What makes you angry? (14/2/13)

I came across some research recently about the so-called “Live Aid Legacy” – the perception left with the public about aid and international development after Live Aid, Bono, Make Poverty History and the rest. It’s all about charity, victims, Africans as grateful receivers, people in the UK as heroic philanthropists, starving and fly-covered children. Basically what people thought in the 1980s. Ho hum.

I have spent half my life working in international development and human rights, very much not seeing people as helpless victims (I think); so it was a pretty depressing outcome, and one that we working in developing need to think about in terms of our contribution (look at some of the advertising by the big international aid charities – if you can bear to).

But the research also pointed to something that all campaigners, and others, need to take note of: we can be given lots of information about what we are supposed to think, but our values and beliefs – shaped by many other factors – act as filters, allowing (for example) our prejudices about Africa to survive endless “facts” to the contrary.

We all need to know and understand we have these “values and beliefs”, because they impact on all our decision-making and dealings in the world. To pin down your values, try this:

Take a sheet of paper and answer the questions below as honestly as you can:
1. What is really important to you? (e.g., health, honesty, learning, art, family, world peace, etc)
2. What do you care about?
3. What do you want more of in your work? In your life?
4. What do you want less of in your work? In your life?
5. What would make you stay in a situation where everything goes wrong?
6. What would make you leave when everything is going well?
7. Think about your extreme moments. When has life been amazing? When have you felt on top of the world? What was important to you about these times?
8. What makes you angry, fed up or frustrated? What value is being violated that stops you being true to yourself?

What do your answers tell you about your values and what is important to you?

All the best


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