“i” is for Incentive
Posted February 22, 2011on:
For the previous weeks I’ve been pondering on the “why” of everything I do. I was at the bus stop after a long day of classes, meetings, interviews and dance practice and thinking of this and the month’s all-nighters. I started thinking about what I wanted to blog about. I went through each letter of the iFALCON acronym and I was able to think of something for each, but I asked myself, “What brings these skills together and how are they to be fueled in order to be efficient?”
Later on that week I picked a story idea for my article in the university newspaper about a factory that makes university logo apparel for over 300 universities in the U.S. and Canada. It is an apparel factory in the Dominican Republic that pays its workers a living wage, which is three times the minimum wage there. I spoke to a worker from the factory in the Dominican Republic and heard the story of how being able to afford the bare necessities –like food, clean water and with this, an education for her children—completely changed her life and her family’s. The connectedness I felt with someone so far away and how my choice as a consumer can make a difference in a person’s life, made me feel attached to my story. The idea of this type of factory has commenced to be a national campaign to promote sweat-shop free apparel. I read a lot of recent publications on this factory and felt even more motivated to let students on my campus know about this and their affect on people they will never meet.
I felt I had duty to do something with this information and to voice its importance through my writing. At that moment I felt that I had an incentive—I was motivated. That motivation not only pushed me to write the story, but it made me see how coming to school is a privilege—one that many don’t have. Through the knowledge I obtained, I wanted to help others in some sort of way. Instantly, I thought about iFalcon and how I could write about this and so it just came to my head that before we are able to focus or advance etc., we need a driving force—an incentive.
It is then that FALCON-ing becomes almost automatic. We are able to focus when we know what we are doing and why. With an incentive, we have substance to organize. When someone is very passionate about something, that person will go through all means of finding the necessary skills, people and knowledge in order to execute their ideas—linking-up. In my perspective as a student, it pushed me to excel in my schoolwork by researching about my interests which helped me advance and further comprehend. It is true that through knowledge comes power—power to help change your surroundings by developing new ideas.
Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch, but I always refer back to Friedrich Nietzsche, a quote I read in a book called Man’s Search for Meaning which was assigned in one of my English classes at Cerritos College. Viktor Frankl, the author of the book, quotes Nietzsche: “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how.’” If one can really dig deeply to find a reason, perhaps a goal—to be the first in your family to get a degree, to be independent, to help out in your community, to let other students be aware of issues that they are otherwise unknowledgeable of, whatever it is—it is then that one is able to excel in anything one sets her mind to.
Sometimes finding a motivation is not easy because we feel that our goals are too far away. Talk to your professors about what you want to do with your career, or about doubts concerning your education. Talk to them about ideas, issues you are pondering. Conversing with peers, professors, counselors or family will help you see how attainable goals are and this will also push you to thrive in your education by changing the way you perceive it.
So the next time you feel as if something is missing even though you know what you have to do—focus, comprehend and organize, etc.—ask yourself, “What is my reason to be in school, and what goals do I want to accomplish?” He who has an incentive can achieve almost anything.