When Ikea first became trendy, I eagerly rented a van to snag the latest Malm dresser for my dorm room. The flat-packed, piece-by-piece kit allowed me to stack it atop my other unassembled treasures and transport them with ease. My impressive collection of various-sized Allen wrenches exists thanks to those countless Ikea purchases during my early twenties. Completing the assembly of a chair or a coffee table left me feeling accomplished and capable, fostering a special bond with my furniture. I moved my Ikea pieces from dorm rooms to apartments, each relocation reinforcing the connection.
This phenomenon, known as The Ikea Effect, was coined by Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon and Dan Ariely in their 2012 paper “The Ikea Effect: When Labor Leads to Love.” It highlights our tendency to value what we invest effort in, especially when it holds significance. Think about the satisfaction of taming an unruly lawn, crafting and delivering a smooth presentation or orchestrating a meticulously planned dinner; these are instances where we take pride in our efforts.
Consider how this concept applies to your life.
Where are you dedicating your time, effort and resources?
One reason my clients benefit from coaching is because they invest in themselves, undertaking the challenging work of change, improvement or reaching for what feels impossible. A surprising byproduct often emerges after our collaboration: increased self-love and self-respect. It’s not just our work together; it’s the effort they pour into themselves that enhances the meaning and significance in their lives.
As we age, we crave quick fixes, wishing for instant transformations with a wave of our metaphorical wands. This desire makes it tough to stick to goals, maintain weight loss, or uphold promises. Real change requires sustained effort, fostering a deeper appreciation akin to the Ikea Effect.
So, whatever you desire, whatever changes you seek, evaluate your level of commitment. If your dedication wavers and progress stalls, consider breaking it down, envisioning the completed product, and investing time, focus and energy into building it step by step. Whether it’s assembling furniture or pursuing your dreams, it’s the journey and effort that make all the difference. Just like my old beloved Ikea pieces from my 20s, your life can be a masterpiece, built step by step. Don’t settle for just another coffee table – craft a life filled with meaning, one peg at a time.