Dieter Lange: Why do you actually work?

Dieter Lange: "Why do you actually work? So you can achieve fulfilment!"

Why are you working? Do you work to make money? Or to maintain your social status? Most people answer this question in some way with the words "to ...". This is not unusual, but it is rather sad. Because it means that they are referring to a distant goal in the future - and are in danger of missing the moment.

The "actually" in the question should instead stand for the underlying motive. Dieter Lange explains what this means and why many people do not work for the sake of work itself. The management trainer is a successful top speaker and expert on productivity. He has already worked for THANKANK YOU NIGHTS Speakers' Nights on stage and deals with exciting topics related to change. In doing so, Dieter Lange illuminates both professional and private change processes. He provides valuable impulses and is guaranteed to broaden your horizon.

Why a burnout is almost normal

Let us take a closer look at the (working) world in which we live. According to Dieter Lange, it is above all complex, uncertain and ambivalent. The expert knows that a high rate of sick leave is psychologically related: "We have an exponential development in depression. Burnout affects an enormous number of people. Some burnout victims now dare to come out. Others are working their asses off." What are the reasons for working till you burn out?

First of all, Dieter Lange admits that the sense of doing something has been lost for a large number of employees: "The lifeblood is no longer there. The pride of the factory is missing." No wonder, because everything oftentimes countsare dates, changes and facts. Dieter Lange: "Many companies are number-driven, it's about results that have to be delivered quarterly. Long-term planning is hardly feasible any more. And this means that for many employees the sense of purpose has been lost. Everyone tries to set up their things in the best possible way in the shortest possible time."

The consequences are permanent pressure, revision and the question of the overall sense. An often counterproductive approach, as Dieter Lange knows: "The company's goals are the pillars of the temple, so to speak. But who actually asks about the roof of the temple? Could you tell the company you work for what the roof of the temple is?"

What Generation Y wants on the job

The roof of the temple does not consist of goals, but of the context, the overarching framework for action, the actual idea of the company. Dieter Lange calls it the North Star - the thing that really moves people: "If you reach people's hearts, you don't have to worry about their heads. But win their hearts first! You can't do that by numbers. Man lives in passion, but only exists in reason."

So if you want performance, you have to make sense today. Dieter Lange explains that precisely this leads to major challenges with Generation Y: "The 20 to 35-year-olds have certain criteria by which they determine which company they want to work for. These include the meaningfulness of what they do, the scope for action, the social and cultural way of dealing with each other and the opportunities for further training. The salary is relatively low."

Why you can work for love or fear

At the same time, it is true that hardly any employees leave their company just for the money. Of course you can climb up the pay ladder a few rungs thanks to a job change. But Dieter Lange is sure: "People don't leave their companies, people leave their bosses." Before the final job change happens, most employees are usually demotivated. Dieter Lange: "Some even work in a passive-aggressive way, i.e. against their own employer. They just don't let on. The rest work with a leisure-oriented, gentle attitude."

So what is the real motive in a world in which only a few employees are highly committed and wholeheartedly involved? According to Dieter Lange, there are basically only two overriding motives for motivation: "Whatever you do, you do either out of love or out of fear. There is no other motive. Where there is fear, there is never love. And where there is love, there is never fear."

Those who work solely out of fear - for example, out of fear of not making money, not having a recognized status or not meeting social norms - will never put their heart and soul into their work. But what exactly distinguishes fear from love? And how does this knowledge help you to better answer the question "Why do you actually work"? Dieter Lange describes a development that every person can go through. It consists of six reasons or levels and answers step by step why people work.

1. security

The first reason to work is safety. Dieter Lange: "We live in a welfare state. We never have to go hungry and can always have a roof over our heads so that we do not freeze. People in the third world simply want to survive. If that is given, we strive for the next level."

2. uncertainty

According to the law of polarity, nothing is true without its opposite - and the opposite of security is uncertainty. Now, as a logical person, you ask yourself, "Well, what now?" But in life the rule is always: both and. Dieter Lange claims: "Nothing is harder to bear than a string of good days. We seek the thrill and the fearlust. We want challenges. That, too, is already given to most of us."

3. significance

If the two previous levels are there, the person strives for significance. Dieter Lange: "You want to be someone special. And for that purpose you collect a lot of prostheses for your self-esteem. These include job titles, the showpiece car, and other status symbols." But sometimes you should pause and question whether this is really necessary. Often people spend money they don't have to buy things they don't need, in order to impress people they don't like. Pretty crazy, right? 

How you defeat ego trips

In summary, according to Dieter Lange, the first three reasons can be described as ego trips: "Our ego is our mind fighting for its own survival. And on these three levels we are always dealing with the same motive, namely fear. Fear that life is not safe. Or, that life is boring. afraid to count for nothing in the eyes of others."

The motto on these three levels is: More is better. Higher, faster, further! But you should say goodbye to that, because life is not linear. Dieter Lange: "We pay an incredibly high price, especially for significance. Fortunately, many people understand at this point that there must be more to life. That means: We need a transformation, a qualitative step. Away from significance, to a new level.

4. internal growth

Here it is, the new level! It is dedicated to inner growth. It is true: giving is more blessed than receiving. Dieter Lange: "When this inner growth comes to a culmination point, then you are able to give something to other people, to pay tribute to them.

5. contribution

On this level it is no longer fear that drives you, but love. And instead of continuing on the ego-trip, you are now entering the path to Self-realization. Dieter Lange: "What good is it if you win the world, but your soul is damaged?

6. realize being human

The sixth level is the highest you can reach. For at that point you have realized humanity. Dieter Lange: "Our answer to the question "Why do you actually work" must come from here. As long as you do "to ...", you are not living life. But on this level you understand that the joy in doing lies in itself. Here you experience pride in your work again and are absorbed in it.

Why you should work for the joy of doing

That's the kind of self-image you need to regain. Or as Dieter Lange says: "We must have joy on the way, because the way is the goal. Nothing against goals, they set actions in motion. But the joy is not in arriving, but always on the way." So the dominance of the ego must recede. Dieter Lange: "It's not about having or doing, it's about being. Do things for the joy of doing!"

Ask yourself to which question or challenge you are the answer in your company! Try to look at your life goals as a chapter of a book and find out what the title of the book of your life is. Dieter Lange states: "The purpose of every success is: to grow and contribute. Or in other words: to grow and contribute in a world you want to live in."

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