Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

Laddu Pinto was a young professional. He always had a vision of becoming a StartUp Unicorn. He was a man bubbling with ideas.

Laddu had some severe challenges in his life. Well, it was nothing external which did bother him. He was off and on vacillating in between sessions of optimism and desperation. He was worried because of this pattern of his mood behaviour. On some days, he was rocking high on hope; on others, it was as if he was struggling with depression.

When Laddu met me intending to get a solution for his problem, I asked him to share various other details of his life. I gathered sufficient insights about his professional and personal life circumstances. Having done my primary research, I understood where the real issue was.

During our conversation, Laddu said that he has a library at home. Reading is undoubtedly a great habit. He told me that he has read thousands of self-help books. In fact, whenever a new book on motivation is on the seller’s shelf, Laddu Pinto is one of the early readers!

Friends, I am sharing all that I told Laddu through this column. I asked him to define two words: 1) Motivation & 2) Inspiration. He did not have any distinct understanding of these two words. Most of the time, he uses these words interchangeably.

In reality, motivation and inspiration are two different entities. Motivation is like that IV supply of glucose in a sick body. On the contrary, inspiration is the natural process of developing proteins and vitamins inside!

Motivation is like a short-term recharge, while inspiration has lifetime validity. Motivation can only help you take a few steps in life. Inspiration enables you to make a long-term plan.

When you look at things not happening as per your expectations, you need some motivation to get a fresh energy boost. However, looking at “why” things are not happening the way you want – brings in clarity. This clarity of goals, triggers inspiration in your soul. In a way, inspiration and clarity are two sides of the same coin.

Motivation could be a great starting point, but it becomes risky when it doesn’t become self-sustainable. You feel motivated when you read a motivational book or listen to a high-voltage motivational speaker. This is when the seeds of fear and confusion get nourished with the water of hope.

An artificial jack-up of your confidence can be very risky at times. We have seen people jumping into the sea of projects much beyond their preparations and capabilities. This happens only because of unrealistic self-confidence. This cosmetic courage, in turn, is usually the outcome of an articulated dose of motivation.

I asked Laddu, “How do you find a location when travelling in an unknown territory?” He said, “I use google maps”. I further asked, “When you are navigating with the support of the map and miss taking that important turn, what does the map do?” Laddu replied, “It reroutes.”

Friends, this act of rerouting is similar to the impact of motivation. It can, at best, put you back on track. However, you will travel further and arrive at your destination only when you have clarity of your goal. You must know where you wish to go. You must understand why you want to go there? When your purpose and vision are clear, it leads to the birth of inspiration.

Start working on your clarity when motivational pep talks and videos do not inspire you. When you get the answers to your “why’s” the demons of demotivation get kicked out of your life. You become inspired.

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India