Editor’s Note: On March 15, Andy gave the closing keynote speech at SXSW Interactive on Why Happiness Is Hard and How To Make It Easier. Kelly Krause of the SXSW team filled us in on why Andy was just what the event needed this year.
After five full days of networking, thought-provoking sessions, parties, serendipitous meetings and sensory overload at SXSW Interactive, we wondered, “What’s the best way to close out the event and leave our attendees inspired?”
We know the SXSW community consists of some of the brightest minds in the industry: they’re early adopters, decision-makers, hyper-connected and live in a digital world. And, if they maximized their time at SXSW appropriately, they likely have a flurry of new business ideas and connections they’re ready to explore. But one thing that’s hard to gauge? Their mindset. While all of our Keynotes are instrumental to the programming lineup, our closing Keynote is certainly unique. As one of the last remarks of the day, this speaker has the opportunity to address over 30,000 attendees with an inspiring and empowering message. One that can help us digest what we’ve learned at SXSW Interactive over the past week and get us excited and motivated about the future. One that can teach us how we can use tech for good as we navigate this always-on world. One that can help us become better versions of ourselves. And of course, leave us in a good headspace before we bid farewell to the event until next year.
This is why we’re excited Andy Puddicombe will close out SXSW Interactive on Tuesday, March 15 with his Keynote: Why Happiness is Hard and How to Make it Easier. Puddicombe will take us on an exploration of the human mind and explore exactly what it means to be happy. He’ll talk about our relationship between hope and fear, and looking through the lens of mindfulness and science, we will learn how to train our mind for a healthier and happier life. As the man leading the charge in the meditation space, we can’t think of a better person than Puddicombe to guide the SXSW community through the practice of mindfulness for a more productive and happy life. If there’s one theme emerging from our community this year, it’s pointing to products and services that simplify our lives to make us more productive and ultimately happier. Puddicombe’s message is similar. He contends that taking just 10 minutes out of our lives every day to give our minds a moment to rest and recuperate can result in more happiness. When we take a moment to gather our thoughts, we open ourselves up to being more productive. We love this sentiment he shared with Fast Company: “No matter how busy you are, just take a moment to think how important your mind is in your life. It’s responsible for everything you perceive...If your mind isn’t in good shape or health, there’s no way you can experience a full, happy, healthy life.” We couldn’t agree more. Several of us at SXSW HQ have incorporated meditation into our everyday lives and believe it makes us more productive and present.
While it’s not the first time we’ve had the founder of a popular app Keynote at SXSW Interactive, it is the first time that founder also happens to have been a Buddhist monk. This unique combination embodies a broader cultural question: technology makes so many things easier, is there also a way it can help us navigate the ancient paths to happiness?