Be better every day
Our unfinished task that motivates us every day.
“Times are changing” would remind us the great American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and who recently turned 80 years old. In principle he would be an old man in the chronology of a human life, but judging by his recent productions he is the youngest of today’s artists. I mention this because indeed the times that run have brought many changes to our society. The pandemic put a hand brake on all of us and it would appear that it aged us all in a few months during the lockdown and constant worry about what was going on outside. But in the same way, while we were facing this universal tragedy, we felt that circumstances forced us to be more and more contemporary with this new way of understanding modernity. Schools and universities had to quickly make the move to virtuality and companies had to rethink themselves to be more productive in a remote or blended mode. All that in a sign of the days that run, relationships are transforming and changing in a definitive way many of our interests and motivations.
Another American, Daniel Pink, author of several best sellers, including The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, tells us about the gap between the great issues that science knows and what companies are undertaking now and questions in a very forceful way the system of rewards and incentives that are still applied based on routines and compliance with standards typical of the twentieth century, but far removed from the realities of the twenty-first century. “Times are changing” and collective interests and goals as well. Therefore, Daniel Pink, proposes a review from science of these systems that discourage and affect creativity and proposes, among others, to develop intrinsic motivation and explains its three pillars: “The freedom to direct our life, the desire to master the discipline for which we have a vocation and to be able to achieve goals that reach beyond ourselves”
Many decades ago the Science of Psychology spoke to us about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, but that is how a famous teacher of the school used to comment, “another matter”. What is disturbing is knowing, as this author describes it, what intrinsic motivation is and how it helps us solve most of the problems in our lives and where we should focus our attention. Why? For the simple reason that the carrot and stick are very rudimentary and despite being a popularly known recommendation through some generations they do not impact in any way – says science – our deepest reasons that modify behavior. According to Pink, what does generate important changes in behavior is intrinsic motivation and its three previously mentioned pillars: autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Of the leaders of our country in different disciplines and spaces we always hope that they comply with these three pillars. We are sure that if this is the case, the great transformations, development and equity will advance so that we can be a more prosperous and humane world.
We hope, for example, from entrepreneurs who start a business, create jobs, offer growth opportunities to Colombians to improve their quality of life. Of the young people, we hope they study and train in their areas of interests and vocation to work ethically and responsibly for the country that allows them to build their life project. We hope they claim their rights without forgetting their duties. We hope that our leaders will know how to have an adequate, empathic and balanced reading of the Colombian reality and that they will facilitate the democratic exercise of citizen dialogue to generate solutions that resolve the expectations of the different social and economic sectors in reasonable times.
And, above all, we expect educators to transform classrooms into spaces for conversation and debate, always respecting critical thinking and fostering diverse ideas. If teachers promote critical thinking, tolerance and respect for the ideas of others, they will be contributing in a definitive way to the formation of citizens committed to building a fairer Colombia for all. At the Gimnasio Moderno we honor everyone’s autonomy, we foster the art of speech, we allow new narratives to emerge that judiciously beautifully weave together what we call the school spirit. We firmly believe that this is the meaning of our work and our fundamental goal. It is our great motivation: that children and young people flourish in their particular autonomies, talents and masteries that they develop in the fields and areas of learning, acquiring a sense of purpose that fills their hearts with joy, drives them to be happy with their friends and family and allows them to appreciate the city in which they live to also awaken their sensitivity for Colombia.
The surprising truth that should motivate us all is to contribute to heal wounds, to meet from differences, to build a country that we all enjoy, that we generate wealth from the place we occupy. Where we are in peace and understand once and for all that other individuals are important. If so, our homework will be well done.
Víctor Alberto Gómez Cusnir