Happiness within – TEDxVienna’s first online event

TEDxVienna launched its first online event on May 22nd. It was the first of six events as part of the TEDxViennaSalon series “Adventures Within”. Each of the events has its own theme: work, intimacy, calmness, family, and authenticity. The first event was dedicated to happiness. 

The Happiness event lasted two and a half hours and consisted of different parts, not just talks, but also interactive sessions. As the name suggests, it was all about being happy and why that’s so important.


There were three speakers at the event. 

The Salon started with a talk and workshop by Graham Shaw, a communication stuntman and author. The theme of his talk was “Drawn to Happiness”.

During the live performance with Graham, the attendees had the chance to draw out some doodles, following his instructions. 

Apart from having fun while drawing and being happy that they could actually create something, people had some time to think about who they could share their pictures with as well as what they actually love doing. The purpose of it was to understand what we can share with others to make them happy. 

The main point of Graham’s performance was to show us that we can and should be catalysts of happiness. 

Image credits: TEDxVienna


The live with Graham Shawn was followed by a pre-recorded talk from TEDxBloomington “The happy secret to better work” by a positive psychologist, Shawn Achor

Shawn talked about the positive effects that happiness can bring to your life. According to Shawn and the research he conducted, having a positive attitude will boost your mood and make you more successful in your career, since it makes you more productive. He says that we should reverse the formula to be happy in the present, instead of rushing to become satisfied in the future. Happiness should not be pushed over the cognitive horizon. 

In order to do this, we should train our brains. Shawn suggests that 21 days of simple two-minute exercises will help us a lot. 

The exercise is simple, every day we should:

  • Practice gratitude and think about three things that we are thankful for
  • Journal, about the good things that happened 
  • Meditate
  • Perform random acts of kindness

The attendees then had a chance to discuss the talk.

Following the theme of random acts of kindness, the last speaker, Michael Herold, explained why it matters and how it helps. Michael, a confidence coach, dedicated his live talk to the simple yet mighty act of kindness, a compliment. 

He pointed out that spending money on others, called prosocial spending, makes us happier. But you don’t always need to spend money to make yourself and others feel better.

You can just give someone a compliment. Not only does everyone love compliments, but also its rewarding to give them. Plus, it pushes us out of our comfort zones, making us more vulnerable and less afraid of getting rejected.

This is what the attendees practiced during the little workshop by Michael: they wrote  and sent messages  with compliments to their acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. People then had the chance to share their messages and the answers they received  with others in the chat field.


All sessions were followed with interactive parts, where attendees could discuss the talks and share their opinions. 

After the first live talk with Graham Shaw, the attendees were divided into virtual groups with a TEDxVienna facilitator, who asked some questions on happiness and led a discussion. 

The second talk was topped with one on one conversations with other attendees, which was called speed networking. People had three minutes to share what they learned from the talk as well as to show the doodles they make during the workshop. For instance, some people realized that they should appreciate what they have now and enjoy the moment instead of rushing to be happy in the future. Others were shocked to find out that being happy actually requires working on oneself, which is worth it. A lot of participants recalled when they should have been happy, but took these moments for granted. The guests didn’t only realize what happiness is for them personally, but also heard the ideas of others, which definitely broadened their horizons and made them reevaluate their attitude towards happiness.   

The first online TEDxVienna event was exciting and held attendees attention the whole two and a half hours. Time went by very fast. After the event, all the attendees were given virtual goodie bags, in accordance with the traditions. 

Around 60 people visited the first TEDxVienna online event. Of course, it was a modest amount of guests in comparison to how many people visit the annual event, but TEDxVienna wanted to create a unique experience, where nobody would feel left out. Even though the event was taking place on the web, there was still a feeling of everyone being together in one place. The interactive parts contributed to this feeling: attendees shared very interesting outlooks with each other and left positive comments afterward. It is safe to say that people were happy with the event on happiness.

 Stay tuned for the upcoming TEDxViennaSalon events.



Header image: TEDxVienna

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About Olena Levitina

A journalism student from Ukraine willing to change this world for the better with words (that will motivate to take action). Besides writing, Lena is passionate about history, art and different cultures.

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