Essay Contest 2012 - Top 3 Entries
The Motivation that Drives One's Actions
Charities rely on people to carry out their missions. In order to get volunteers, they need to understand what inspires people to join a charity and to give a strong committment to its work. The most powerful motivator of one's actions is passion. People's actions are driven through passions for different values. Some people are inspired by their need to protect their family; this can be the nuclear family unit or the whole clan. People can also have enormous enthusiasm for what they love to do, whether it is a hobby or their actual work. Other people are motivated by the need for success and power.
Passion for family is one of the truest feeling of humankind. This can be seen in the animal world, as the parents feed their young before themselves. Humans possess the same instinct. Though the passion may be pure, it does not mean that the person's actions are always positive. In the musical, Carousel, a young carousel barker is driven by strong impulses to protect his coming baby. Desperately wanting to support his family, he plans a crime with an old partner. He dies trying to escape the police, leaving the coming child fatherless. The sense of passion to help his family was there, but the way he went about doing it was wrong. The instinct to protect the family is strong, but can lead to poor choices. Even so, when people are made to understand that the whole world is their family, they can become passionate in helping the poor.
People will go far in the pursuit of an activity that they love. The more they immerse themselves in their job or hobby, the better they become at it, which drives them to pursue it even further. There are many stories of young people who pratice on their musical instrument six hours a day; those are the people who win the Van Cliburn Piano Competition. When people volunteer for a cause they are passionate about, they can discover that they have talent to serve.
Some people strive for wealth and power as a measure of success. They want the "American Dream", which involves wanting to be respected, ensuring their physical and financial security, and being able to make their own choices in life. In The Great Gatsby, Mr. Gatsby had a passion to achieve the Anmercian Dream of wealth and status. His monetary success brought him close to acquiring his prize, the Daisy of America's aristocracy. By the end, he realizes how shallow his desires were.
Some peole may feel that a sense of obligation is a strong motivation, but it is seldom true. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonious says, "To thwine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." What Polonius means by this is if you are true to yourself, then you cannot betray anyone else. Apparently, just saying this aloud fufills his obligations to be true, because he dies eavesdropping on others. The passion he shows in his teachings and wise sayings are not reflected in his actions. As Christians, my youth group believes in being selfless and helping others, but that feeling of obligation did not translate into a passion to help. When we were brought to a soup kitchen to assist, we really enjoyed helping, but our conscience has not been strong enough to get us back there on our own. Luckily, our church group schedules this as a regualar activity.
The most powerful motivator is passion, displayed in various ways. Some are motivated to care for and protect their family, some are driven by the need for power and status, and lucky people are driven by what they love to do. A charitable organization needs to understand what motivates people in order to get as many volunteers as possible.