What Moves People to Take Action – 5 Key Considerations
What is it that moves people to act? There have been all types of research over the years on motivation and what it has shown us is that culture matters. For some, they are motivated by their values and preferences. For others, it might be expectations. Ultimately, we are all motivated differently. We all have different interests and passions; societal issues impact us differently.
Stories are an integral part of the motivational process – that is how we reach people. So often, people are motivated into action when they hear the stories of others. Yet, not everyone will react to the same story.
2018 was the year of the movement. For example, we watched as the #MeToo movement went from a hashtag to a nationwide awareness campaign. The success of this peaceful protest has inspired many influencers across the nation to create their own campaign for social change.
Although social movements are known for their demonstrations, sit-in’s, and catchy phrases, they’re not orchestrated in vain. We live in a society that values justice, and upon seeing injustice many people are moved to act. People were moved by a story and motivated to act and put pressure on the powers that be.
A recent article published in The New York Times found that over 201 men accused of sexual assault, both in the spotlight and behind, lost their jobs and reputation as a result of the influx of support from the #MeToo Movement.
These statistics don’t just show the overwhelming amount of support local movements received. It proves the power in their establishment. Because of this pattern of success, many individuals are searching for ways to start their own movement as a means to ignite change.
The Values That We Share
No matter how emotional the story or how powerful, it likely won’t motivate you into action unless it hits the spot. Our emotions are linked to our values. While many of us share certain values, we likely see them differently which will affect how we react. Two people with a shared value might not react to a story the same. We all weigh out core values differently
We place a lot of worth in our values, as well we should. Ultimately, though, what moves people to take action the most? Empathy. You can feel moved by a story without being personally attached to it, without it being related to you in any way, shape or form. The people that are moved to take action when it doesn’t impact them are the people with the deepest levels of empathy. You don’t need to have lived it to understand how powerful someone’s story is. You don’t need to go through it to understand the pain it may have caused. Rather, a deeply empathetic person will hear a story and be moved by a fellow human’s plight. That’s all it takes for this person to be moved into action.
If you have a specific cause you would like to bring attention to, it’s key to understand the science behind creating a movement. Considering these five questions and tips will help you transform your movement from thoughts to action.
- What are you fighting for?
At the heart of popular movements is the need for social change. Whether it’s fighting for equality or striving to make a difference, the purpose is clear. If you’re wanting to start your own movement, consider a topic that’s close to your heart.
Climate change, prison reform, economic inequality, civil rights, school, harassment …. All of these are issues grabbing headlines right now. What is it that makes people act? Sadly, many people won’t raise a hand to help until they are personally impacted by a specific cause or issue. While other people are willing to spread themselves thin to join forces with every cause.
What matters to me might not matter to you, but how can we live in a free society if we can’t level the playing field? It all comes down to the stories we hear. It isn’t just the ones people choose to tell, though, it matters how those stories are told. There is a strong link between social action and emotional engagement. Stories spark emotions which spark engagement.
- What would I like to see changed?
- What are my greatest challenges?
- How can I help others overcome potential challenges?
Determining the answers to these questions along with thorough self-discovery will help you set the blueprint for your movement.
- Who is your target audience?
Next, who are you fighting for? Do you wish to help people like yourself or, do you want to assist a population that’s socially neglected?
Every movement pulls at the strings of a selected demographic. By determining who you’re marketing towards, you’ll be able to develop compelling content that sparks their attention.
- Start small and think simple
The key to starting something, and starting it right, is to develop patience. Look at the smaller picture as opposed to the finished product. Ask yourself, “how can I help someone today?” Then, build on that good energy daily.
If your movement is moving, the momentum will be organic. For now, focus on small improvements. You have time to save the world!
- Share, share, and share again
Do you think the #MeToo movement would have sparked so much attention had women all over the nation remained quiet? Probably not. Here’s why their method was so effective.
The topic of sexual harassment, assault, and inappropriateness has been a hot topic for decades. For a while, the misconduct of men was swept under the rug. They were able to maintain their elite status despite their behavior behind closed doors.
However, as more and more women gained the courage to share their testimonies, the movement grew. From those stories, change was made.
- Are you prepared for backlash?
The uncomfortable reality of invoking social change is that there will be those who disagree with your cause. They may strive to dismantle your campaign.
However, you have to remain strong and develop a “thick skin”. This will help you to keep going and focus on your mission as opposed to worrying about the thoughts of naysayers.
Starting a movement is hard, but rewarding work. If you’re thinking about making a difference on a grand scale, take into account these considerations prior to jumping in. You’ll be well on your way to success. It All Starts with You!
What does it take to move you to take action?
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