Change is a constant force in our lives, whether we like it or not. Sometimes it happens gradually, like the seasons, and other times it comes suddenly and disrupts our routines, plans, and expectations. Regardless of how change happens, it often creates a sense of discomfort, uncertainty, and even fear. But it can also bring about opportunities, growth, and progress, especially when we embrace it and take action.
What motivates people to struggle for change is a complex and multifaceted question that has intrigued philosophers, psychologists, activists, and leaders for centuries. Some say it’s a sense of justice and fairness, others argue it’s a desire for power and influence, and still, others claim it’s a deep-seated need for meaning and purpose. While there may not be a single answer that fits all situations, there are some common themes and factors that can help us understand what drives people to make a difference in their lives and communities.
In this article, we’ll explore what motivates people to struggle for change, how to harness that motivation for positive outcomes, and what challenges and opportunities arise along the way. Whether you’re a student, a professional, a parent, a volunteer, or a citizen, you’ll find valuable insights and practical tips that can help you navigate change, overcome obstacles, and achieve your goals.
What Motivates People to Struggle for Change?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, such as the context, the individuals involved, and the goals and values at stake. However, here are some common motivators that have been identified by research, experience, and observation:
1. A sense of injustice or inequality
When people perceive that something is wrong or unfair, they may feel compelled to speak up, take action, and demand change. This can happen at various levels, from personal to societal, and can involve issues such as discrimination, corruption, poverty, or human rights violations. When people see that their own or others’ dignity, rights, or well-being are at risk, they may feel a sense of moral obligation, empathy, or anger that motivates them to fight for justice and equality.
2. A vision of a better future
Sometimes people are motivated by a positive vision of what could be, rather than a negative reaction to what is. They may have a dream, a goal, or a belief that inspires them to imagine and create a world that is more beautiful, harmonious, and fulfilling. This can involve personal or collective aspirations, such as achieving a degree, building a community, or advancing a cause. When people have a clear and compelling vision of the future, they may be more willing to invest their time, energy, and resources in making it a reality.
3. A need for personal growth and development
Change can also be motivated by a desire for self-improvement and learning. When people feel stuck, bored, or unfulfilled in their current situation, they may seek new challenges, experiences, and skills that can help them grow and develop as individuals. This can involve pursuing education, traveling, volunteering, or taking on a new role or responsibility. When people feel that they are making progress and expanding their horizons, they may feel more motivated, confident, and resilient in the face of change.
4. A sense of identity and belonging
People often derive their sense of identity and belonging from their social and cultural context, such as
their family, their community, their religion, or their nation. When this context is threatened or undermined by external or internal factors, people may feel a strong need to defend it and preserve it. This can involve resisting assimilation, promoting diversity, or asserting cultural or political rights. When people feel that their identity and belonging are at stake, they may be more willing to struggle for change and to join forces with others who share their values and interests.
5. A sense of responsibility and accountability
Change can also be motivated by a sense of responsibility and accountability towards others and the environment. When people realize that their actions or inactions have negative consequences for themselves or others, they may feel compelled to change their behavior and make amends. This can involve addressing personal issues, such as addiction or mental health, or contributing to social and environmental causes, such as climate change or poverty. When people feel that they are part of a larger system and that their choices matter, they may be more motivated to take action and make a difference.
6. A sense of urgency and crisis
Finally, change can be motivated by a sense of urgency and crisis, such as a natural disaster, a health pandemic, or a political upheaval. When people face a situation that threatens their survival, security, or well-being, they may feel a heightened sense of adrenaline and motivation to respond quickly and decisively. This can involve cooperating with others, taking risks, or adapting to new conditions. When people feel that their lives are at stake or that the world is at a tipping point, they may be more willing to struggle for change and to overcome their fears and doubts.
How to Harness the Power of What Motivates People to Struggle for Change
Understanding what motivates people to struggle for change is the first step towards leveraging that motivation for positive outcomes. Here are some tips and insights on how to do that:
1. Identify your own motivators
Before you can motivate others, you need to know what motivates you. Take some time to reflect on your own values, goals, and aspirations, and try to identify what drives you to take action and make a difference. This can involve writing down your thoughts, talking to a mentor or a friend, or doing some self-assessment exercises. Once you have a clearer understanding of your own motivators, you can use that awareness to guide your actions and decisions.
2. Connect with others who share your motivators
Change rarely happens in isolation. To achieve meaningful and lasting change, you need to connect with others who share your values, goals, and aspirations. This can involve joining a group or a community, attending a rally or a conference, or reaching out to people online. When you connect with others who share your motivators, you can leverage the power of collective action, support, and resources.
3. Create a compelling vision of the future
To motivate yourself and others to struggle for change, you need to have a clear and compelling vision of what you want to achieve. This vision should be realistic, inspiring, and relevant to the people you want to engage. It should also be communicated effectively, using visuals, stories, and metaphors that resonate with your audience. When you create a compelling vision of the future, you can inspire people to join you on the journey and to stay committed to the cause.
4. Take small, achievable steps towards your goals
Change can be overwhelming, especially if you’re facing a complex or entrenched issue. To avoid burnout or discouragement, it’s important to break down your goals into small, achievable steps that you can accomplish in a reasonable timeframe. This can involve setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant
, and Time-bound) objectives, creating action plans, and celebrating small wins along the way. When you take small, achievable steps towards your goals, you can build momentum, confidence, and resilience.
5. Communicate effectively and respectfully
Change often involves persuading others to change their attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. To do that effectively, you need to communicate in a way that is clear, concise, and respectful. This can involve using active listening, empathy, and nonviolent communication techniques, as well as avoiding judgment, aggression, or manipulation. When you communicate effectively and respectfully, you can build trust, rapport, and understanding with others.
6. Learn from feedback and setbacks
Change is not a linear process, and setbacks and failures are inevitable. To avoid getting stuck or demotivated, it’s important to learn from feedback and setbacks and to use that information to adjust your strategies and tactics. This can involve seeking constructive criticism, analyzing data, or reflecting on your own experiences. When you learn from feedback and setbacks, you can adapt to changing circumstances, improve your skills, and stay committed to your goals.