Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Potential Failing, An Articulated Fear

I have been thinking a lot about motivation lately - about what it is that urges us forward, helps us survive hardships, push past obstacles, and continue to reach toward our goals.

Not everyone has it. And what has been very confusing lately is how to approach working with people who are not feeling motivated. It's not as if you can manufacture motivation for someone else. It has to be genuine and connected to some internal locus of control.

Of course, there are lots of theories and ideas as to how motivation is fostered, what it's related to, etc. Attachment theory, nature vs. nurture, self-esteem and self-awareness, goal-setting techniques, resilience, coping strategies, etc.

Sometimes it all feels like shooting in the dark. Hoping to hit a target you can't see with tools you aren't entirely sure work each and every time... and praying for success.

Perhaps there are many jobs that feel this way. Standing against the tide of inertia and apathy that can often accompany the real-world experiences of oppression or forced invisibility for at-risk populations sometimes feels overwhelming. Like running a marathon each day and never reaching the finish line.

And there is beauty and honor in the pursuit, to be sure. And I have great appreciation for those who are capable of such journeys... but I'm not sure I have what it takes for a lifetime of such work.

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