The gist: We feel good about our work when we feel proud, recognized, and appreciated. The intrinsic motivation is much stronger than any extrinsic motivation.
“How do we create our own meaning, pride, motivation, and how do we do it in our workplace and for the employees, I think we could get people to both be more productive and happier.”
To feel good about our work, we need motivation. If money is the best incentive, then people with high-paying jobs should be the happiest. If internal joy is the best, then people should do whatever they like even if their efforts aren’t recognized. But neither appears to be the case. As it turns out, we want our efforts to be seen. We want to feel acknowledged and valued. If there were no end result, even a fun job we would otherwise enjoy would become futile and unattractive.
In the Lego experiment, the participants who had their Legos destroyed every time they finished were much less likely to continue building them. This result holds true even for people that love Legos. This shows that not having our work recognized kills the joy from it. In workplace, ignoring people’s efforts is as bad as destroying it in front of them. But as a caveat, ignoring effort seems incredibly easy, but recognizing it isn’t so difficult—don’t over do it!
The origami experiment shows that we naturally like our work better. No wonder my IKEA swivel chair looks so great to me, maybe because I built it. It’s important to note the fact that we are biased towards our own accomplishments. It skews our judgments and inhibits us from taking criticism well.
Dan Ariely’s talks never disappoint me! He’s definitely one of my favorite TED talkers 🙂