This is not meant to be taken seriously – this is art. Or social commentary. Or both. The Happiness Hat was created by Lauren MacCarthy, who calls it:
A wearable conditioning device that detects if you’re smiling and provides pain feedback if you’re not. Frowning creates intense pain but a full smile leaves you pain free! The first in a series of Tools for Improved Social Inter-Acting.
To me, this is a great commentary to the pressure to be happy that exists in society today. There seems to be a sense that “if you’re not happy, there’s something wrong with you.” Ironically, this makes people less happy.
Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the same phenomenon in her new book “Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America“.
Here she is on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
What we need to remember is, that unhappiness is a part of life – including work life. No workplace is perfect. No job is without problems. And no one is happy every moment of every work day. And that’s as it should be.
If we expect to be happy all the time at work we are bound to be disappointed. If we consistently marginalize and criticize people who are unhappy at work, we lose some very valuable voices of reason and realism in the workplace.
When your circumstances are bad, there is nothing wrong with being unhappy; it is only natural. And trying to force people to be happy only makes them less happy.
So let’s give unhappiness it’s central place in the workplace – as a perfectly natural, even helpful, state of mind. And that, ironically, will lead to more happiness at work!
Have you ever felt pressured to be happy at work when you weren’t? What did that do to you? What constructive role do you see unhappiness play at work? Please write a comment, I’d love to hear your take.