Rituals is on a mutual mission with our new happiness ambassador, Mo Gawdat, former chief business officer at Google [X] and author of Solve for Happy. Rituals and Mo seek the same impact on society: Rituals wants to enrich lives, offer pause in the frenzy of busy days, improve well-being and help people discover happiness in the smallest of things. Mo seeks to bring happiness to one billion people. Our mutual mission is to spread and multiply happiness, which is why we decided to team up to strengthen our efforts with a masterclass on happiness. This month, we aim to reach 1million people and impact their lives with happiness. The 14-day Happiness Challenge is a journey full of accessible tools, simple routines and how to make long-lasting changes.
Mo’s model is very straightforward: Be, Learn, Do. Be is an awareness of something that you need to do; Learn is the conversation we are going to have around what it is that you need to know; Do is that repeated practice so that it sticks and becomes part of your lifestyle.
So, who is Mo Gawdat? In the video and interview below, Rituals creative director Dagmar Brusse interviews Mo to find out why he gave up his career in the pursuit of happiness and what happiness means to him.
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“I never chose the mission, the mission chose me,” Mo tells Dagmar. Sadly, Mo lost his 21-year-old son in 2014, “Ali was more than a son to me, he was my friend, he was my coach, he was very, very wise and he taught me almost everything I know about happiness.” Within 17 days of Ali’s passing, Mo found himself putting pen to paper, almost frantically, to document everything Ali had taught him about happiness.
“Two weeks before he died, he had a dream and he told his sister he was everywhere and part of everyone…I took that as a target… At Google, everything is in the billions, and I said ‘Okay my son, I will make that happen, I will make you everywhere and part of everyone just by spreading your message of happiness and how you lived’.”
Mo turned his grief into energy and into happiness for others. “I don’t think I’m important…but the mission is. And I think the mission to make a billion happy in this world that we live in is something that’s worth the pain of missing my wonderful son.”
Happiness is one of the 13 pillars of Rituals’ philosophy The Art of Soulful Living, so teaming up with Mo to spread happiness, during a year that has been so full of challenges, made sense. For many, this year has forced us to slow down, to gain an awareness of what we want and, potentially, what needs to be addressed in our lives. The 14-day Happiness Challenge has been created to give you the tools you need to find happiness in your everyday life. Before embarking on this transformative journey, Mo shares a few of the happiness routines he holds dear, plus why being unhappy is not always a bad thing.
Dagmar: What daily routine brings you real happiness?
Mo: My morning is really my ‘meet Mo’ time.
When I wake up, my first 10-15 minutes I stretch and make sure there are no pains or aches or any discomforts. I then have a coffee… my coffee is not just a coffee, I reflect very deeply on what coffee I’m in the mood for, I make it very deliberately and I sip it slowly. All before I start my 25 minutes of silence. It is not meditation… silence to me is not attempting to silence your brain, it is actually attempting to analytically listen to your brain without the emotions that make us feel negative. So, when my brain is done with what it wants to say, it’s total silence, just goes into that bliss, heaven, really.
Dagmar: Is it okay to be unhappy?
Mo: Of course, unhappiness is a survival mechanism. It’s there to alert us that something needs our attention. The challenge is not with unhappiness itself the challenge is with staying in unhappiness, which is what I call suffering. Something triggers your unhappiness, this is your system giving you the signal that you need to do something, if you do it then that’s great, unhappiness was amazing for you. But if you stick there and start to play it in your mind over and over you get unwarranted suffering that doesn’t solve the problem, it makes it worse… When you acknowledge [negative emotions] the trick is, how do you quickly have that conversation with yourself so that the signal sent to you by your brain doesn’t turn into months or years of suffering but it turns into a plan of action and a way for you to do something about it so the unhappiness goes away and your life becomes better at the same time.
Dagmar: Do you have any happiness tips?
Mo: Covid-19 was an opportunity to really reflect, I removed so much clutter in my life. People I have been investing too much time in, too much travel, too little time for my daughter to connect, too little time for myself to reflect on things. It’s incredible how light you feel when you remove so much clutter.
Join the Rituals Happiness Challenge! Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at Google [X] and author of Solve for Happy, and Rituals are on a mutual mission to make #1MillionHappy. Join us on a 14-day interactive journey that will transform your life and help you find true, long-lasting happiness. Sign up for the Happiness Challenge here.