Why your dream job could be the worst job you ever have
This entire telling is taken from a best selling book- The Happiness Equations .. (complete)
* It’s a bit longer. So, read the complete article to understand it properly.
Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “It is not the critics who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valintly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst,if he fails , at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
It’s not the critic who counts.
But what motivates that man in the arena? Why is he working so hard?
First, remeber there are two types of motivation: Intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic is Internal. You’re doing it because you want to . Extrinsic is external. You’re doing it because you get something for it.
Guess which gets better performance?
Studies show that when we begin to value the rewards we get for doing a task, we lose out inherent interest in doing the task. Like, we literally lose interest- as in, the interest we have becomes truly lost in our minds, hidden away from our own brains, as the shiny external reward sits front and center and becomes the new object of our desire.
While at Brandeis University, Dr. Teresa Amabile performed experiments on elementary school and college students and asked groups to make “silly collages” and invent stories for them. Some were told they were getting rewards for their work and some were not. What happened? Based on independent judges, who didn’t know who was getting paid, the least creative projects by far were done by students who wre promised rewards for their work. Dr. Amabile said, “It may be that commissioned work will, in general be less creative than work that is done out of pure interest.”
When you’re not doing it for you …. you’re not doing a good job.
It’s not just that getting rewards hurts quality ,either.
In another study, seventy-two creative writers at Brandeis and Boston Universities were split into three groups of twenty-fout-creative writers each and asked to write poetry. Some were given extrinsic reasons for doing so – impressing teachers, making money, reasons for writing haiku- enjoying the feeling of expressing themselves, the fun of playing with words. And the third group wasn’t given any reasons at all. On the sidelines, Dr. Amabile put together a group of dozen poet judges, mixed up all the poems, and had the judges evaluate the work.
By far and away, the lowest-quality poems were from those who had the list of extrinsic motivators for doing so.
James Garbarino. former president of the Erikson Institute for Advanced Study in Child Development, was curious about this phenomenon. He studed fifth – and sixth-grade hired to tutor younger children. Some of the tutors were offered free movie tickets for doing a good job. some weren’t . What happened? The girls offered free movie ticket took longer to communicate ideas got frustrated easily, and did a worse job in the end than the girls who were given nothing except te feeling of helping someone else.
I was surprised by the studies, but they made sense to me.
I remembered writing articles for the Golden Words comedy newspaper at Queen’s University every Sunday for four straight years while in college. I didn’t get paid a cent but loved every minute because I got to hang out with a group of really funny people writing articles that made us all laugh. I loved it so much that I took a job working at a New York city comedy writing startup in my last summer at college. I rented an apartment on the Lower East Side and started working in a Brooklyn loft with writers from The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
Wow, I remember thinking. I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do what I love.
It was the hardest job of my Life.
Instead of having creative freedom to write whatever I wanted, I had to write “800 words about the bright side of getting dumped by 5:00 pm” for a client like Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Instead of joking with friends naturally, finding chemistry with certain people, I was scheduled to write with others. Eventually my interest in comedy writing faded and faded and faded…. and I decided I would never do it for money again.
When I astarted writing MYBLOG , I said I’d never put ads on the website. I would have liked the beer money! But I knew the ads would feel like work to me. I might start writing an article to get more views on an ad. And I would be spending time checking invoices. Looking at payment transfers. I would take away – or just hide – my reasons for writing in the first place. I was smart about that. …. but not smart enough to ignore the other extrinsic motivators that kept showing up. Stat counters, website awards, bestseller lists. It was all so visible, so measurable, and so tempteing.
I started looking into the whole “Extrinsic motivators kill intrinsic motivators ” phenomenon and kept finding studies showing this to be true.
Professor Edward Deci of the University of Rochester had students try to solve a puzzle. Some were competing with other students and some were not. Guess what happened? The students who were told they were competing with others simply stopped working once the other kids finished their puzzle believing themselves to be out of the race. They ran out of reasons to to the puzzle in the first place. But those who weren’t told they were competing with others kept going once their peers finished.
When you don’t feel like you’re competing with others, you compete with yourself only.
you do it for you.
And you do more, go further, and perform better.
Want to hear an old joke?
An old man enjoyed sitting on his front porch everyday until the elementary school bell rang and neighborhood kids waling past his porch stopped to taunt him from the sidewalk.
Finally, the old man came up with a plan.
He offered the children a dollar each if they’d return the nex day and yell their insults.
They were excited, so they returned , yelled their insults, and he paid each of them a dollar.
He then said he’d like them to come back the next day and yell their insults, but he could pay them only 25 cents. So they returned, yelled their insults, and he paid them a quarter each.
Before they left, he said that he could only afford to pay them a penny on Wednesday.
“Forget it, ” they said . “That’s not worth it.”
And they never bothered him again.