Motivation in our times: There are number of ways to motivate people – greed, opportunities to succeed, hunger, fear and many others. In the past 18 months we have been faced with a threat. We understand this threat to be deadly.
The people that we vote for are those whom we place our trust in to provide us with opportunities, with shelter and access and many systems we have or expect in our daily lives. When faced with this deadly threat, it is easy to expect these people to protect us. The problem with this rapidly new emerging threat is these people did not fully know how to immediately protect us. So they had to use a strategy to help them help us. The strategy that they used was to get us to be scared and what followed was our compliance in a state of fear to withdraw or accept the withdrawal of many other aspects of what we normally enjoy, working, walking, being with each other in lots of ways. Using this strategy of fear to motivate people to stay away from this unknown threat was a way to save them. This was effective in a very simple way. People are afraid of lots of things like hunger and poverty but what is the only thing we are scared of is that which is absolutely inevitable. That we cannot be ultimately saved. What happened was that we were scared and complied with the need to hide from this threat that might end our lives and we behaved in ways that achieved this aim at the expense of other concessions. We had to give up companionship, relationships, aspirations, opportunities to work, love, succeed, develop, learn.
So, we are scared of the threat to our lives and to save our lives from this present threat we restrict ourselves. The problem with fear as a motivator to save lives is that while it can be effective the fundamental problem is that this is the one and only fear that is inevitable. What happens in life is we may face success, love, hunger, poverty but all of us sometimes will face death. And we are simply not programmed to contemplate this inevitability – surviving (or ignoring our ultimate destiny of death is written into our very definition of ourselves) – we are human beings – we are beings that are not nonbeings or human anything – being is at the heart of our existence. We are first of all people that exist. Further to this that we take as innate and given is we create domains in this to give value, meaning and purpose to this to sustain us. We are beings that want and aspire to have to acquire. Thus, when we are scared to stop having or growing or achieving or mingling, it is an affront to all our wishes – we feel less, we wither in our experience of restrictions and isolation. Why is isolation so important – it is two things at once – the best way to save us – our very being – from this unknown threat – a pathogen. But, in so doing, it is also the handmaiden that strips from us those desired for aspects of our lives that give us a sense of opportunity and hope and desire as well as meaning, purpose and aspiration. Therefore, while we are to some extent protected from death, our existence is limited to being in ways that lack a sense of aliveness. In isolation we lack relation, out of work we lack the ability to support ourselves and each other and be with each other and the same applies to the restrictions on relationships – we can’t give and receive that which we need for support and community and a sense of belonging. The absence of these central themes of being a person in a world of others means that isolation is potentially more harmful in many ways beyond saving our physical health. And now we are in a position where we have surrendered our human sense of freedom to reach out to give love and support and to receive love and support at home and at school and at work and in our communities. So now we are faced with problems that we previously did not envisage as we went about our usual activities and so our isolation has not only been crushing for our physical and psychological being but fear has led to losing a sense of purpose and hope and meaning as we relinquish the very things that don’t bring us to life or end our lives but sustain them and allow us not to sit around contemplating whether we actually will live or die which we are not routinely accustomed to being surrounded with ideas of. And so, we have been scared and with isolation this has taken a huge toll and will continue to do to.
How do we recover? Well, we can immunise ourselves from this disease but the 18 months of deprivation in all areas I have mentioned leaves us more attentive to and thoughtful about the central problem that we cannot be immune from life. The only way to sense that life is sustainable and where we do not wither into contemplating our lack is to recreate a sense of value, meaning and purpose by re-joining each other in our various pursuits that lend to a life worth living. What role do modern ideas have to play in this? Modern support comes in many forms, financial, residential but without reaching out to each other we are still isolated from the opportunity to recover a sense of empowerment – to challenge with our fundamental desires the wishes to thrive, aspire, to be-come who and what we want to. The key to recovery must be the same but opposite to that which faced the unknown threat. We all do this together. We complied before to isolate now we must willingly, commit our desire to make choices to be free to choose as a fundamental part of being human – to come together to empower ourselves and regain a sense of purpose, value, meaning and opportunities. This is the forward facing space for talking therapies – a human but professional encounter promoting a new environment in which to work and thrive in relation in collaboration not competition, to be supported not sanctioned and to embrace stress as vitalising not pathologising. at TEAM EASE Wellbeing we have an accessible available affordable personal professional approach to Wellbeing in the workplace. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org