The Policy of Inspiration

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The carrot and stick approach is a policy that refers to the use of rewards and punishment to effect a change in the behavior of another. I’ve seen parents, teachers, coaches, managers and even preachers use it. It’s a convenient way to get people moving, but the problem with this approach is that its effect is only temporary.

I’ve found that such alternate of choice scenarios obfuscate a more desirable, yet less obvious solution. In this case, neither carrot nor stick are sufficient to galvanize the heart and mind of a man into action. Only the fire of inspiration can do this.

Inspiration results whenever a blessing is received. That blessing might come from within or it may be delivered by the hand of another. In either case, inspiration results.

If you have to resort to motivating those in your world with a carrot or a stick, you’ve probably missed a few opportunities to inspire along the way. If those around you are unwilling to be inspired, you’ve probably not been consistently inspiring. If you had been, those who refused to accept your inspiration would likely have been repelled long ago and you’d be surrounded by those who are eager to move from being inspired to being inspiring.

It’s a magical policy, really, but one that takes diligence, patience and wise service to enact properly. The primary requirement for anyone desirous of following this policy is fidelity to the spirit of love. Nothing less will do.

7 thoughts on “The Policy of Inspiration

  1. Zach

    Inspiration is a beautiful thing. It has the potential to uplift all that it touches, regardless of any obstacles that we may think are in the way.

    Outside inspiration is a spark, but the real goal is to ignite the internal inspiration of those who are willing. The power of inspiration is a given to those who are inspired themselves, yet is surprisingly powerful to those who have not had the pleasure of being inspired.


  2. David R

    In order to maximize the effectiveness of “carrot and stick” tactics, those who wish to control others effectively have often encouraged a culture – family, corporate, social or religious – that would make carrots more appealing and sticks more thoroughly feared. People are so conditioned to this approach that a transition to inspiration-based leadership is often met with either skepticism or outright terror! The first challenge can be to coax people out of their protected zones so that something new can be experienced!


  3. Chuck Reddick

    Thanks for today’s wonderful post Gregg. To me you hit the essence of why we, for example, even do business or have a business. And that essence is to provide value, genuine value, to others. We should not need a carrot and stick in order to do that should we! We should provide that because of what is in our heart: to be of value to others and to assist others to see the greatness in themselves. And because it is the right thing to do as well.


  4. Lady Leo

    The magic of using inspiration as a means to motivate others is you find yourself surrounded by people that inspire you too! Wonderful post, thank you.


  5. Coco

    Inspiring another requires we let go of any rigid thoughts we have about the outcome. Sure we want what is in their best interest but in the end it is their choice.


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