Joy as an agent of change

As Roy Blitzer once said, “The only person who likes change, is a wet baby.” And the strange thing is that while we resist change, it is the only constant (apart from death and taxes, of course).


Bizarrely enough, the car company Volkswagen is giving out money to people (in Sweden) to see if pure enjoyment can change the way we behave.  They call it ‘the theory of having fun’. In other words, they believe that the easiest and most pleasant way of helping us change for the better is through happiness.

One experiment set out to see if people would throw their rubbish in a bin if it brought a smile to their lips. When you throw rubbish into this special bin, it goes ‘weeeeeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeee’ and then bonk. (That’s the sound of the rubbish falling a long way down and then hitting the bottom of what they named ‘the world’s deepest rubbish bin’.) The result was that 72 kilos of rubbish was put in the bin during one day. That’s 41 kilos more than the rubbish put in a nearby ‘ordinary’ bin.

In another experiment, the brains behind the test wanted to encourage people to take the stairs instead of the moving escalator. Did they succeed? Yes! A whopping 66% more people used the stairs that day. And they had a lot of fun doing so, as you’ll see from this short video.

So next time you want to persuade someone to do something for you – or if you want to change the world (or just that smelly nappy): then remember that bringing joy into the lives of others will help you on your way!

32 thoughts on “Joy as an agent of change

  1. I can´t see the video, because I´m at work, but the post in itself is really inspirational. What a great idea. It just shows how we humans like to be happy.


  2. Love this- have you ever seen the film BIG with Tom Hanks? The piano scene at the toy store was one of the best scenes..this reminded me of that! Great!!!


  3. First off, i would totally buy that garbage can. I’d create garbage just to hear that sound. LOL I might even take the stairs for that! 🙂


  4. I love it. We need laughter after all the bad news we hear on TV. Great idea, especially for kids. Perhaps teachers who make kids laugh, have better success with their students than the strict ones too.


  5. I loved it too. I’m sending it to my husand, who is working on why some new products make us laugh and how that might affect their successful uptake in the market.


  6. Just watching the video made me smile!

    Now THAT’S an advertising campaign I can get behind! I’m totally buying a VW (as soon as I get a really good full time job that makes me loads of money so I can afford it)!


  7. Oh what a wonderful country Sweden must be – well, I already knew that because of the laws governing dog ownership, but now I really can see that they must be one of the most civilised places.

    This is truly an excellent idea and even I would use the stairs if I could play a tune with my feet


I love reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.