A chapter on motivation from the before mentioned report on ‘individual growth’.
When it comes to the theories presented in our course book and during class, the goal-setting theory speaks to me the most.
Maslow is too damn easy. It cannot be so, that there is this stairs-like construction on which our entire state of mind depends. The stages of neediness or the hierarchy of needs do not cut the mustard anymore I think. Take fast fashion consumption, for instance.
Fast fashion is the work of the devil, as far as I am concerned, for an array of reasons. I won’t go too much into it in this report as the fashion industry should not become the central topic of this piece. Then again, neither is hockey.
As explained in the amazing documentary ‘the True Cost’, there is such a thing as consumptionism. It is the ultimate dream of every advertiser as it is this stage of consumption where the consumer uses the goods that are meant to be used, as goods that are meant to be used up. For example: A car is meant to be used. A woolen overcoat is meant to be used. Cigarettes are meant to be used up. A nice bottle of wine is meant to be used up. What fast fashion has done, is making us treat our second skin –our garments- as a cigarette. We are using our clothes up, usually within a week.
Now, what does all of this have to do with Maslow? Imagine the following: you have lost your house, you have lost your insurance, you have lost your wife, you have lost everything… but you can still buy three t-shirts at H&M. This of course makes you feel like you’re rich; you can still afford a whole bunch of stuff despite having lost many other things. While in reality, you have become poorer and poorer.
Our pyramid is upside-down. We’ve grabbed Maslow by his ankles, shook him violently, and thrown him out in the yard. It is all random, and relative. At the moment, my self-actualization needs are on top at the moment too. I feel that my mental state needs to be taken care of first and foremost, before I can attend to all the other things I need to care about.
Goal setting, however, has proven to work for me. Absolutely. It is the reason I walk through the door every day as a full time student, and not an Open Studies mademoiselle. In my interview I was the only one who had a clear, mathematical path (shortest way from A to B is a straight line) towards the future.
I want to become a fashion broker, specializing in responsibly produced textiles. I want to invent a new way of distributing these amazing goods and presenting them to the world, also in a responsible way. I will specialize in supply chain management, Should this major not be available I will get very, very upset. There. Badabing-badaboom. A lady with a plan.
Everything I do, every assignment I take on, has this goal as underlying thought. Things become so much easier to endure when you have put a price at the end of your journey, something bigger than just a paper that says ‘you’re graduated’. Lack of a goal is pretty much the reason why previous educational experiences turned into dust. When you cannot see why you do something, why do it? Why do we do the things we do and not the things we don’t do, can’t do, won’t do? I believe it is because we put something valuable for us at the finishing line.