Imagine you’re a star NFL halfback making $10 million a year. One day you find out that your team’s star fullback, who produces at the same level, makes $5,000 a year more than you—that’s just .0005% more. It’s an absurdly small drop in the bucket, yet you would want to know why he’s making more, wouldn’t you? And what if it was because the team seemed just a little bit more impressed with him, despite identical production?
It’s not what the $5,000 can buy that you’d fight for—the desire for appreciation and equal merit-based treatment is much, much deeper than the desire for more cash. The psychology works the same way in the hallways of your office, so keep an eye on those seemingly meaningless amounts.