Tom had just been given the rather boring task of whitewashing his Aunt’s fence. As he began painting, his friend Ben came by, nibbling an apple.
‘Would you like to go swimming, Tom? Don’t you wish you could? And not just work on such a beautiful day’
‘What do you call work? Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?
That put things in new light in Ben’s eyes. ‘Say, will you let me whitewash?’ Ben asked
And thus, as the day progressed, many boys came and went. Tom ended up wealthy owning several marbles and other such goods while Aunt Polly’s fence was of course, whitewashed three times over!
Through this example, Dan Pink illustrates a simple point that has been around for decades. ‘Carrots and sticks‘ are not the answer to everything! Simple shifts in perspective and the way we position work can convert ‘work‘ to ‘fun‘ in no time. We are personally way more inspired to be ‘the best fence painter in the world’ versus earning $5 to paint a fence.