Waiting on trains doesn’t make for happiness. Getting in the wrong train when it comes doesn’t either. Does hearing half a lecture which might have otherwise been interesting make happiness? Nope. Sititng on the grass in the sun at lunch comes far closer, but hell, a wet ass and a not particularly tasty sandwich cancels out a good portion of sunlight.
Good thing that the first lecture I managed to see completely was “Happiness” by the Chief Happiness Officer himself, Alexander Kjerulf. A lecture about happiness shouldn’t have an “unfortunately”, but unfortunately this one did. I had thought–since it’s usually Alexander’s subject–that his lecture would be about encouraging and achieving happiness at work. Being someone who’s in the process of rethinking the way 150 people work with one another and for their clients, I figured there’d be a lot I could take home from such a lecture. Here it is: ‘unfortunately’ it would be better described as What is Happiness?, or, as Buddhist since 1998, I’d describe it as Buddhism for Beginners. What I did take away was this quote from Aristotle:
Happiness is something final and complete in itself, as being the aim and end of all practical activities whatever …. Happiness then we define as the active exercise of the mind in conformity with perfect goodness or virtue.
Much more entertaining and potentially useful were the “Micropresentations” which followed. Seven presenters, each has 15 slides and 20 seconds per slide. It was exhilirating and often hilarious, but amazing how wildly the presentations differed, not only in subjects but, more interestingly, in effectiveness. For example, Leisa Reichelt’s “Ambient Intimacy” flowed with humour and intelligence as if she’d done this every day, while others stumbled to complete each slide in time (no names, I’m not out to embarrass anyone who failed as dramatically as I probably would) and brought very little across. Note to myself and colleagues who present: we need to do this once a week. If you can not only survive but also communicate in such a form, you’re a Powerpoint God.
Conference scheduling is always chaos, so I missed a good deal of Matt Jones’ presentation about Dopplr, so I’m off to see if I can find him for a chat and a beta invite. And someone said there’s cake…