Ariely’s ideas resonate with me for a variety of reasons. For one thing, I have heard similar notions about motivation in my social psychology class. We learned that the closer you are to achieving a goal, and the more amount of work you put into it, the more upset you are when your goal is thwarted. By just applying these concepts to things I experience in my day to day life, I completely agree.
Like a lot of other students at Duke, I feel good about my schoolwork when it is completed to the best of my ability. I enjoy submitting something that I am proud to put my name on. Even if it is a challenging assignment, it is much more fulfilling if I completed the assignment to perfection.
In the beginning, my Duke Engage work felt a little monotonous. While it still does at times, my boss and I recently started working on long term, bigger picture goals for me at the organization. Now that my work is going beyond the clerical stuff I started with, I find it more enjoyable at the end of the day.
I think both my schoolwork and Engage are meaningful in their own manner. If I learn from an assignment and it gets me closer to my long term goals, then it is satisfying at least one facet of my life. While it might just be a short essay, I can look at it more as a step closer to finishing the class, or my majors’ requirements, graduating and so forth
As for my Engage, the work I do impacts more individuals than an essay I turn in. My level of fulfillment in a class is only going to go so far in another person’s life. However, in my Engage, I am confident that even the monotonous work is helping people. Whether I am directly assisting my supervisor, someone on our time, the greater organization, or the schooling system as a whole, it is more meaningful knowing my work is helping other individuals. I recognize that it is a chain reaction, and I am doing these more mundane tasks for a reason. I have to remind myself of that (both in school and my work).