I was explaining to a non-native speaker the difference between inspiration and motivation.
Inspiration - the reason for doing something comes from somewhere inside you.
Motivation - the reason for doing something comes from something outside you.
Then I was asked, "What if the reason is fear?"
So I explained, inspiration and motivation have a positive association. If the reason is because of anything negative or bad, better use motive
To which she replied, "What if there is no reason?"
I was a bit stuck. So I said, "Everything happens for a reason." I gave 2 examples:
Preservation - do it to keep what you have
Desperation - do it because of lack of other options
To which she followed up (paraphrasing here): "What if you do it because that's what you did before, even if the initial reason is now gone?"
I was stuck again. I thought maybe perseverance or persistence, but I was hoping for another -tion word ;)
So I'm here looking for thoughts on how to respond, other examples I can give, and corrections to what I've already said.