Last month, while on a conference at TechStars Chicago, Sandglaz co-founders Nada and Zaid stumbled upon The Happy Show at the Chicago Cultural Center. The artist, Stefan Sagmeister, spent over 1o years exploring happiness and even gave a TED Talk back in 2007 on Happiness by Design. It seems the Happy Show was just a natural evolution in Sagmeister's work.
At the intersection of art and graphic design, The Happy Show explores different facets of happiness - from marital satisfaction to job satisfaction. Although Sagmeister has spent a considerable time exploring happiness, the artist is reluctant to give a definition of its meaning:
I am often bored with definitions, in this case though it is such an all encompassing term, that I do think it is helpful to distinguish three different levels of happiness according to time: There is short term happiness like bliss, joy and ecstasy, medium term happiness like satisfaction and well-being and long term happiness like "finding what you are put on this earth for."
Since a great chunk of The Happy Show is concerned with work, we wanted to talk more to Stefan Sagmeister about his findings and experience. In spite of his super-busy schedule, he was kind enough to answer a few questions for Team Hacks. Here's what he had to tell us about work and happiness.
TEAM HACKS: Which one of the three categories - long-term, medium-term, short-term - does work fall into?
STEFAN SAGMEISTER: All three are possible: I can enjoy a short-term moment of bliss at work, can spend an afternoon in a state of satisfaction by losing myself in a challenging project and I can find long-term what I am good for in life within my profession.
TEAM HACKS: Through your studies, what conclusion have you reached about the relationship between happiness and work?
STEFAN SAGMEISTER: I have reached few conclusions about the relationship between happiness and work but have, by myself and with others, received a high degree of satisfaction out of my work.
TEAM HACKS: How is creativity related to happiness, and can "un-creative" professions derive happiness from work?
STEFAN SAGMEISTER: I do not think that creative people are necessarily happier than non-creative people. I do think it is satisfying when the work we do is able to help or delight other people.