what motivates people to struggle for change

In a world constantly evolving, one question has perennially intrigued us – what motivates individuals to struggle for change? Human history is punctuated by transformative movements, from civil rights to environmental activism, all driven by a shared desire to make the world a better place. In this article, we delve into the complex web of motivations that inspire people to take action, ignite change, and shape the course of history.


Change is the essence of progress, but it often comes at a cost. From Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent struggle for Indian independence to the youth-led climate movement inspired by Greta Thunberg, individuals have consistently chosen to defy the status quo and strive for a better future.

Understanding the Drive for Change

Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it’s driven by a multitude of factors. Understanding these motivations is key to unraveling the mystery of why people are willing to struggle for change.

Intrinsic Motivation: The Power Within

Intrinsic motivation stems from an individual’s inner desires and values, which propel them towards change.

Personal Beliefs and Values

Many changemakers are deeply committed to their principles and values, often guided by a moral compass that drives them to challenge injustice and inequality.

Passion and Commitment

Passion for a cause can be a formidable motivator. The sheer determination to make a difference can fuel relentless efforts for change.

Extrinsic Motivation: External Forces at Play

Sometimes, external factors play a pivotal role in motivating change.

Social Pressure and Peer Influence

Communities and social networks can exert significant pressure on individuals to join movements and advocate for change. The desire to belong and align with like-minded individuals can be a potent motivator.

Crisis and Necessity

Crises, whether environmental, political, or social, often force individuals to take action. When faced with urgent challenges, the need for change becomes apparent, and individuals are compelled to act.

The Role of Leadership

Leadership plays a crucial role in driving change movements. Charismatic leaders can inspire and mobilize large groups, channeling their collective energy towards a common goal.

Challenges Faced During Struggle

The path to change is rarely smooth. It’s important to acknowledge the challenges faced by those who dare to challenge the status quo.

Resistance and Opposition

Change disrupts established power structures, often met with resistance from those who benefit from the status quo. Overcoming this resistance requires immense fortitude.

Burnout and Mental Health

Sustaining a struggle for change can be mentally and emotionally draining. Burnout is a real concern for activists, emphasizing the need for self-care and support systems.

The Triumph of Change

While the journey may be arduous, those who persevere often witness the fruits of their labor. Positive change can transform societies, shift paradigms, and leave a lasting legacy.


The question of what motivates people to struggle for change has no singular answer. It is a complex interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, driven by values, passion, social pressure, and the urgency of crises. Leaders emerge, challenges are faced, and, in the end, change prevails, shaping the world we live in.


  1. What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the context of change?
    • Intrinsic motivation is driven by personal beliefs, values, and passion, while extrinsic motivation comes from external factors like social pressure or crises.
  2. Are there common traits among effective change leaders?
    • Effective change leaders often possess qualities such as charisma, resilience, and the ability to inspire and mobilize others.
  3. How can individuals prevent burnout during a struggle for change?
    • Preventing burnout requires self-care, a strong support system, and periodic breaks to recharge.
  4. Can small actions lead to significant change?
    • Yes, small actions can have a ripple effect and contribute to larger, transformative change over time.
  5. What can individuals do to support change efforts even if they are not leading them?
    • Individuals can support change efforts by raising awareness, participating in initiatives, and advocating for change through various means.

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