Thursday, November 20, 2014

Motivation, Happiness and the Transformation of Reality

URL of photo: http://www.creativityland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/motivation-and-happiness.jpg 

Motivation is a mental rehearsal of an action to encourage or be encouraged to act with interest and diligence. So how do we mentally prepare ourselves to commit to an action with diligence? How do we transmit our motivation?

The most important step to motivate our volunteers is to be motivated ourselves and this means believing in what we are doing, understand why we are doing it and knowing that our work is a drop of water in an ocean of change. However small – for example, doing a mural about punctuality and the right to think freely in Las Lomas centre - it contributes a bit towards a better world.  Moreover, it is important that we are happy in what we do.

The second step is to impart commitment, responsibility, professionalism and the passion we have for our projects to our team of volunteers and convey that these are also the qualities we expect of them. Spending all weekend working and staying late at night preparing the photo exhibition is an example of the commitment our team has.

As time passes, it becomes important to keep our motivation high; however we know there are obstacles that appear for which we had not planned: activities are cancelled, partners show little interest in working together, disagreements surface between team mates, personality clashes arise between volunteers, illness, home sickness, etc. For all these reasons it is therefore important that we uphold our strength, safety and commitment to our project and programme. This includes our ability to solve problems, to manage a coherent group, to share and communicate the various problems which arise. It is important to address the problems that arise every day with our project and especially to be the first to face all the difficulties to be encountered in the project and also to be the first to celebrate the achievements of our team.

The last step to maintain our motivation and the motivation of our team is working together and honestly with our peers, communicating our problems, our fears and frustrations so that together we can come to a solution or a feasible strategy to solve a specific issue, and so we do not feel alone and become a united, strong team with the capability to do excellent work.  A big problem was the punctuality of the team - we were beginning to be upset because any meeting started late. So we decided, as a team, to have fines: whoever was more than a minute late would have to bring breakfast for all the team. That was a really good solution for being late, because now we start all the meetings at the planned time.

My motivation is not just knowing that we are leaving a tangible outcome through our projects (I'm sure that they will last a long time; I know the murals in the two centres and the result of the photo exhibition – two cameras for the Niñas San Gabriel Centre – certainly will) but mainly, my motivation comes from knowing that the team I work with is happy and committed to what we do. This motivates me even more to continue working with the conviction of making a change - although minimal in the reality of our country. After all we cannot expect the world to be different if we are indifferent. 

Finally, let me end with a fragment from the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano which I think personally sums up the motivation behind our work: "They're little things. They don’t end poverty, or bring us out of underdevelopment... But they perhaps trigger the joy of doing, and they translate that into acts. And after all, to act on reality and change it, even a little, is the only way to prove that reality is transformable. "

Written by Alejando Calderón

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