Are we “too inspired” to care?

20 Feb 2018

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From the pre-internet age of sleazy movie posters and magazine covers to the annoying online banner ads of the 2000s, we’ve now shifted to an era where companies are trying to “ethically” grab our attention.

Do you know what the best way to do this is? It’s through a basic need; one that goes beyond food, clothing, and shelter. It’s our constant need for motivation, inspiration and personal growth.

It’s not just businesses that are trying to inspire us though. People have poured inspiration and motivation all over the internet. From “Good morning” and “Good night” messages on WhatsApp and talks from motivational speakers on YouTube, to repeated quotes from famous people, the internet’s been a riot.

And as a result, there is so much inspiration and motivation around us now, that we have, over the months and years become numb to its effects. I like to call this effect inspiration numbing.

Think about it. Our brain has a simple policy: Ignore everything that isn’t new or subsequently useful at first glance. When online ads started, we were surprised by popups. Soon, those got annoying, and we started getting banner ads that flashed. When those became too irritating, we moved on to video ads. It’s a slow but steady shift.

It’s easy to spot this pattern with advertisements. But what about inspiration and motivation? Have we begun ignoring it too? I think we have. Just the other day, I was scrolling through a bunch of inspirational quotes, and I realized that I had started ‘automating’ the task of looking at them, just like we’ve started ignoring so many advertisements. Instead of seeing what made these quotes unique or special, I was classifying them into a particular pattern and moving on.

So, to try and understand the different types of inspirational quotes and stories around us, I decided to classify them. Yes, very dramatic and “inspiring”, I know. Read on.


(1) Self-entitling

Where the author tries to tell you that only you can take charge of your own life.

‘Only I can change my life. Nobody can do it for me.’ – Carol Burnett

(2) Visionary

Where the author paints a big picture and encourages you to work towards it.

If you can dream it, you can do it. – Walt Disney

(3) More-er

Where the author tells you that what you’re doing is not enough and you need to do more.

‘The more we do, the more we can do.’ – William Hazlitt

(4) Insightful

Where the author shows a different approach towards looking at something. These quotes can actually be pretty interesting.

‘Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does’ – Evan Esar

(5) You fall before you rise

Where the author tells you that you’ll fail before you succeed.

‘Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up’ – Christopher Nolan

(6) Metaphorically hopeful

Where the author leaves the piece open to interpretation.

‘Only in the darkness can you see the stars’ – Martin Luther King Jr.

(7) The hybrid

Where the author employs combinations of these patterns for greater effect.


Now, the important thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with these quotes or what they convey. The problem lies in our inability to process and imbibe these due to their sheer saturation.

Basically, inspiration isn’t as inspiring anymore, simply because there is too much of it. You could say that this has helped make us less gullible and more grounded, but on the other hand, it has also made us a bit lazy. When everything’s said, done, and tried out, why bother?

One could make a case that it’s not just inspiration, but all other emotions that we are bombarded with on the internet – and you would be right.

Humans are experiencing an overall numbing of emotional processes because of saturation and lack of novelty due to repetition.

There is, I dare say, one solution to this problem and it’s not exactly easy to pull off. It is to redirect the time we spend passively on the internet to doing something off it instead.

We tend to spend time scrolling through endless feeds because they are designed to hook us. We should be able to consciously cut back on this time and try to use it elsewhere. If it helps – you aren’t helping yourself by scrolling through these feeds unless you have a tangible end-goal in mind. Maybe spend that time pursuing another hobby. Try writing, try reading something good, try listening to different genres of music, try your hand at photography or walk through cities without your phone.

The internet is always going to be there for us. The question is, can we show enough self-respect and self-worth to not fall for its “unlimited supply of inspiration”?

Hi! I hope you enjoyed the read.

Before you go, here’s a challenge for you. Whenever you see anything inspirational or motivational try classifying it into the 7 categories above. You can share your findings in the comment section below.


I write stories and poems and compose songs when I’m feeling inspired. I love meeting artists and creators and collaborating with them. Talk to me about books, movies, music, food, cats, dogs and coffee!

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