Inspiration beats Motivation hands down

18 June 2024, Tuesday

Sport is the arena of the modern day gladiator.

And just as Roman intellectuals, businessmen and political leaders delighted in observing and cheering the athletes of their era, so do their equivalents today.

Not just as an escape.

There are many life lessons and insights to be drawn from the playing fields.

One such insight is knowing the difference between motivation and inspiration.

Watching our Bokke – and our Proteas, this past weekend reminded me again that motivation is a word which simply does not appear in the dictionary of the great champions.

Motivation implies that one is short on motive, or doing something one does not want to do. Inspiration, on the other hand elevates human performance to levels of greatness.

It’s about being inspired to do.

For both our teams it was clearly obvious that they know their job – and it’s not merely to win, but rather

to give ‘pride and hope’ to our nation.

Rugby is a great game, but it’s still just a game. The Boks lost, but it’s the way in which one loses which makes all the difference.

The Boks gave it their all. While France rolled over and capitulated to the Number One ranked team in the world, the Boks took it to the wire – going down fighting to the very end. They never stopped believing.

And it’s the way in which the Boks play ‘the game’ which impresses .

Bok flanker Francois Louw, after being on the receiving end of a Richie McCaw elbow charge that resulted in 20 stitches to his face, had only the following to say:

 I’m not sure; I think it was at the bottom of a ruck.

Hard men playing the game hard.

Of course, Francois Louw was honoring the great camaraderie which exists between the All Blacks and Springboks – off the field of play.

Inspiration ultimately comes from knowing the difference between one’s goal – ‘which is to win ‘, and seeing the bigger picture

– ‘to lift the nation and give pride and hope to our people.

It’s higher purpose which unifies and drives the collective – and it’s the magical ingredient which we often call ‘Bok Gees’.

And on Saturday we saw how quickly it can close the world ranking gap. With purpose, everything becomes possible

Well done Bokke.

Great Gladiators.


  • Rob’s new book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater is available FREE  as an instant digital download on his site :