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How to find happiness

We sent our health and lifestyle writer Larissa Yu to a workshop called ‘A Night Of Better Conversation: Happiness’ at Sydney’s think-tank The School Of Life… What she discovered was that while she loved discussing society’s never-ending quest for true happiness, the evening was also inadvertently the perfect place to meet people. 

Forget Tinder, Bumble, Happ’n and The Bachelor… Ladies, I can now answer the question: “WHERE are all the single guys with substance at on a Friday night in Sydney??” Answer: They’re all at The School Of Life!

In one single night I met a charismatic environmental IT specialist, a tech-mogul who owned his own software company, and a witty, softly-spoken Canadian. I have never met men like this at my local, in the gym, wandering the aisles of Aldi, or by swiping right… btw.

So, what is the School of Life?
Well, the School Of Life is a game-changing thought-movement co-founded by philosopher Alain de Botton, where you can learn how to develop emotional intelligence by applying philosophy, psychology and culture to everyday life.

For the workshop I attended, I walked into a room full of intelligent, interesting men and women from all over the world (aged 2o-50), who were genuinely curious about life. The vibe is less self-help workshop and more buzzy intellectual cocktail party. There were dozens of small tables seating 3-4 people, flanked by a healthy food buffet and free pop-up bar courtesy of the boutique Archie Rose Distilling Co (#winning).  

How to find happiness

Conversation card ice-breakers on each table kept things interesting

The evening’s host, journalist Myke Bartlett, guided us through 4 x 15-minute power sessions. He posed questions about happiness, melancholy, pain and fulfilment, followed by short group table discussions. It’s amazing how easily you can open up to complete strangers about your innermost thoughts after a few Negronis…  

With each new topic we had to move to a new table with a different mix of people to discuss it. While it felt a bit like speed-dating or musical chairs, the point was to have thought-provoking exchanges with different individuals to get out of your comfort zone. Genius.  

Did I find the secret to happiness?
Yes! Basically, we all need to stop trying so hard to be happy all the time!

What I learned in this workshop is that if you need something to aspire to, try replacing the word ‘happiness’ with ‘wholeness’. Sadness, fear and pain are an inescapable part of the human experience so learn to embrace them.

By chasing happiness exclusively and relentlessly, we are actually limiting our ability to truly find it.  #deep

How to be happier

Host Myke Bartlett kept the conversation flowing… as did the delicious cocktails

My verdict?
A night of interesting conversation with intriguing new people sharing their deepest thoughts on life AND free cocktails?? Sounds like a perfect first date to me!
And while the mentally-stimulating atmosphere and passionate discussions encouraged flirtation, I met just as many fascinating women I’d love to be friends with as I did smart men. 

They do social events like these often. If you’re interesting in signing up, my advice is to be brave, stay open-minded and dive in to get the most out of it. The content is deep so you’ll connect really quickly and get a sense of who people are at their core which can be both exciting and confronting. 

Find out more about The School Of Life here. They regularly do expert talks, panels and social events like this one so keep an eye out.


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