“People are motivated by self-interest, they only do things because there’s something in it for them.” It’s a refrain, an argument, a way of being in the world that I encounter over and over again. As you might imagine, it’s not an outlook I subscribe to.
My experience of the world and the way I read history suggests to me the desire for something to believe in and somewhere to belong are far more powerful motivations. Humans crave community and we long for ideas and convictions to live by and institutions and people we can trust and rely upon.
There is also another powerful motivation we miss by focussing on the idea of self-interest – gratitude. Thankfulness and recognition for what we have, what people have done for us and the benefits society provides can be very powerful motivations.
And, the way gratitude motivates us is really special. Gratitude creates a sense of debt, of obligation, which is another way of saying it connects us to people and also, to ideas and communities. Gratitude helps us clarify where we should focus our attention and our efforts.
I’m always thankful for any interest in my work. I’m thankful to you for taking the time to read the articles on this site and for everyone who looks at my images or listens to my music. While I moan and complain, from time to time, the truth is if you had offered me the life I live now, back when I was a wet behind the ears kid trying to figure out Van Halen solos on a cheap, almost untunable guitar, I would have laughed and said I would never be so lucky!
My gratitude is mixed completely with a sense of debt; a debt I owe to you and everyone who has travelled with me on this creative journey. I’ve offered you lots of words and ideas over the years, but in recent months not that many images and, truth be told, very little music.
Quite simply, it’s time to change that. I owe it to you.