“It is not so much work that tires us, but ego-driven work. When we are selfishly involved, we cannot help worrying, we cannot help getting overly concerned about our success or failure. The preoccupation with results makes us tense, and our anxiety exhausts us. Do not ask ‘Am I equal to this job?’ It is enough that the job needs to be done and that you are doing your best to get it done.” – Eknath Easwaren
When it comes to the actions we take, there is an important distinction to be made between two basic types of action: motivated and inspired.
Most of the action we take is motivated action. I define motivated action as action motivated by the personality/ego.The personality is motivated to feel safe, secure, loved and admired. If the personality is feeling insecure, threatened or attacked (which it almost always is) it is motivated to do something about it to try to make those feelings go away. Work harder, longer, smarter. Defend, protect, advance, attack. Motivated action can bring about lots of achievement and is often admired as a sign of success. The downside is that it is energy consuming action that depletes us and leaves us exhausted, stressed out and anxious over the results of how things turn out. Motivated action is “push” action where the personality/ego is pushing us to take actions that will make us feel more secure through attempting to change outside circumstances. It is exhausting and ultimately not fulfilling.
Inspired action is action inspired by the Soul. The Soul isn’t motivated by a need to feel safe, secure, loved and admired. It is already all of that and more. It just wants to contribute what it is here to contribute to others and to express its natural qualities of love, freedom and creativity. Inspired action is energy creating- we feel more energy after taking inspired action. Inspired action is more about contribution and less about accomplishment, that’s one way you can tell the difference. When we take inspired action, we’re not attached to how things turn out- we just contribute what we feel inspired to contribute and that brings us intrinsic joy regardless of how things appear to turn out. Inspired action is “pull” action that is prompted by our Soul’s desire to more fully express itself. It is exhilarating when taken, but is often resisted by the personality because it usually takes the personality out of its comfort zone.Motivated action depletes energy. Inspired action produces energy. Click To Tweet
What’s Your Action Ratio?
How much of the action you take today will be inspired vs. motivated? 0%, 5%, 10%? The point isn’t to try to come up with a measurable number, but to start noticing what is beneath all your action and to maybe start pausing more when you notice it is motivated action and reflect a little more about what might be your Soul’s inspired action.
For me writing the Spiral Up Yoga book and creating the website and all the content and then doing what I can to let other people know about it are definitely in the inspired action category. I know because:
1) The idea of doing it excites me and scares me at the same time- but the excitement eventually wins out
2) I am always MORE energized AFTER taking actions than before taking action– the action I take actually PRODUCES more energy than it consumes.
3) I feel a deep sense of fulfillment and peace about it and am not really attached to how things turn out or how “successful” it is in terms of money and reach. It is enough for me to know that my soul has pulled me into action and I am taking action.
I’m not suggesting you should only take inspired action and never take motivated action. Probably not available to you as long as your personality is still running the show. But I am recommending getting clear on why you are doing what you do and making it a priority to add a little more inspired action into your action mix (and a little more inspired inaction too- which is another way of saying chill and let things that are out of your control unfold as they will).
Questions to Ponder:
What actions do you take on a regular basis that are clearly motivated actions? How do you know they are?
What actions have you taken that are clearly inspired actions? How do you know they are?