What we like is what makes us work

It’s fascinating to me the way people enjoy experiences that make them work. Many people love a good crossword or jigsaw puzzle.

I personally wait all week for the New York Times Saturday crossword puzzle, because that’s the one that makes me work the most. The more difficult they make my life, the better I like it.

Why is this so? Why do some people love fiendishly difficult video games, while others love the challenge of mastering Liszt’s Campanella?

I think it comes down to a fundamental survival trait: We are drawn to activities that increase our skills or abilities.

Were that not the case, our primordial ancestors would have spent their entire lives just lazing around doing as little as possible. But if that were the case, our species would never have managed to survive, and you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.

So here’s a takeaway: If you want people to love your creation, then create something that requires them to put in some effort. It seems that what we like is what makes us work.

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