Mo Gawdat: How To Engineer Your Path To Joy
Discovering Our Inner Joy
Regardless of where we are in life, happiness can be possible.
Whether we're struggling with negative thoughts, an unsatisfying job, or believing we're not enough, this episode is a powerful reminder that we're all worthy of self-love, joy, and an amazing life.
Today is all about fighting our inner demons and discovering our purpose in the world. Together, we'll be doing some real soul searching to find out what's holding us back from the happiness we deserve.
By the end of this podcast, we'll better understand how our brain, thoughts, and emotions all play a part in our wellness.
A Mission for Happiness
Chief Business Officer for Google [X], serial entrepreneur and author of, Solve for Happy, Mo Gawdat had an amazing career during his late twenties. He was working as a Director for a major consumer goods company which gave him a terrific salary, amazing perks, and a career ladder to climb. However, despite how wonderful his life appeared on the outside, he wasn't truly happy on the inside.
When his son, Ali, unexpectedly passed away, Mo began to see life in a different light. Keeping Ali's tattoo in mind, The Gravity of Battle Means Nothing to Those at Peace, he set out to discover the perfect equation for happiness. After 12 years of research, he is sharing his Happiness Model with the rest of the world. His personal moonshot mission is to honor his son's memory and continue his legacy by making 10 million more people happy.
In this powerful episode, we will discover how to end self-sabotage by comparison, what pain and suffering can teach us, why our brain never tells us the truth and why death can be our best life coach.
The Happiness Model
Despite the global narrative, ‘I'll be happy when I have _____,' money, relationships, and possessions cannot bring us true joy. So, Mo created his own narrative, ‘I feel happy when I ____.' When he changed is focus from receiving possessions to valuing what he already had, he realized that people only seem to be happy when life is going their way.
When there's so much outside narrative coming our way, it's hard to listen to the voice inside of us.
The harder we work to achieve happiness, the deeper the hole it creates in our soul. Happiness cannot come from outside of ourselves. It truly only comes from within.
With Ali as his inspiration, Mo crafted The Happiness Model to help us uncover any assumptions and doubts we have about life so that we may discover our inner joy.
The Happiness Model:
The 6 Grand Illusions
The 7 Blind Spots
The 5 Ultimate Truths
Ending Self-Sabotage by Comparison
We're all born happy and free to become whomever we want to be.
We start out strong like machines, but then we begin to break down when we engage more with life. Life's expectations lead us to believe that no matter how hard we try, we're never enough. We can end up subjecting ourselves to an inner, false dialogue that we'll only be happy if we have that job, relationship, or gadget.
Happiness > to your perceptions of the events in your life (-) your expectations of how life should be.
With phones at our fingertips, it's easy to get lost in all of the latest images, videos, and news about other people's lives. When we compare ourselves to other people, our brain interrupts those thoughts as threats to our ego. Eventually, we're not satisfied with our lives. Rather than being happy with what we have, we end up creating new expectations for the life we think we should be living.
If we don't perceive ourselves as successful, then we only see our failures. Therefore, we're only happy when life is going our way.
Listen To Episode 116 As Mo Uncovers:
- His life in Egypt and how going to a book fair in Cairo helped nourish his hunger for learning.
- Why he was so interested in quantum physics and relativity as a teenager.
- What sparked his interest to research happiness.
- The reason behind why neither a career nor material possessions can make us happy.
- How material possessions only created a gap in his soul and what he did to fix it.
- Why we're all born happy, but then expectations from other people cause us to be unhappy.
- His equation for happiness.
- Why we're like machines and we begin to breakdown when we engage more with life.
- How Mo realized that we're only really happy when life is going our way.
- Why the brain is wired to use unhappiness as a survival mechanism.
- Events vs. Expectations – How the brain is wired to remember negative experiences for much longer than positive experiences.
- Why pain can sometimes be good for us.
- How we can train the mind to stop comparing ourselves to other people.
- The healing decisions he made after the death of his son, Ali.
