The Problem with Inspirational Content

March 15, 2020

Happy Sunday!

Today comes the post that will make me sound hypocritical. Maybe I am hypocritical. Let me know in the comments. ;)

But today I’m discussing my gripe with inspirational content.

I don’t know if my post On Comparison “qualifies” as inspirational content, but if it does, I’m about to sound like an idiot. Here we go. XD

I have a love-hate relationship with “inspirational” content.

Now, there’s not really anything wrong with inspirational content, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not bad or immoral or whatnot - it’s just a way to get people hyped up and to encourage others to keep going. And I love that; it seems like pessimism dominates the Internet, and inspirational content is a nice break from that.


This is how viewing this content goes for me.

1. I pull up a random inspirational video, probably while procrastinating, and I say, “This’ll give me the kick in the pants I need.”

2. I watch the motivational video and really enjoy it - I can feel the inspiration coming back!

3. I say, “Wow, that was incredible! Just one more, and I’ll be ready to start writing/doing homework/chores/that thing I need to do but haven’t yet.”

4. I search “motivational videos” or look for motivational blog posts.

5. Thirty minutes pass of me consuming inspirational content.

6. I look at the time and realize - what have I been doing for the last half-hour? The inspiration high  is beginning to fade, and now the stress kicks in. But I decide to make the most of it and pull up whatever I’m supposed to be doing.

7. I work for approximately thirty seconds.

8. I stare at whatever I’m doing in frustration and throw my pen down (okay, that’s an exaggeration) and think, “I can’t do this. I’m not those people in the videos who can get everything done perfectly. What am I even doing?”

9. I stress out and procrastinate even more. My mindset becomes way more negative, and I start beating myself up for not doing things. Which makes my stress levels go up more, which means I don’t do the things, etc. etc.

Obviously, this is a bad system. XD

As creators, as students, and as people in general, we all want that inspiration, that positive motivation to keep going. Homework is not the most enjoyable thing to do, and sometimes writing isn’t either. We’d rather do the fun and games before we sit down to work, and we think that inspiration will fix this.

But if you take on a mindset of needing inspiration, before long, you’ll stop wanting inspiration for getting things done and start wanting it because it feels good.

The fact is, creating isn’t about how much inspiration you have. It’s about how much perseverance and patience you have. It’s about if you’re willing to work even if you don’t feel like it or want to. Because that homework assignment isn’t going to finish itself, and that story isn’t going to write itself.

And honestly? I’ve found that the best inspiration comes from doing the thing. You can look back and say, “I wrote that book, and I think it was kind of decent. So I can definitely write this book.”

Please, don’t rely on inspiration. It can only take you so far, one step on that journey of a thousand. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll begin to enjoy inspirational content more than you enjoy acting on that inspiration.

And of course I’m not perfect at this either. 99% of this post is calling myself out for my mistakes. But I think we need to stop getting inspired and start doing the stuff we want/need to do.

And besides, if you spend all your time on consuming inspirational content, you won’t have any time to act on that inspiration, when you should REALLY be working on whatever you want to be doing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll stop procrastinating by writing this “anti-inspiration” post thing and start getting my ACTUAL homework done. XD


-Nicole <3

Do you guys enjoy inspirational content? Do you find yourselves going through that cycle? Let’s talk!

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  1. Wow, this is so true. I've been so guilty of looking at my messy room and then looking up "videos that make you want to clean your room" instead of actually just cleaning the darn room. xD And of course, we all know YouTube is a blackhole of distraction, so you can imagine where that usually went.

    I admit I've been waiting for inspiration to write lately... I've been pretty frustrated with myself because I've wasted so much time NOT writing because I don't feel motivated. But you're right, if it's something that NEEDS to be done or something that you're passionate about, sometimes you've just got to DO it.

    Great post, Nicole! <3

    1. Haha, I get that - YouTube is such an abyss of procrastination, honestly XD.

      You’ve got this! I believe in you! :D

  2. Wow. I related to this so much Nicole!! I've found it definitely helps me to get more inspired if I actually do it, because then I know I CAN do it. :)

    1. That’s very true!! Thank you for reading! :D

  3. #relatable This is so true! Ugh, I do this all the time! Thank you for calling me out on it. ;)

  4. I totally agree with you on this, Nicole! I loooove inspirational content, but it can be a huge distraction to me at times and end up doing the opposite of inspiring. Your whole content-viewing process is practically the same as mine...XD Often times, I forget to do the things I need to do and make excuses like "I'm getting inspired," but I need to actually get things done instead! Great post <333

    1. *nods* I agree 100%! (Oh, good, I’m not the only one who does that. XD) You can do this, Ash!! (And thank you! <3 <3 <3)

  5. THIS IS SO TRUE. Nicole, I love this. :)

  6. I agree with this! If I'm being completely honest, a lot of times I gain inspiration from actually watching people doing something more than just someone talking about inspirational things. I also like how you kept this post relatively short and simple.

    1. That’s a very good point - watching people do things is way more inspiring than just listening to them talk about it. Thank you!

  7. Dude. DUUUUUUDE. I needed to hear this. This is revolutionary. O_O I didn't even realize I was having this problem. This is EXACTLY my problem!

    Just... wow. I was talking to a friend today about how I feel this NEED to feel super inspired to conquer everything on my to-do list, but I never feel inspired enough and nothing gets done the way it once did. I think I've just realized, thanks to this post, that the reason for that is that I USED to just DO stuff. And I've fallen away from that. I'm relying on inspirational content x100.

    Definitely bookmarking this! :D

    1. Aaaaaahhh, I’m so glad this helped!!!!

      Haha, I feel the same way. XD but YES YES YES.

      *wait, someone actually BOOKMARKED my post??* *dies repeatedly*

  8. This is so true! Sometimes you just have to do it, inspired or not.

  9. haha this is a mood. i struggle so much with inspiration and all i need to do is get it done. But the procrastinator in me can't help it..

    1. XD XD honestly, saaaaame - why does that procrastinator have to be so darn loud???

  10. This is SO TRUE. Goodness. I need to hear it, too. And it's not even just inspirational content! It's also with things like reading (you have to read good books to write good ones, which is all fine until you spend hours you should have spent writing reading MORE and MORE and finally realizing, rather bleary-eyed, that you should have done productive things but you didn't because you wanted to read and then you should have gone to bed but you didn't want to because going to bed having accomplished nothing was admitting to having wasted your day, and now it's three a.m. and WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF). But yeah.
    It is one hundred percent true that HAVING DONE THE THING is the best inspiration. When I look back and be like "hey,I wrote this story! I actually wrote it! The whole thing!" it's pretty much the only reliably inspiring thing. Which is probably because it's not the inspirational feelings kind of inspiring. It's a different, grittier kind of inspiring. Idk. Anyway, thank you for this post, it was amazing and needed. And now I had best be off to DO THE THING. XD

    1. Oh my goodness, you absolutely NAILED IT. I didn’t even think about this in regards to reading, but that’s so so true!
      And yes, I agree! It definitely isn’t the same as watching an inspirational talk. *nods*
      Thank YOU for this comment - I loved reading it! And YES, DO ALL THE THINGS! :D


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