“Yes, we can!” How to Allow Motivation to Change us for Better

stockvault-smiling-daisy-air-balloon133312Is it possible to change the world, and to make a visible difference? Or is it just a fleeting dream of visionaries and a quality of a superhero?

The answer is both yes and no, depending on the approach you take. If you consider the world and its overwhelming size, you can get frustrated. Naturally, you are not able to change something that is magnificently huge.  But what if you consider yourself as a part of a whole – a whole that can be broken down into little pieces? A friend of mine once told me that a way to manage an unmanageable task is to divide it into many manageable pieces, which put together are powerful enough to make a difference.

So how can you as an individual change the world? Setting an example or initiating something meaningful can be a good start. Although, big endeavor can be overwhelming at first, you should remember that nothing is as hard as it seems. Try shifting your perception: start small, aim big. Focus on one step at the time, and allow a small change to grow bigger with the natural course of time.

“Be the change…”

It is impossible to change the world immediately and single-handedly, but we can be a part of it starting with our own contribution. Ghandi says that it is you that should be the change you want to see in the world.

In Poland, where I come from, many people are engaged in a campaign of collecting plastic bottle tops. Instead of throwing them away, they put them into special containers which when full are transported to sell-out points, and sold as plastic waste. The money is used to purchase supplies for people in need.

When I was working in Spain in a primary school I felt uncomfortable having to throw the whole bottle away, so I checked if there is anything similar done there. It occurred that the nearby university is also engaged in the same campaign, but due to poor advertisement not many people knew about it. I decided to spread the idea in my school, so I talked to one of the teachers, who started the bottle campaign in her class. Soon, the whole school was engaged in the project, and it took one more month to engage other primary schools.

Cast the first stone

Mother Teresa once said that she alone cannot change the world, but she can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. You do not have to start with something big, let it become big with time and participation of others.

In the time of economic downturn it is small business that is fundamental for recovery and further development of the world’s market. Entrepreneurs strengthen local economies: they respond immediately and accurately to demand, they even invent jobs that have not previously existed.

According to the research done by economists from the University of California small businesses create more job than larger ones. They also saturate the local market with customer-tailored services and products on which there is huge demand. Making a difference on the local level, small business influences the world’s economy being the very first stone that contributes to the creation of many ripples.

Step by step, little by little …

As adapting to specific conditions enables small business to be vital for the whole economy, as should we, accordingly, adapt ourselves to the world around us. Start with adding little routines that will not change your whole life fundamentally, but with time will contribute to shape your better self. A good e-book on your iPod on your way to work will serve you better than listening to maybe soothing, but in the long run meaningless music.

Stressed about not meeting deadlines? Next time prepare a timetable with all the small steps you need to accomplish in order to perform a big task. Such small changes are important, because they shift our perception of the world: we start to be hungry for more, seeking deeper fulfillment, and abandoning our comfort zones.

However, as good and motivating as it all sounds, we also have to remember that change cannot be measured, and something that is a milestone for you, can be a pebble for somebody else. Nevertheless, remember that positive influence can have an impact on more people that you can imagine. You never know the outcome unless you tried. So, I say: cast the stone, and wait for the ripples!

Homo Demotivatus

demotivated_2Lack of motivation affects almost all of us from time to time. We don’t feel like working, not even doing things that we like, and we look at happy people with the uncanny mixture of hatred, jealousy and unhealthy fascination. How do they do it? How can they achieve such a high level of ignorance towards the world’s general awfulness? Is it possible to tune out the reality and trick yourself into being unquestionably happy? Is ignorance new happiness? Many questions of similar intense self-pity go through our heads when we reach the infamous peak of demotivation.

I reached this peak not so long time ago. I questioned every step that I had taken in my life, and I evaluated everything in such a negative light that my boyfriend afraid of my intentions offered to stay home to talk this through.

So he stayed, we talked, I felt better.

It was not so long time after when I stumbled across a minor problem which resulted in an unstoppable fountain of tears and a series of sobs so loud that I almost caused my cat to suffer a fatal heart condition. The state of demotivation, protectively wrapped in my boyfriend’s sweet words of love and compassion, broke free to mock me and my so-called stability of mind. Why? I was doing so well! I recognized the importance of surrounding me love, I understood that I have to fight for every goal that I want to reach, and revised again the theory of success achieved only step-by-step with time. Dammit, I talked it through! I got better! So why does the feeling of being powerless haunt me again? Why do I feel so empty and deprived of energy?

I brooded long over cups of coffee so strong that after my musings I had to go for a walk to lose the shakiness of my limbs. I sat on a bench within the protective grasp of the ancient city walls of York, took my phone, and started jotting down all my fears.

Fears are not all so bad; they protect us from taking too hasty decisions, force us to think twice before we leap.

As it came out, my fears weren’t so terrifying after I gave them name and brought them into bright daylight. I came home, googled “types of demotivation,” and came across an article written by Cath Duncan who very wisely compared the state of demotivation to snow: many people see it as a general idea just like they perceive demotivation as broadly-speaking lack of willingness to live; but just like Eskimos who can observe different kinds of snow and name it accordingly, in the same way there exist different types of demotivation. Labeling your state of mind helps you to overcome it, as you are able to apply appropriate preventive steps or/and healing processes.

I learned a lot about myself that day. I discovered that most of my fears derive from the general unclearness of what I really want. Do I want to live in England or go back to Poland? Develop my career as a writer or go back to teaching? I operated within those ambiguities and inscribed them all in my long and short-term goals, instead of focusing on one of them, and developing only one of the possible choices. After my revealing aha! moment, I decided to focus on my present situation: I am an aspiring writer living in a beautiful city of York.

After defining my roles, I felt more self-assured, as if my body, floating in space of uncertainty gained weight and pulled me back on the path leading to a clear goal. I started to feel more real, more alive. Focusing solely on a chosen narrow goal made it far more achievable. I can almost see the end of the path – and it does not matter if I succeed or fail, because both outcomes are finite, and both of them enable me to move on to my next goal, to my next big dream.

In other words, I will continue to dream big, but I’ll resign from dreaming wide.

Will it work?