What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress, meeting challenges, and feeling a sense of purpose. In this TED talk, behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents several eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. It's nice to know that people are not like rats in a maze, focused only on money as our goal.


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  • cynette

    Karl Marx view of motivation and the premix cake :)

  • bjt

    What inspired you about this video? Karl Marks - he was right

  • Barbara

    the CEO did not understand the importance of meaning....work is more than a job and a huge part of a persons life...and that ignoring is as bad as not valuing....and I still like real eggs and milk

  • Shae

    This inspires me to be just as acknowledging to my bosses as they are to me. I have had a job for years where all my managers gripe about are the negatives, when there are plenty of positives to explore. Kindness begets kindness, what you put out you will certainly receive in the same sense, if not more.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Acknowledgement goes a long way. Valuing someone's efforts is key. If more people in power simply acknowledged the work of their supporters, much would improve. how much effort do each of us put in to let someone know their work is of value to us? it's much more important that we are motivated and care. Thanks for illuminating our need to acknowledge each other's efforts! In the volunteer work I do in collecting real life stories of overcoming adversity, I see this daily in the interviews I do. I care deeply about the work and sharing the stories with others. those interviewed seem to feel good about sharing simply knowing they will be acknowledged by name in the book & that their story may positively impact another person. Here's to fulfilling work, may more of us be so fortunate!

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  • Learn more about Dan Ariely and his work through his blog and weekly podcast, Arming the Donkeys.
  • According to Leo Babauta, achieving "flow" is one of the keys to happiness at work. Find out more in this article on the "9 Steps to Acheiving Flow in Your Work."
  • The next time you do a mundane task, think about a way to find even a small meaning to the work - it will make a bigger difference than you think in they way you see that work.

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