Today, people are obsessed with changes due to a variety of reasons like the achievement of the best outcomes, competitive advantage, personal success, satisfaction, or money. Each step needs to be organized as per three main principles: past experience, current knowledge, and future perspectives. However, despite the already obtained maturity, every person needs a guide to be followed. For this purpose, to facilitate human life, let us imagine that three great minds, namely Daniel Pink, Charles Duhigg, and David Graeber, gathered together at their lunch and shared their thoughts. These American authors have already contributed to social development and individual growth by writing interesting books about motivation, habits, and purposes. This time, they wanted to find several common goals in their discussions and protect society against unnecessary and complex decisions. This essay is based on observations and information obtained from the Graeber-Pink-Duhigg meeting to develop several simple steps for a modern person to improve daily routines and learn how to enjoy every moment of life.
The meeting was organized at Poets House, a national literary center in New York. The authors chose this place due to the possibility to talk about books that contain knowledge and history of not only the American nation but the entire world. Graeber came first, but he had not to wait too long because Pink and Duhigg joined the table within the next five minutes. They shook hands and called each other by name, demonstrating a respectful and, at the same time, friendly tone of communication. Graeber initiated the conversation by explaining the initial purposes of their meeting. As well as in his book, he wanted to know why, being aware of people’s needs, society could not take action and deal with “bullshit employment” to create “a window on much deeper social problems” (Graeber 26). Pink supported this intention and offered to “begin with a thought experiment” (10). Duhigg, in his turn, promoted the necessity of awareness training to recognize burning cues (95). In general, the men offered a solid framework for analysis that consisted of theory (Graeber), experiment (Pink), and practice (Duhigg).
The first step in understanding how to improve the quality of life and bring society to a successful future is to identify and learn the critical theoretical aspects. Graeber took responsibility for this part and explained the importance of bearing in mind the difference between what is “pointless” and what is “merely bad” (14). Relying on his observations and evaluations, Graeber offered to reduce the number of occupations for people and provide them with an opportunity to do what they want to do (not what is expected). Among a variety of provocative concepts, he recommended considering creativity not as a “form of defiance” but as a step away from obligations and reduced motivation (Graeber 135). His main contribution to the meeting is a statement that could serve as a reason for a change. He believed that “we have become a civilization based on work – not even ‘productive work’ but work as an end and meaning in itself” (Graeber 26). It was an idea with which the other two authors could not but agree because it did define their mission in this discussion.
In his analysis, Pink added several good examples of how to take the first steps in the chosen improvement direction. He said about “going back in time” to understand when progress and success made people dependent on certain factors (Pink 10). His speech was full of such terms as “competence, autonomy, and relatedness,” as well as the desire of human beings to stay self-determined and liberated in order to achieve rich lives (Pink 70-71). Graeber and Duhigg nodded their heads because they realized what Pink was talking about and why people got confused about what they did and what they wanted. As such, meeting human demands will never be a simple task as some of them could be individual and healthy, while others are imposed and dangerous. Pink wanted to inspire his companions and introduced three variables for people to consider – autonomy, mastery, and purpose that are usually larger than people think they can be.
However, a theoretical background developed by Graeber and a supportive material delivered by Pink would not be enough without suggestions by Duhigg. Compared to previous talks, his ideas were characterized by practical elements because he admitted that “willpower isn’t just a skill,” but “a muscle” that can be taught, developed, and overloaded (Duhigg 157). Sometimes, people try to improve the quality of their muscles at home without additional help. In most cases, they need professional assistance and a good plan to deal with what is given and what can be achieved. The same happens to bad and good habits, and Duhigg taught us not to remove what is given but change and replace it with something useful and positive. As soon as a person understands that he or she possesses a certain habit, it is possible to change it, take responsibility, and obtain freedom.
In this conversation, there were no wrong points because each author demonstrated appropriate examples and powerful evidence. They did not consider it necessary to define a leader but to focus on the issues that united their works. It seemed that the theoretical basis by Graeber, an experimental approach by Pink, and practical aspects by Duhigg had to be combined one day to help society recognize the existing weaknesses and strengths. Among a variety of flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters, it is high time to identify habit loops and intrinsic motivation (Dunhigg 24; Gaeber 28; Pink 21). The following five simple steps can be enough for complex individuals to facilitate their life and find out a meaning:
- Believe that there is something unnecessary in life;
- Do not be afraid to remove things or even people from life;
- Find ideas and issues that motivate but are not imposed by someone;
- Strive for autonomy because it is something wanted not expected;
- Always try to develop as per personal needs.
In conclusion, millions of people would be happy to witness a meeting of these three modern, extraordinary authors like Pink, Graeber, and Duhigg. Their thoughts are never offensive or provocative in terms of negative emotions. They helped understand that people usually try to complicate their lives through technological advancement, new relationships, and experience exchange. The problem is that there is no button that could stop the process of development in society. Duhigg correctly admitted that habits could not be removed or avoided, but they might be changed. Pink helped find an appropriate source of motivation, and Graever explained why changes matter. Their conversation is a priceless lesson for modern people who have already gathered enough knowledge and skills and need a guide to deal with their resources and achieve success.
Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House, 2014. Web.
Graeber, David. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. Simon & Schuster, 2018.
Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Hardcover, 2009.