Over a year ago I had an insight into what motivates people during change. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) is the classic view: We move towards goals that offer something in our self-interest. This is dissatisfying because it is inherently selfish.
I set out to find contradictions to the pursuit of self-interest and found many. People give and do good out of a selfless demeanor. They write letters of encouragement to those caring for our elders. They visit shut-ins and give ‘rent breaks’ to those living on the edge.
People find purpose in making an impact on other’s lives where than be no possible return. We can move from a focus on what helps me, to what warms the heart through acts of kindness. We can pursue that which provide hope for the future.
On Remembrance Day I was reminded of the horrible things that humankind can inflict upon itself. It is an unfortunately short path to acts of selfishness and hate.
But this morning as I listened to Ravi Zacharias relate some of the incredible acts of kindness that occurred during our worst moments in history, I was reminded that people still strive to do better. Consider all those who hid Jews from the Nazis. They valued the lives of others above themselves.
During the worst of times in our history people helped one another selflessly.
We have all tasted the wonder and joy of doing good for its own sake. It is the reason that religions persist. Aiming for something higher is an act of faith and propels us to do better. To change.
If we want people to change, yes, we must speak to self-interest, but don’t stop there. Help them see how change offers something for the heart and hope for the future.