What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work: Dan Ariely


  • Meaningful condition: people are willing to work harder and for longer when there is even slight meaning to their work.
  • Sisyphus condition: people will have decreased motivation to work when they see no meaning to their work or when their work is destroyed.
  • Breaking the fruit of someones labour in front of them crushes any joy and excitement and leads to demotivation.
  • Meaning makes people care more about what they do and results in greater happiness and work output
  • Acknowledgement of effort, even with a simple “mmmhmm”, can increase meaning and therefore motivation.
  • Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as destroying their work in front of their eyes
  • By getting people to work harder, you actually get them to like what they do more
  • Increased time and effort invested results in higher evaluation of value
  • In summary, acknowledge the work of others, don’t unjustly “break” the output of others efforts, and don’t ignore the work of others if you want to foster an environment where people are happy and willing to give you their best efforts.

Another great reminder to us all from a TED classic!


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