Perspiration before Inspiration


Yesterday at work I felt myself hit a bit of a post lunch dip. I had a lot to do, but found myself feeling a bit uninspired. Sometimes when that happens I’ll do something unproductive like check a friend’s blog or look over some fantasy basketball stats for a few minutes. But yesterday, due to some New Year’s Resolutions and the amount of things I needed to get done, I felt the need to overcome my lack of motivation. I thought, “Perhaps I can quickly find something to inspire and motivate me and then get right back to work.” I went to one of my favorite sites,, and searched for “inspiration” to see if I could find some words to get me going.

What I found caught me a little off guard, not because it was something new, but simply because it wasn’t what I was looking for; however, it was exactly what I needed. Check out some of the great quotes about inspirations:
We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

- Frank Tibolt

Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.

- Pablo Picasso

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

- Jack London

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.

- Leonard Bernstein

They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.

- Eric Hoff

Basically, the main message I got out of these quotes was that inspiration and motivation come to those who learn to work even without feeling inspired or motivated to do so. Despite what Heinz Ketchup or more recently Guinness Beer would have you think, the best things DO NOT come to those who wait (remember those commercials? the ketchup ones are quite a bit older). Good things come to those who get off their butt and work. Come to think of it, this even holds true with ketchup—after all, Heinz does sell a squeeze bottle now. Maybe that whole “proverb” was just made up by clever marketers trying to sell products that don’t provide the instant gratification that their competitors’ products did. I digress.

The quotes above also reminded me of a passage from talk by former LDS President, Ezra Taft Benson that I used to read when feeling lackadaisical on my mission:
“I have often said that one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."

You can substitute the word Spirit for inspiration or motivation (and what better source of inspiration or motivation can there be than from God’s Holy Spirit), and you can substitute all references to missionary work for whatever it is that you want to accomplish—the message still applies—you must work to become inspired, not be inspired to work.

I believe that the truly great and successful people in this world are those who have the discipline to do a thing even when they might not feel like it. In the end, inspiration and motivation come to those who work. Perhaps that’s why Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” So if you’ve got something to do, go out there and get to it. Even if you’re not sure where to start, start somewhere and you’ll figure it out as you get into the details.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my lunch break is over and I’ve got to get back to work.

Linda Winegar

My greatest blessings call me Mom.