Dr. Chad Sato
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

The world that we live in is largely created by either taking action or being passive and allowing things to happen. For years, I’ve heard many say, “follow your passion” and you have to build your energy up and motivate yourself to succeed at anything. Children and a lot of us growing up have been conditioned to either study hard to get good grades or to succeed in sports with the old saying of “practice makes perfect” is encouraged. If this was so true, why do some succeed and so many fail? This is where you need to differentiate between being motivated or being inspired. These two terms appear to be synonymous but are vastly different. The difference is due to the factors that push one to either follow their dreams at all costs or to just give up due to being dictated by one’s highest values. The interesting thing to note is that all great plans go amiss, or self-sabotage will result until you are able to determine what your absolute truth is.

As spring time is just around the corner and the April showers are leading to May flowers, taking the time to decide what you want to do regarding your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy will help you to create what you want to manifest for the rest of the year. If it’s vibrant energy and achieving a stronger sense of vigor, then this must align with your highest value. If you are focused on discovering your vocation or building your finances, vibrant health may take the back burner. That is why a bizarre health condition may arise to make you focus on yourself and due to the suffering and will make it a priority over your other supposed values. Hence differentiating between motivating or inspiring yourself to act is important in achieving your health and wellness goals.

Motivation versus Inspiration

Motivation comes from an external source and hence usually one needs to constantly push themselves to keep focused and on track. That’s why motivation over time fails due to the lack of a bigger why. The why must be big enough for you to stay determined and have a strong conviction even when things appear to be insurmountable. It takes a lot of energy to keep pushing and convincing yourself to do something that you don’t really consider to be that important to you. Inspiration comes from an internal source and does not need any prodding or pushing, because your “why” is big enough. You are focused and determined to do whatever it takes to achieve what you want. Furthermore, the origin of the word passion is from the late Latin passionem meaning to “suffer and endure.” The origin of the word inspiration also comes from the Latin, inspiratus, which is to “to breathe into, inspire.” Just by looking at the origins and meanings of the two words, which one feels lighter and uplifting? The power of words and their meanings cannot be discounted especially when certain idioms that we tend to say have more merit than we give credit for. One idiom, “so and so is such a pain in the butt,” usually is caused by a situation or mentioned person that in our perception is creating the pain. 

Physically Inspired

It’s amazing how many times, unless if you are totally inspired to have “BBE” the best body ever, when life throws us curve balls and as challenges mount, we get out of our routine and do the little things to keep us physically sound. Taking time to exercise or just moving your body seems to be too much to do and we find ourselves thinking “bumbye, I will get back to it soon.” That soon goes from one month to a few and then if we are not mindful, it can extend to years. Our diet is next to follow and fast food or comfort foods such as chips, chocolates and ice cream become the go to. Lack of sleep and feeling sluggish then makes you lazy and self-judgments ensue. New Year’s resolutions become a rallying point to get back into shape or reclaiming your summer body. However, you can be motivated for a while to fit into those tight-fitting jeans, but unless you are inspired to having a healthy and vibrant body, which helps you get your highest values, self-sabotage will likely occur. 

Mentally and Emotionally Uplifting

Have you ever experienced the frustration of motivating yourself to stay happy and find that something always seems to happen that ends up making you sad and bummed? Or working so hard to change your diet, lifestyle and exercise only to find yourself getting injured, sick, or overwhelmed with work or family obligations? All the supposed gains you made just slips away and you are back at square one. If you find yourself nodding your head and wishing to get back on the wagon and do things for yourself to bring more mental and emotional wellness to your life; shift your mindset from having to motivate yourself to becoming inspired. The way you can fortify your inspiration is to link a particular action such as eating healthier and being consistent with an exercise or movement regiment to your highest value. Until you see how doing this particular action will help you achieve your highest value, you will lack inspiration and drive to implement it in your life. Example: if you value family – by linking the fact that by exercising or eating healthy foods helps you be more energetic, have more stamina, be a good role model for your family members the more inspired you will be to keep it up. 

Divine Inspiration

If you are inspired to discover and identify with your true spiritual well-being, there are some things that you can do. The one mainstream technique is to quiet your mind by meditating. As simple as it may sound, meditating is one of the most challenging and difficult things to do. The reason being is to switch off your monkey mind and to just be present in the moment. The way society is right now with so many things to grab your attention from texts, social media and appointments, it takes major will power and a bigger “why” to quiet the mind. If you have never unplugged, these actions may help you to develop your spiritual inspiration. These actions are to leave your smartphone at home and go to the beach; take a hike in the mountain; go to your favorite park or botanical garden. Immersing yourself in nature is a quick sure-fire way to calm your nervous system and to quiet the mind. If you are a townie or city slicker, getting used to being in nature may at first be challenging, but the more time you spend in nature you will find how you will start to attune to nature’s calming and peaceful ambiance. 


In closing, choose the path of least resistance or inspiration and discover that when you are governed by your internal state versus external promptings your life will begin to flow seamlessly. You will have your occasional bumps and trials, but when inspired you will find a source of power and inner strength that will get you through those moments. Know yourself and align with your truth and be reassured that you can create the life and body you so desire. 

Dr. Chad Sato graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned the Doctor of Chiropractic degree with honors from Life Chiropractic College West in 1998. Sato founded his practice, Aloha Chiropractic (drchadsato.com), in Mänoa valley, O‘ahu, on Oct. 1, 1999. He is a sought-after educator, speaker, author and mind-body specialist who helps people reach new levels of empowerment when it comes to their health and wellness by staying present with their body signs, making appropriate life choices and utilizing stress instead of managing it.


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