- Why our brain is not the enemy because it can't see the truth when there are threats.
- The Happiness Model with the 6 Grand Illusions, 7 Blind Spots, and 5 Ultimate Truths.
- What mistake to avoid when you're following The Happiness Model.
- Why death is the best life coach we can have.
- The first step you can take in your life as soon as this episode ends.
- What wellness means to Mo.
The Happiness Formula – Mo Gawdat
Top 3 Takeaways From The Show
- When we compare ourselves to other people, we end up self-sabotaging ourselves. As we scroll through our social media newsfeed, it's easy to get trapped by feelings of sadness, jealousy, and unfulfillment. When someone doesn't click “like,” our brain is wired to see that as a threat to our ego. The truth is, there's no sense in comparing ourselves to others because someone will always be ahead of us.
- The mind has this incredible ability to make us suffer on demand with negative thinking. However, we have the power to stop it. As our brain presents us with negative thoughts, we can say ‘No, brain. I'm not going to listen to your lies.' We may see the brain as the enemy because it doesn't tell us the truth, but that's because the brain hasn't been trained. That's where we can step in to train it. Rather than allowing our brain to view everything as a threat, we can teach it to focus on the blessings. When in self doubt, ask your brain if it's telling you the truth. This will help you train the brain to differentiate between fact and fiction.
- Death can be our best life coach because it's the biggest reminder that we're only here for a limited amount of time. By using life as a way to learn, achieve and develop, we can discover our purpose and ultimately our happiness.
Power Quotes From Mo Gawdat
- “You never get happy from outside sources. We all believe that happiness is something that we have to strive for or earn, but we really don't have to do that. Happiness comes from within ourselves.” – Mo Gawdat on how happiness comes from within.
- “One singular material possession will never make you happy, but two can bring you constant disappointment. We tell ourselves, ‘Okay, I know I'm not happy with this little gadget, but I'll be happy with the other gadget.' In the end, you rush and strive to get the other gadget, but you're still not happy. It's just a vicious cycle and you'll never find happiness in materials, wealth, or the world outside of you.” – Mo Gawdat on why we'll never be satisfied from possessions.
- “The more disappointed you are with your ability to achieve happiness, the more you feel that there's this gap that needs to be filled.” – Mo Gawdat on why we're sometimes never fully satisfied with what we have or what we've done.
- “Truly, happiness is inside us. When we connect with the real us, we find happiness. When we engage with the real world, we get further away from engaging with us and finding the real person that you and I are.” – Mo Gawdat on why true happiness comes from within ourselves.
- “Life is bound to bring us some pain because it's like a video game. Video games are designed to be difficult sometimes, but that's the only way that we can become a better gamers, right? If the game was easy, it would be boring as hell and we wouldn't learn how to be better gamers. Life is truly meant to give us pain and as much as we hate it, pain can be good. Pain is good because it alerts us as to what we should do in order to survive and progress in life.” – Mo Gawdat on how life is like a video game and why pain can be good.
- “Constant comparison will always end in vain because there will always be someone who is ahead of you. If you set out to compare yourself to the rest of the world, you will always break the happiness equation and events will never meet your expectations.” – Mo Gawdat on why it's not worth the effort to always be comparing ourselves to other people.
- “If you find what it is that you're passionate about and you're good at it, eventually when you're ready, your purpose will find you. It's not the other way around. If you set out to search for a purpose without knowing what you're capable of, you're never going to get there.” – Mo Gawdat on how we discover our purpose.
- “We get so engaged in life that we forget to live.” – Mo Gawdat
- “Every emotion we've ever felt is triggered by a thought, not an event.” – Mo Gawdat
About Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat
Mo Gawdat is a remarkable thinker and the Chief Business Officer at Google’s [X], an elite team of engineers that comprise Google’s futuristic “dream factory.” Applying his superior skills of logic and problem solving to the issue of happiness, he proposes an algorithm based on an understanding of how the brain takes in and processes joy and sadness. Then he solves for happy.
