaviness of the limbs.

    Passivity, lack of excitement or motivation, is what Rabbi Shneur Zalman describes as the element of Earth within our animalistic soul.

    The awareness and recognition that we are in a constant struggle can motivate us to act. And the more we overcome this block, and are excited about overcoming it, we grow and have the power to do even more. For a more comprehensive take on this concept, study the Tanya on our Tanya portal.

Please see Why Don’t I Feel Inspired Anymore? from our selection on Inspiration in Judaism.

Looking forward to hearing back from you,

Chaya Sara Silberberg
for The Judaism WebsiteChabad.org

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service.
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Devorah Marks Leeds, UK via judaismlive.com November 15, 2016

Inspirtion motivated If you wish to be inspired by those with indomitable spirit - I suggest you visit a Homeless Persons Hostel or "soup kitchen" because it is there you will feel inspired by speaking with those who possess so little materially - but who have a generosity of spirit & strong sense of kinship- which we should all emulate. Reply

Devorah Marks via judaismlive.com November 15, 2016

Inspiration If one wishes to feel inspired - one way is to extend yourself to support others - who are experiencing practical difficulties in coping with life. Their innate inner strength and determination to face up to & overcome severe ifficulties is in of itself truly inspirational - particularly as those so struggling against the odds are unaware they are inspirational to others like myself. They are often true philosophers just by way of their being as they are I try to emulate that spirit and inner strength. Reply

Anonymous Northbrook , Ill 60062 via chabadnorthbrook.com January 8, 2016

Ageing Life has become very hard. I am 82 my husband 84
I pray all the time.Even easy things are hard.My children & Grandchildren are very busy My son will come if I call!. I won't stop praying I still love life & I try & do good things. G-d give us strenth. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA March 20, 2012

This article didn't talk about blaming G-d. It is a helpful and positive article, and I am sharing it with everyone I know. My situation is that I know the right things to do in order to A) clean my apartment, B) lose my last 125 pounds (already lost 100), C) get to sleep at night and not have insomnia, and D) not be lonely. Yet, I had no motivation to do any of those things. I bookmarked this article so I can read it over and over again many times during the day! Thank you so much! BTW, I do not blame G-d. It is not His fault I am such a kvetch and so lazy and disgusting. It is hard getting old and being alone. Very, very hard. Never get visited by anyone, and you just want to sleep your days away until you die. This is the plight of senior citizens in America who do not have family they can live with, and no spouse or other significant relationship. Reply

Yossi August 10, 2011

Inspiration If you want inspiration just listen to Rabbi Bryski's talks...inspiration in your pocket!

And articles like these of course! =] Reply

Denise Rootenberg Thornhill August 9, 2011

Great simple but not simplistic article This gives some fascinating and useful insights in just a few paragraphs. I can read a book in a day but prefer shorter articles online, especially on Tisha b'Av when my brain is foggy from fasting.
I look forward to my weekly Chabad newsletter. Reply

Hany MTL, CA July 28, 2011

Elements Interesting. I would be interested to know how the aforementioned elements connect and what do they spawn in the Godly Soul...speculating that the opposite of the mentioned characteristics. Reply

Chaya Sarah Silberberg West Bloomfield July 19, 2011

If you woke up this morning, it's a sign that G-d hasn't given up on you.
G-d answers all prayers. Sometimes the answer is "No." No is also an answer.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
We're not fighting thanking G-d, praying, repenting, etc. - we're fighting apathy and a lack of excitement in our service of G-d. Reply

Anonymous Far Rockaway, NY July 19, 2011

Reply to Ginger God never gives up on us.

God is not a waiter to whom one can give orders. God always answers our prayers. However, sometimes the answer is not what we want the answer to be.

Sometimes God does not give us the healing or the wealth or the spouse that we asked for. Maybe God decided that what we requested would not be good for us, and that is why He did not give us what we wanted.

Recently John Paul Getty III died at the age of 52. Heir to one of the largest fortunes in the world, he had been blind and paralyzed for the last thirty years due to shooting up an illegal drug combination. When he died, I bet his first complaint to God was, "Why did you curse me with a billion dollars?"

Maybe God wants us to fight our suffering and our challenges. Maybe God wants us to become strong champions fighting not only for our own suffering but for the suffering of others as well. Reply

Ginger NYC, NY July 19, 2011

what if God gave up on us?
since He doesnt answer our prayers?
dont you teach that everything comes from God?
dont we have to thak Him for everything? for the Good just as much as for what hurts us?
dont you teach that suffering and tests and challenges re another way way of God showing His exceddeng love for us? ...so we repent so we seek Himm in Prayer etc etc etc?
so why fight that? Reply

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