TOTW: Asking Questions While Walking

The Zapatistas have a saying, “preguntando caminamos.”

We don’t need to be perfectionists. We don’t need to have all the answers before starting a project or pursuing a course of action—we can get started and work out the details along the way. Rapid prototyping, the process of ‘failing as fast as possible’ in order to gather feedback about what works and what doesn’t is an effective strategy for completing successful projects. But, to take a step back, why are we even motivated to work on projects or pursue any goals at all—why do we even walk in the first place?

The question of motivation is hardly exclusive to anarchists, but is there anything unique about the relationship between anarchism and motivation? There are definitely individual differences in how motivated different people are. Are anarchists more likely to be intrinsically motivated? If that’s the case, why is there not a proliferation of successful anarchist projects?

Above and beyond being motivated about sexy projects there is the question of hard work. Brainstorming about how we’ll live after the revolution is fun, but at the end of the day the success of any project comes down to persistence and dedication. Hard work is hard enough for anyone, but what can anarchists do to get better at this?

For many of us, asking the question of what motivates us is a luxury. For those facing immediate threats of state oppression and violence the answer is obvious. But even in the streets we can hopefully ask ourselves these questions while walking–What motivates us, and how can we turn that into successful and lasting anarchist projects?