In 2001 Mo Gawdat realized that despite his incredible success, he was desperately unhappy. A lifelong learner, he attacked the problem as an engineer would: examining all the provable facts and scrupulously applying logic. Eventually, his countless hours of research and science proved successful, and he discovered the equation for permanent happiness.
Thirteen years later, Mo’s algorithm would be put to the ultimate test. After the sudden death of his son, Ali, Mo and his family turned to his equation—and it saved them from despair. In dealing with the horrible loss, Mo found his mission: he would pull off the type of “moonshot” goal that he and his colleagues were always aiming for—he would share his equation with the world and help as many people as possible become happier.
In Solve for Happy Mo questions some of the most fundamental aspects of our existence, shares the underlying reasons for suffering, and plots out a step-by-step process for achieving lifelong happiness and enduring contentment. He shows us how to view life through a clear lens, teaching us how to dispel the illusions that cloud our thinking; overcome the brain’s blind spots; and embrace five ultimate truths.
No matter what obstacles we face, what burdens we bear, what trials we’ve experienced, we can all be content with our present situation and optimistic about the future.
About Mo Gawdat
Mo Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer for Google [X], a serial entrepreneur and author of “Solve for Happy.”
Mo has an impressive combined career of 27 years, starting at IBM Egypt as a Systems Engineer before moving to a sales role in the government sector. Venturing in to the UAE, Mo joined NCR Abu Dhabi to cover the non-finance sector. He then became acquainted with the consumer goods industry as Regional Manager of BAT. At Microsoft he assumed various roles over a span of seven and a half years, in his last role at Microsoft he headed the Communications Sector across Emerging Markets worldwide.
Alongside his career, Mo remained a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded more than 20 businesses in fields such as health and fitness, food and beverage and real estate. He served as a board member in several technology, health and fitness and consumer goods companies as well as several government technology and innovation boards in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He mentors tens of start-ups at any point in time.
Mo Gawdat is the author of “Solve for Happy: Engineering Your Path to Joy” (2017). Through his 12 year research on the topic of happiness, he created an algorithm and a repeatable well engineered model to reach a state of uninterrupted happiness regardless of the circumstances of life. Mo’s happiness model proved highly effective. And, in 2014, was put to the ultimate test when Mo lost his son Ali to preventable medical error during a simple surgical procedure. Solve For Happy is the pillar for a mission Mo has committed to as his personal moonshot, a mission to deliver his happiness message to 10 million people around the world.
Resources Mentioned by Mo & Josh
- Visit the official Solve for Happy website
- Read Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat
- Learn more about the 10 Million Happy Mission
- Connect with Mo Gawdat and Solve for Happy via:
- Read the article, A Google Engineer Believes He's Found the Equation for Guaranteed Happiness
- Learn more about The Work of Byron Katie
- Take Mark Divine's SEALFIT 20X Challenge
- Check out WFR episode 086 with Mark Divine: Creating the Unbeatable Mind
- Learn about Josh's Vipassana Meditiation – A Spartan Race for the Mind
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About The Author, Lauren Bryant, Podcast Production
is the Podcasting Assistant and Show Notes Writer for Wellness Force Radio. She has a BBA in both Marketing and Spanish for Business as well as certificates in Advanced Business Communications and International Business from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Lauren’s wellness journey began at a young age when she joined her local YMCA swim team, The Wave, of La Crosse, WI. One of the most profound views on wellness that anyone has said to her was when she was an assistant swim coach for that same YMCA swim team.
One day during a practice, former head swim coach, Jon Brenner, shared with her that the most important thing about coaching the swimmers was that “It doesn’t matter if they become the best athletes in the world. What’s important is that we give them the tools and guidance they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”
Since hearing those words, she has taken it to heart to not only focus on continuously living her own healthy lifestyle, but to help others pursue their wellness goals as well.
Lauren’s not only an avid swimmer, but a fan of running, yoga, cooking, and doing any activity outside that involves being surrounded by nature. In the Fall of 2014, she completed a long-awaited goal of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.