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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Movie - reflections


This posts details how we got on at the Centre for Life with our matinee and evening showings of The Happy Movie.
I’m also posting some supporting materials, which I will update in a couple of weeks – I want to get this all live before it gathers dust! ;-)

Centre for Life = fantabulous

I’d firstly like to say how grateful we are to the Centre for Life and their team, led by Owen, who did a tremendous job making everyone feeling welcome and putting on the show without a single glitch – bravo!


I took these before everyone arrived. We sold 20 tickets for the matinee, and nearly 40 for the evening. Happy times! :-D

Discussion sessions – interesting thoughts / quotes

It’s them what came that made it

We had a great bunch of people who came, watched the movie, and discussed their thoughts afterwards. We had some really interesting points made, mainly around communities rather than individual happiness. The following sections represent a sample of them.


  • “I’d sacrifice the pawn to save the queen any day”
  • “There’s no one key to happiness, it’s different for everyone”
  • Concerns about the lack of community in our Communities; and a related discussion about the Diamond Jubilee – it doesn’t matter what you think of the Monarchy, “the point is to have the party
  • Targets / key performance indicators in schools – “measurement kills happiness”
  • We talked about the concept of ‘Pay it Forward
  • A passionate point about giving children the chance “to be aware”
  • It was felt that managers in any organisation could be kept ‘grounded’ by having them rolling up their sleeves and often working with customers and front-line staff


  • A quick discussion about choosing to be happy
  • We discussed meditation, e.g. mettā bhāvanā
  • “After a week on my own, I craved the company of other people”
  • Our focus also took in random acts of kindness [see also The Kindness Offensive]
    • There was a great point made – if  you’re doing random acts of kindness, then you’re more likely to notice them in other people
    • Check out this awesome London Underground site which document stories of kindness :-D
  • “If you’re looking for good things, you’re more likely to see them”
  • We talked through the difference and relative merits of experiential versus existential happiness – i.e. is happiness something that can be built and increased, or is it something that is innate?
  • “it’s about the acceptance of yourself”

My thoughts

  • The movie is quite challenging: in a constructive way
    • We all have our preconceived ideas, and it’s healthy to have them compared to other perspectives, and ways of living
    • Amazing to watch a rickshaw puller, living with his family in a shanty - who is obviously a very happy person, and lives in harmony with his neighbours
  • Not everyone is thinking “how can I be happier – or more fulfilled?”; I was instructive to remember that “nobody is broken, and nothing needs fixing”

Thanks to my colleagues

Whilst I don’t wish this post to turn into a schmaltzy love-in, however I’m really grateful that we as a group were able to make this happen, and share the movie with the North East. So, credit where it’s due to:
Mike Cockburn: @mikesogno
Paul Hemphill: @HorizonsLife
Jan Etoile: @etoileenterprises
Emily Sweetman: @emzo1968
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