“Have faith in the fridge”, Tony Hawks | Action for Happiness evening 30 April 2012

Action for Happiness

For some time I’ve been following Action For Happiness. A great movement focused on making society happier and more meaningful. All good stuff 🙂

Last night I attended one of their monthly talks at the Ethical Society in London (and, yes, like you, I didn’t know there was such a society either!). I’m learning before I even enter the event!

The evening’s talk was given by comedian Tony Hawks; the main focus of it being to recount his experiences of his recent book & BBC film ‘Round Ireland With A Fridge’.

I’ve not seen Tony Hawks perform before and his years of stand-up comedy stood him in fantastic stead for some rubbish technical issues. A real pro.

Round Ireland With A Fridge

So what do we learn from a man who bets that he can hitchhike around Ireland for a month with a fridge.

What was the reasoning?

  • Because some years before he’d seen an ‘ole fella’ in that very situation standing by the side of the road waiting for a lift (as you do!)
  • It was a bet
  • It was random
  • It had become an obsession

What Did He Learn?

  • In a world where we are always trying to control events around us, he discovered that hiking with a fridge controls you. You have to learn to let go – and yet it all works out in the end! Hence, the mantra that evolved during the month long quest – ‘have faith in the fridge’.
  • That the quickest journey isn’t the straightest. It’s the one that’s the most beautiful and the most interesting. You lose yourself in the flow.
  • Random acts of generosity are an instrinsic part of being human. He was never short of someone wanting to help him get to his next destination.
  • We’re surrounded by consumerism and when he wanted to buy something he thought he wanted he wasn’t allowed it  (referenced by trying to buy a duck egg in the back end of Donegal and the shopkeeper wouldn’t sell it to him because he saw no need for him to have it!)
  • That you don’t need much in life and there’s a point where earning more and more money ceases to make you happier & happier. As a result it catapulted his own desire to give back, so he has now set up two charities:
  • Tennis4Free – to provide tennis for free in local areas
  • The Moldovan Child Care Centre – set up following a tennis match with the local football team and seeing the poverty around him

What Did I Learn From the Evening?

  • People are always more than they appear to be
  • Here’s a comic with a deeprooted desire to give back; both in terms of his time & his earnings
  • What may have been perceived as an encumberance (the fridge) was actually a catalyst to fundamental changes in his own circumstances and values
  • People will help you regardless of how utterly pointless your external need for help may appear on the surface (man.fridge.hitchhike)

My Favourite Quote of the Evening

From an old Irish fella in a pub where the fridge had been placed on a barstool, “Sure, isn’t it great to see it out of context?!”

My Favourite Rationale of the Evening

When you are down you forget all about it when you’re helping someone else.

All in all a fine evening – and I’ll be back for more.