Why are Icelanders so Good at Working Happy?

VikingI’m back from Iceland and I’ve got some great feedback from everyday working Icelanders. We hear how wonderful other countries’ working environments are, but it’s not that different from America. They too have problems with…


  • Communication

  • Retention of Employees

  • Motivating Their Staff


It’s not any easier working in Iceland than it is in America, India, or Australia.


They are paid three times as much as we are paid in America, but they also pay three times as much for their food, gas, and other necessities. It really all balances out. It’s amazing how a free market does that.


Icelanders live very similar to middle class Americans. They live in average size homes and have extra spending money for the movies, a night out, or mini lobsters, lamb, fresh fruit, and a myriad of other wonderful foods.


My uncle works for an Icelandic computer company and he has a work hiking group that he hangs out with every week. This promotes healthiness and camaraderie. I know that we have these clubs in almost every big company. So why are Icelanders working happy?


I believe the culture of their happiness comes from how they treat each other.


They tease each other and aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. You may wonder, how does this make them happier? When you can laugh at yourself or a co-worker it eases the tension. They don’t hold on to these emotions. They let it go and just move on to the next part of their day. I know not all Icelanders are this way, but many of them are able to laugh off the stress.


I recently wrote a post called Inside Out Shirt Day. At first I wasn’t sure if I should publish it because I might look like a boob. After a minute of running it through my mind I decided to go for it because I’m not perfect and we should understand that mistakes are a part of work. We should learn from these mistakes, but also be able to laugh at them, so it doesn’t feel like the world is going to come crashing down on us.


I know most of us are capable of enjoying a good laugh at other people’s expense, so next time a co-worker makes fun of you, don’t get upset. Why not laugh with them? You’ll be harnessing your inner Viking. Just put your ego aside for that moment and let out that laugh. Just maybe you’ll feel like a working happy Icelander.


What was the last mistake that embarrassed you? Come on, you know you want to share.

5 thoughts on “Why are Icelanders so Good at Working Happy?”

  1. Karl –

    Wonderful post. Our ego is the root of cynicism that exists in our life. If we love to detach ego, we can live a happy, fulfilling life. I also agree with you that laughing at our own mistakes relieves the inner stress and increases emotional clarity. With that said, last mistake I made was to walk in the ladies’ restroom at the local wal-mart and not realizing till I saw a woman walking in the room. I was terrified and I apologized but she was LOL!


    Shilpan @ successsoul.com’s last blog post..3 Guiding Principles to Find a Life Long Purpose

  2. Hey Shilpan, I’ve accidentally walked into a ladies room before. I found that the women were more upset than I was. I guess they do have a right to be angry.

    When we can laugh at ourselves it makes work and life so much easier. Thanks for checking in. I always enjoy your comments.

  3. The blog looks great, Karl. This is an exciting project! The last big mistake I made was when I took on too many voice students and had to back out of all of them but one. I think it was a wise step in the long run (to back out), but I felt really ashamed and guilty when I was in the process of fixing my blunder. I was so relieved when it was over and I had made my decision!

    Larissa Chace Smith’s last blog post..Shoshone Sage

  4. Hey Larissa, thanks for the compliment. At least you admitted your mistake and had the guts to fix it, instead of trying to please everyone. You set your pressure point and lived by it. Good for you! I wish more people would do what you did.

  5. Pingback: Work Happy Now! » Great Articles From Around the Blog-o-sphere

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