Thursday, August 27, 2009

Using the Power of W.I.I.F.M.

“Watch out mate, you’ll be pinged for parking there,” a contractor said to another as he leapt out of his car, parked in a visitor’s bay, at the front of an administration building. After I overheard this seemingly caring advice get issued I got to thinking about the base motives for our actions (which I was already thinking on).

What motivated this guy to warn the other I wondered? It seemed to me that his concern was more about helping his friend steer clear of a possible parking fine rather than keeping the parking area clear for visitors.

And this is the issue for most of us. It is an unfortunate fact that we behave in the many ways we do because of the many external factors impinging on us, and not merely our internal motivational drivers.

We ask, ‘What’s in it for me’ (i.e. W.I.I.F.M.), and we make a lot of our decisions at the conscious and subconscious levels due to this rationale. And avoiding punishment is just as powerful a driver as seeking a reward is, and for many, a lot more so.

But, when we think about it, conformance to external motivators opposed to our own values engenders the principle of disempowerment—not a good thing in anyone’s true view. Who’d choose to be disempowered? Unfortunately it’s a trap we tend to unavoidably fall into.

Now, in a much different way, the world runs on balance and adheres strictly to the principle of W.I.I.F.M. Prevailing governments rely on the business world in providing for the community, and the world of commerce relies on profitability to sustain its viability; this leads to employment.

The W.I.I.F.M. principle for each of these stakeholders is crucial therefore in achieving a balance that can sustain the world. (And those advocates of the Global Food Crisis might disagree to the effectiveness of this globally.)

W.I.I.F.M. therefore has relevance and impact at both individual and group levels. It’s at the individual level we need to be aware of its power over or for us.

Aligning our values to that of the world’s true needs resplendent in W.I.I.F.M. can only mean that our W.I.I.F.M.’s and the world’s are aligned, meaning more inner peace and less disempowerment at the personal level. This can lead us to better understand regarding W.I.I.F.M. at the group or community level, which is where it really does need to work for the benefit and sustainability of all.

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