What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work

Dan Ariely gave a TED talk on the effects of motivation and rejection and the effect that this has on how we feel about the work we do.

It turns out that people feel a sense of ownership over pretty much anything they do, regardless of how menial the task is. Using some interesting experiments, Ariely is able to provide some very easy to understand insight on how people work and the value they assign to the things they do.

Here is the Youtube link to the talk:

Dan Ariely – What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work

Another interesting take-away is that when something is too simple or easy, people have no sense of ownership. An example he provides dates back to the invention of cake mix, or what he calls the Ikea Effect.

“It turns out, they were very unpopular.[…] What they figured out was there was not enough effort involved. It was so easy nobody could serve cake to their guest and say ‘here is my cake.’ […] It didn’t really feel like their own.

So they took out the eggs and the milk. Now it was their cake.”

If you enjoy this talk, you should read Predictably Irrational, a book by Dan Ariely.