There are few places in this world that I love more than the theatre. A good overture is enough to make the happy tears to start pouring. If I could spend all day, every day in the theatre, I most definitely would. But the more I think about it, the more I consider that every workplace should be like the theatre.
Most people get through life by working their derrières of various sizes to the maximum. And, whilst the prospect of hard work does not always fill us with a sense of pure happiness, the feeling that we get when the product of that hard work is realised takes joy to a whole new level. At least, that happens sometimes. On other occasions, we balls things up and that hard work feels like a total waste of time. And so, once we have taken the time to get over it, we scrape ourselves back up off the floor and try again. Take 2. Take 3. Perhaps even take 4. We exhaust ourselves and all too often, we give up.
Image sourced from here.
Whenever I have performed in or organised shows in the past, my biggest stressor has never been the fear of mistakes or the fear of being laughed at. It is not even the fear of just not being very good. Having spent months working obscenely hard at something, we are judged on what is rarely more than a couple of hours of work. All of that hard work creates one impression and in order for us to walk away feeling happy, that impression needs to be a good one.
Even when you are in a long-term show, each and every individual performance has to be your absolute best because you are making an impression on a new audience and a whole new set of people who are yet to be convinced of the scale of your hard work. Regardless of what is going on in your life, you have to step out onto that stage and kick ass.
Ultimately, humans are programmed to work according to the demands of their situation. So it follows that, when we have to work at our best every day, we will. And that facilitates the ability to feel proud and happy everyday.
Image sourced from here.
The most important thing about the theatre though, is nothing to do with the work we produce but instead refers to the attitudes of other people. Throughout the show the audience claps, reminding you that you are doing great and that your hard work is worth it. Then, finally, at the curtain call, the world around you erupts into a stream of appreciation and that’s not important in a ‘boost the ego’ way or a ‘hippie’ must share the love way. It is important because it reminds us that we did something worth recognition. We worked our backsides off and we didn’t have to do that. That awesome moment of shared appreciation is what creates sheer happiness every single night.
That is why every workplace should be like the theatre…because the theatre is, really, a happy place.
-The Happy Project-