The IKEA Effect

We have a cognitive bias towards the things we were involved in making.

We place more value on an $80 table we had to build ourselves than we do one that we purchased whole.

This psychologial phenomenon is what IKEA’s empire is built upon.

It’s why premade cake mixes didn’t sell until the company who invented them started making people mix in their own eggs.

It’s why some community theatre groups feel like they’re owed Tony awards.

And why parents have been building ugly teddies with their kids at Build-A-Bear workshops for over 20 years.

We care more about things we’ve had a hand in producing because when we invest our time and energy into something, we earn a sense of ownership over it.

Your IKEA furniture is yours in a way which goes beyond the fact you paid for it.

It’s yours because you dedicated a small part of yourself to it, and you enjoyed the process.

Imagine that your life were a table.

Would you want someone else to build it for you; eliminating all creative choice?

Maybe you’d like a box full of resources and directions to get you started? And maybe you feel great putting it together. Maybe design is fine… but it’s not your design.

Perhaps you go even further. You take the risk and carve it yourself, knowing full-well that there’ll be bumps to smooth out along the way.

I know which I choose.

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