By now you’ve probably heard that Vancouver ranked “least happy” in a STUDY released by Stats Canada today, examining the satisfaction level of people in Canadian cities. The study was based on this single question posed on surveys conducted from 2009-2013:
“Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means “Very dissatisfied” and 10 means “Very satisfied”, how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?”
Now, I could go on about how I feel there’s faulty logic behind a government agency telling us how unhappy we are after asking a bunch of us a single question. I could argue that things have probably gotten better for Vancouverites in the last couple of years since the survey was done, and I could jump up and down screaming “BUT VANCOUVER IS AWESOME! IT’S AWESOME, DAMMIT!” the way I’ve been doing here on this blog for the past 7 years with more than 14,000 posts demonstrating it. But that’s not going to change the fact that this stat has been released on a piece of paper and will be proliferated by media across the country, and you know what? Maybe it’s kinda true.
So instead of arguing it what I’d like to do is invite you to look inside and ask yourself the question above. Write that number down. Then join us on April 23rd at the Museum of Vancouver when they launch Stefan Sagmeister’s exhibition, The Happy Show.
Sagmeister’s exhibition is based on his decade-long introspection and attempts to increase his happiness, and the exhibit is an intersection of art and design and some really great ideas. While it’s running MOV will also be engaging visitors in #makesmehappy; a number of public activities that extend the show into the community. They’re holding a public symposium on ideas for happier communities headed up by UBC professor John Helliwell, they’ll host a series of Happy Hours encouraging Vancouverites to meet each other and inspire happiness through interaction, and they’ll also run a series of guerilla street interventions that invite social connection.
After you’ve made your way through the Sagmeister exhibit and participated in the accompanying #makesmehappy show and workshops and all the rest, look back on that number you wrote down – your personal satisfaction number – and figure out a way to raise it a notch. Happiness (and awesomeness) is all in the eye of the beholder. It’s deeper than a statistic.