“If people worked as hard
to achieve happiness
as they do trying to lose a few pounds,
they would change overnight.”
Steve, fitness trainer
Bob, your happiness coach. I’m a shade over sixty, have white curly
hair, stand quite tall, and have a bit of width and wildness. A few
years after graduating from college, I became a stand-up comedian. I
was pretty good, so I traveled around the country doing small nightclubs.
I loved humor, so it was fun in the beginning. Then the cigarette smoke
in the clubs got to me. I never took up smoking because I thought it
was stupid. When I read about the health effects of breathing the exhaust
of other people’s smoking addiction, it woke me up. I quit the club
scene in a hurry.
giving up my comedy career, I drifted from job to job, not knowing what
I wanted to do. Being at loose ends, I started to feel like my life
didn’t have any meaning. For about a year, I dug myself into a hole
of self-doubt and indecision. Feeling lost, I decided to see Sophie,
a down-to-earth counselor who combined different trends in psychology
and religion. She was in her forties with beautiful black hair and a
mysterious, healing spirit. She knew her stuff and set me straight in
As I became
happier, I realized how resigned I had become to my unhappy life, as
if it were normal. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t completely miserable.
I’d say I was like most of my friends—happy some of the time, but unhappy
too much of the time. A lot of people live that way, thinking they have
about as much happiness as they can get or deserve. Sophie didn’t let
me settle for that, like the day she put her hands alongside my head,
looked me in the eye, and said, “Bob, what you don’t reach for, you’ll
never get, so always be reaching for happiness.” I’ve never forgotten
that sweet moment of encouragement, and I’ve never quit reaching for
I was working with Sophie, I went back to college to get a Ph.D. in
psychological counseling. I was a counselor for a long time, until I
came up with the idea of being a happiness coach. As a happiness coach,
I felt freer to confront people about the various ways they made themselves
miserable. If people took responsibility for their unhappiness rather
than blaming other people or their circumstances, they would become
like columns of white light. Well, maybe more like a 100-watt light
bulb is closer to the truth, but that’s better than living in the dark.
you will achieve more happiness in a week. I know you’re skeptical.
I would be, too. Notice I’m hedging my bet by saying “more” because
there has to be a bit of misery left over so your mind has something
to do. This makes my guarantee almost ironclad, which isn’t too bad.
to make this book small enough so you’ll be able to read the whole thing
while visiting the john. It may take several trips. However, the book
will be so interesting and life-changing that you’ll want to spend more
time in the john. Can you imagine the conversation you’ll have with
would you please quit hanging out in there? I have to brush my teeth.”
help it. I’m working on my happiness.”
achieving happiness takes a long time, but this is ridiculous.”
minutes and I think I’ll have it.”
take the task of achieving happiness seriously, but sometimes we get
too mentally tight while trying to create it. So, as you prepare to
achieve more happiness in a week, be serious about it, but also loosen
a few screws in your mind. When your mind is open and flexible, change
will come more easily.
in a house with playful spirits running around, and sometimes they show
up during a session. Apparently, they can’t resist wanting to help.
This gives my happiness coaching an element of surprise even for me,
because sometimes I’m caught off guard by the people who visit—like
the time Groucho Marx showed up to help a guy whose life was so messed
up that he was thinking about getting a job. I still remember what Groucho
said to him. “There’s only one thing worse than looking for a job, and
that’s finding it.” Anyway, be prepared for a few surprise visitors.
mainly for one thing—to help people become happier. I hope you will
become one of those people.
To learn more, read the
Chapter titles and check out the Reviews.
Buy the Book
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