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.Β  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 responses

  1. I canΒ΄t see the video, because IΒ΄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.


    October 8, 2009 at 16:25

  2. I love this! I love experiments like this.


    October 8, 2009 at 16:38

  3. I love this! What a perfect topic.


    October 8, 2009 at 16:47

  4. Jen

    Oh that is simply amazing. It made my heart sing.



    October 8, 2009 at 17:02

  5. Of course we moms already knew that…in order to get our kids to do any chores we have to make it fun. πŸ™‚

    That video is awesome.


    October 8, 2009 at 17:03

  6. AWE-SOME!!!!! Thanks for sharing.
    I wish they’d do that in Grand Central Station – NYC!


    October 8, 2009 at 17:20

  7. Amy

    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!!!


    October 8, 2009 at 18:30

  8. What fun!


    October 8, 2009 at 19:25

  9. love this… I think Change is INVIGORATING!


    October 8, 2009 at 19:27

  10. I just loved the video and will post it today. Just so nice to spread the joy…


    October 8, 2009 at 20:37

  11. Thank you for sharing that! I now have sent an Email to my father and brother with that video – that’s very cool!


    October 8, 2009 at 21:05

  12. 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! πŸ™‚


    October 8, 2009 at 21:23

  13. Po

    What an awesome idea! I’m not surprised the Swedish came up with a funky idea like that.


    October 8, 2009 at 23:02

  14. love the stairway piano, LadyFi! how kewl is that? LOL and fun!


    October 9, 2009 at 04:04

  15. Braja

    What a lovely endeavor πŸ™‚ I like it….


    October 9, 2009 at 04:08

  16. Braja

    However, regarding the stairs? Once. Once only.

    Then I’d have to scream :)))


    October 9, 2009 at 04:13

  17. 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.


    October 9, 2009 at 04:51

    • I know I always learned more when it was fun and/or funny.


      October 9, 2009 at 09:31

  18. 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.


    October 9, 2009 at 06:33

  19. I liked it so much I blogged on my other blog about it:


    October 9, 2009 at 07:19

  20. I love this!! What a bloody brilliant idea!!

    C x


    October 9, 2009 at 09:13

  21. 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)!


    October 9, 2009 at 09:36

  22. Blu

    Flippin bloomin fantastic!!!…love those steps.


    October 9, 2009 at 10:34

  23. 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


    October 9, 2009 at 11:54

  24. Very truly said πŸ™‚

    Thoseghar Waterfall:


    October 9, 2009 at 12:31

  25. I’m a believer in this philosophy!! THAT’S AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing this. I may have to post it to my Facebook for my piano playing children. πŸ™‚


    October 9, 2009 at 19:05

  26. Brillant and so true!


    October 9, 2009 at 23:22

  27. Now that would be fun! I would have been tempted to stay and watch people there all day long! πŸ™‚


    October 10, 2009 at 04:20

  28. Hmm, that has me thinking. I’m very resistant to change so I’ll have to see if I can make it more enjoyable.


    October 10, 2009 at 13:38

  29. So wonderful! I do think adding an element of fun and joy does make change go smoother!


    October 12, 2009 at 01:40

  30. Thank you – put a smile on my face and I didn’t even have to take the stairs!


    October 21, 2009 at 10:01

  31. Pingback: Making fun out of rubbish « On a quirky quest with Lady Fi

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