Understanding motivation is key in affecting the news, public opinion and, ultimately, change. Often it is important to reflect on precisely what motivates us. This is just what I did over the past month.
Having recently graduated from college, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a New York PR pro. I performed day-to-day tasks efficiently and worked hard for my clients, but realized that I needed to find the meaning, the motivation, behind my actions.
As a stranger in the paradise that is New York City, I explored and reflected. I spent hours discovering the microcosms that comprise the Big Apple and what it means to create a new home here. The diversity between the ethnicities, socio-economic status, age, and other demographic categorizations made for a brilliant tapestry woven together in the shared experience of being a New Yorker, being an American, and searching for a better life for ourselves and for many their children.
Between forays into this strange new world I continued my personal search for meaning and I found myself once again drawn into the world of academia, this time not for $40,000 per year at a college, but as Matt Damon so eloquently put it in Good Will Hunting, “a few dollars in late fees at the public library.” I read books on presidential speeches of old and a few good novels as well. These readings combined with my constant monitoring of the news led me to conclude that one element was missing in my life: hope.
So many times over the course of the day we allow stress to overtake our lives…and we feel hopeless. With two wars, economic misery, and rising jobless rates, our common motivating factor is hope, as demonstrated by yesterday’s resounding victory for Barack Obama. He tapped into our collective consciousness and empowered the American people, motivating record numbers of voters to come to the polls. He encouraged us to hope for more and better and to realize that stresses will pass.
For us to affect public opinion, we must ask two questions:
How am I motivated? How will I motivate those around me?
If these questions are not clearly answered, then our pitching is not news, but rather just empty rhetoric. It is imperative that we instill our values in those around us. It is important to empower the consumers who read our stories so they will say to themselves and others, “Yes, we can.”