A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness

Our society is obsessed with happiness. Whole countries are ranked by a happiness index, while each of us feels like being happy isn't just something to aspire to but a duty, like eating our greens or going to the gym. Those of us who can't be happy -- or pretend to be happy -- often feel rejected by the society around us, as if melancholy isn't a natural human condition but something alien, awkward and (worst of all) contagious?

What if we've got it wrong? Are there better measures by which we can judge our lives than whether we make ourselves (and others) happy? The fact is that life is full of miseries, large and small, that are an essential, if painful, part of the human experience. This pain might not be meaningful, but is it perhaps necessary, if we are to fully experience pleasure?

In this wide-ranging and thought provoking night of conversation, we'll be drawing on the work of leading thinkers, artists and writers to reframe our obsession with happiness. We'll be saying things we've never said before and asking ourselves (and each other) some big questions. 

Namely, is the quest for true happiness making us all truly miserable?


17.00     The Everleigh Bar Opens
17.30     The Elk Room Opens (themed bespoke cocktail upon arrival)
18.30     Welcome & Introduction
19.00     Technique 1
19.30     Technique 2
20.00     Technique 3
20.30     Permission to Speak Freely
21.00     Event Concludes, Bar Open for Continued Conversation

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'I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.'
― Hugh Mackay

This event is proudly presented in partnership with The Everleigh. 

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The Everleigh and The School of Life have a commitment to providing enlightened hospitality to its customers. Our shared mission is to create events and environments where meaningful connections can flourish.


Myke Bartlett was born in Perth, and spent his first twenty years trying to escape. A trained journalist, Bartlett writes on politics, movies, pop culture and rock music for Australia's best-known cultural publications. His debut young adult novel Fire in the Sea won the 2011 Text Prize.


Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject. 

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A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness


When and where:
  • Thu 19 Jul 2018 5.30 – 9pm,
    Elk Room, The Everleigh Bar, Upstairs 150-156 Gertrude Street Fitzroy, VIC 3065

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Full price: $60.00
Concession: $50.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

One bespoke Everleigh cocktail inspired by the theme (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) included in ticket price.
Further drinks will be available for purchase on the night. Light catering will be provided.

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original event date.

For ticketing and box office enquiries please call 0434 492 669 or email melbourne@theschooloflife.com.au.


The Elk Room, The Everleigh
Upstairs, 150-156 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Please note this event is a stand-up, cocktail style event with approximately 70 participants.

The venue is not wheelchair accessible. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.