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

Thank you for your assistance in this.


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