Happiness and Its Causes

By Tim Hollo December 1, 2023

Happiness and Its Causes - Tim Hollo - Speakers Panel

So what actually “causes” happiness? (Spoiler – it’s connection)

I was surprised and delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s Happiness and Its Causes conference in Sydney’s International Convention Centre, alongside a stellar line-up including Professor Patrick McGorry, Mawunyo Gbogbo, Dr Catherine Barrett and many more.

I wasn’t sure what they were expecting of me, and put to them that I wanted to speak on the idea that, if you’re happy in the world as it is today, you’re not actually paying attention, but that, with the right effort, we can transform the world into one we can all be happy in together.

The organisers kindly encouraged me to go down that route, and you can watch my presentation below.

What particularly pleased and struck me, though, was that every speaker in the morning I took part focussed in slightly different ways on the idea that happiness cannot be and should never be thought of as individual. All of us talked around the concept of happiness and connection, as interdependence, as a collective phenomenon as opposed to an individual one.

Whether it was Dr Paul Callaghan on Indigenous community connection or Dr Catherine Barrett on her work with the Kindness Pandemic, it all came back to what we can do together. I pushed it forward into transformative action – how, by living into being communities we can be happy in, we can actually change the world.

We also had a great panel discussion involving Iceland’s Wellbing Economy leader, Dr Dora Gudrun Gudmundsdotttir, Professor Debbie Haski-Leventhal and Professor Brock Bastian, chaired by ABC’s Jacinta Tynan.

Hope you get some happiness-causing community action over summer!



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