My Blog and the Ikea Effect

This post is inspired by the most recent Dan Ariely column in the Wall Street Journal.

Here is one of the emails he received:

Dear Dan,

My partner and I decided to do a DIY renovation of our kitchen cabinets. We spent many hours at the store discussing options and reviewing our sketches, then struggled to fit all the boxes into our van. The assembly was arduous, and we were on the brink of giving up on the project. Despite the rocky road, now that our new cabinets are finished, we love them. Why is that? —Dylan

And here was Dan’s response:

The experience you are describing is something that colleagues and I studied in 2011 and dubbed the “IKEA effect.” The basic idea is that after we devote effort to something, we have more positive feelings toward it; we become attached. This phenomenon is not restricted to the assembly of furniture. Having to add an egg or some milk to instant cake mix, for instance, makes you feel much more accomplished than getting a store-bought cake, despite the minimal involvement. Personal effort matters, even when it is small.

I’ve often experienced such feelings. I may not have called it the IKEA effect, but the idea is the same.

I think we appreciate things more if we’ve had to work to achieve it.

And it made me think of my blog.

Many times my blog is based on something interesting I’ve read, and I’ll share my thoughts on the topic.

Sometimes such posts are 90% just copying and pasting the contents of what I’ve read (and I always try to provide the link to the source of such material), and 10% is adding my own thoughts.

It’s like tonight’s post.

In this case, about 50% might be just a copy and paste from the WSJ, and the other 50% is me offering my thoughts.

But as Dan notes:

Having to add an egg or some milk to instant cake mix, for instance, makes you feel much more accomplished than getting a store-bought cake, despite the minimal involvement. Personal effort matters, even when it is small.

So while sometimes I’ve been tempted to just copy and paste an article and then use that as my entire daily blog post, I don’t think I would feel the same sense of accomplishment compared to what I feel when I add an egg or some milk to the story.

Personal effort matters, even if is small.

49 thoughts on “My Blog and the Ikea Effect

  1. Well said! Effort does pay off! That satisfying feeling is nice. :]
    My Tuesday post is copied and pasted but it is satisfying to hear people”s thoughts and to know I picked ones that people liked!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That seems like a phony question that Dylan asked. I think it was a tee-up, so that Dan would have an excuse to tell us about the IKEA effect. So now I’m wondering if IKEA paid him to tee-up a question from a phony, made-up person named Dylan. It’s actually pretty slick, so I hope Dan has a sense of accomplishment from pulling this off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. who knows if Dylan really exists. In college, I had my own weekly column in the student newspaper. It was a fake advice column called “Dear Quincy”. I would make up both the letters and the responses…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t always agree with Dan’s takes, but whether we call it the IKEA effect or something else, I think pride becomes more of a factor when putting effort into something. I think the level of difficulty of a task matters. For example, doing the laundry or scrambling eggs takes effort, but it doesn’t provide much satisfaction because it’s not difficult. However, when I look at my big deck and all of the hours that went into that labor of love, I feel prideful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. well said, Pete. I agree that the harder something is to accomplish, there more satisfied we feel when we do so.

      Now I want to sit out on your deck and have a beer or two… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I recognize the instant cake mix when I read it, but I am here for the eggs and milk. Certainly anything we have to work at to achieve increases our sense of accomplishment and pride. Whether it is a blog post, building a deck, or a project at work. Regardless of how proud you may feel of individual blog posts, you should take great pride in having posted daily for so many years. You find the cake mix, throw in your eggs and milk, and I assure you I will be here to eat the cake.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have to agree with Pete on this. Everything I do that I like blogging or gardening I do 100 percent and that provides feelings of personal satisfaction and pride. Warm and fuzzies for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Don’t sell yourself short. IMO, the most important things you bring to your blog is your ability to first find interesting topics and then distill them into a digestible bite. That takes effort and skill.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You know, most of what we do is comprised we what we have learned from everything that is around us., regardless of how original we feel we are. We then sprinkle a bit of ourselves into it, or simply rearrange it in different ways. Sometimes, just that little something that we add or rearrange makes it so very special and you certainly managed to do this on many posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Tony/Margie. I am always impressed when bloggers create something completely on their own, such as your travel stories, or original poetry from others. I also feel a bit better when one of my posts is mainly original thoughts, as opposed to using someone else’s work as a starting point. Nonetheless, I still feel satisfied when I publish something, not matter the source of inspiration…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Initial instant cake mixes didn’t sell all that well, and market research picked up that people didn’t feel they were doing enough to feel good about them. So they took out the eggs and milk, and success followed. Keep adding them to your posts – it’s the right way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for that background info on the instant cake mixes, I was not aware of that. It wouldn’t bother me to use an instant cake mix, though, if I was ever in the mood to make a cake 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. and it’s likely that when you are able to do a good job with minimal effort and time that you have become skilled in such a task, and that is something to be proud of…


  9. I always feel good when I make something even if I just add milk or something to the mix, That’s how I make pancakes and I always feel like I made them from scratch even though I obviously didn’t. The IKEA effect is definitely a thing. That’s also how I write most of my research papers lol- just share a couple of my own thoughts here and there 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Personal effort does matter, you definitely develop a sense of pride especially if it’s something you worked hard to achieve, rather than something that was given to you. I can totally relate to your example of your blog.

    When I first started blogging, I was very particular about the subjects I wrote about.. to a detriment… It had to be perfect, it had to make sense with where I was in my life, it had to be serious and not playful at all… But once I started to put myself on a weekly schedule, I found the perfectionist method tedious and tiresome, especially when life got difficult and crazy.. I had no time to focus on perfection so I just cut down on the amount of edits (instead of 25 edits, I now maybe give it 15 good passes and call it a day, without sacrificing the integrity of my posts).. Tbh, it didn’t feel great at first but now looking at my catalogue of posts, I’m proud to have not missed a week since I started on this journey 🙂

    One of my favourite YouTuber always reminds us, “A done something is better than a perfect nothing!”

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your approach to blogging, and congrats on sticking to your schedule. I don’t do any formal edits, but just tend to edit as I go along (usually just based on whatever Grammarly finds for me 🙂 )

      And I like the quote from the YouTuber…

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