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The School of Life

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  • Bloomsbury
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  1. The School of Life Shop
  2. The School of Life Shop
  3. The School of Life Shop
    Photographer:Tom Hartford

Time Out says

Head down to The School of Life where you'll be instructed in the art of changing yourself for the better. Sign up for classes, workshops and one-off events

Time Out tries: The School of Life’s 'How to be Confident' workshop:

Putting thirty introverted strangers in a room to discuss their insecurities sounds like a dreadful idea. Add audience participation and group discussion and just the thought would have the shyest of us in a cold sweat. It’s the stuff of nightmares, but it’s also the premise of The School of Life’s How to be Confident workshop and, fighting the innate urge to run screaming in the other direction, I’m giving it a go.

I arrive at their shop on Marchmont Street and shuffle in reluctantly. We head down to workshop space in the basement, fiddling with our phones to avoid eye contact. There’s audible relief when our course leader, life coach Fiona Buckland, tells us we can help ourselves to the bottles of wine in the corner. Courage, in the form of supermarket branded Merlot, is exactly what I need. 

We’re here to discuss our issues with confidence. We start by asking and attempting to answer the big questions: What is confidence? Who is confident? Why are we here? Our first task is to turn to the stranger next to us and explain how talking to them is making us feel. We’re ‘awkward’, ‘stressed’ and ‘inadequate’. But then we’re smiling and laughing about it. It can often feel like life is all about those who shout the loudest and there is something lovely about being surrounded by so many thoughtful souls.

As the evening progresses Fiona adeptly leads us through more topics. We talk as a room and then in smaller groups before feeding ideas and realisations back. It’s a bit like mass counselling - getting the most out of the session requires the bravery to instantly open up, tell stories about moments that haunt you and admit the things that make you feel the most afraid - but the room is all understanding, openness and empathy.

Whether socially shy or lacking confidence in the office, life-long introverts or humans having a wobble, we are all here for different reasons. There are twentysomethings struggling with breakups, mums suffering crises of confidence and people embarking on new careers. Naturally, what each person gets out of the workshop will vary. But I leave feeling positive and invigorated, taking away practical exercises, new ways of framing my thoughts and an awareness of strengths which I too often underappreciate.

How to be Confident Classes are run monthly and cost £55.

Find more weird and wonderful things to try in London

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Written by
Ellie Walker-Arnott


70 Marchmont St
Tube: Russell Sq
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