The key to a successful life is being happy which has become a challenge amidst the current COVID 19 pandemic, but it is achievable if one is correctly guided and informed by experts and a happiness mentor, book author and speaker such as Hoda El Sobky. She was born in Cairo, Egypt and completed her education from the American University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994. She moved to the UAE, 12 years ago and recently penned her book “Dare to Happy” which is an ultimate guide to lasting happiness. As an individual she likes to define herself as an individual who contemplates her nature by questioning a lot through her curious mind. As she explains: “I always ask questions and I am always seeking answers. I like to try new things and learn from every individual and every situation which I encounter during my journey. Taking no as a final answer is something unacceptable for me and I consider everything can be figured out by striving to give ones best.” When asked about her strengths and weaknesses, she points: “It is pivotal to know one’s strength which helps one to make the most of it whereas the weakness will help one work towards improving it. I would say my strength can lie in enduring and as a persistent character. On the other hand, in terms of my weakness, I can claim I worked diligently on many things till they became my strengthening points.”
Discovering her secret to the recipe of happiness took El Sobky her entire life to search the right metric and pattern. She emphasizes on the role of opportunities: “I utilize every opportunity by trying all pathways, learn all lessons and simply focus on doing the work. As for the how of happiness, this was certainly a long road of trial and errors, observing, researching, questioning, seeking answers and again doing the work.” She explains her life has been full of vigour and action, enabling her to set clear objectives and execute them accordingly. It was the realization aspect which provided her with the “greatest pride, pleasure and joy”.
When asked about her interest in the fields of positive psychology and philosophy by focusing on wellness and self-help, El Sobky says the story goes back to her university days when she graded +A academically, she was passionate about being a highflyer at the university. “I used to be elated towards studying, completely focused, and unaware of how much time had passed. For me, positive psychology was the correct way to examine happiness; so instead of treating depression, anxiety or loss of interest, I questioned myself, why not divert those thoughts towards focusing on the attributes of positive thinking and joy.” As for philosophy, it was her way of thinking, she believes there is a type of logic and philosophy behind every action one executes.
From an inspirational perspective, El Sobky is an admirer of simple things in life: “I am truly inspired by the rawness and purity of things; not to forget the role of authenticity. I aim to be authentic and true which I constantly seek in my writings through people, events, and things.” Interestingly, when you ask about her mentors, she states: “My mentor is a simple life. I believe life teaches everyone what exactly they need to be taught. Since everyone has their own path in life, their experiences and their ups and downs which groom them for what they become today.”
When asked about her book “Dare to be Happy”, El Sobky describes the emotions and excitement towards it: “I invested all my expertise, research, search, observations, time and efforts to produce a timeless and precious source which can consistently offer endless types of happiness to the readers; provided they abide by the rules, the rules of life which are clearly mentioned in the book.” She believes the unique selling point of her book is the fact it “speaks directly to the emotions and that it comes from the heart which is potent enough to touch hearts.” Talking about the correlation between how being a good person can be simple by being happy and content with oneself. Initially, when she started working on the book, her intended target audiences were men and women in their middle age, however, once the book was published, she realized she could target a new market segment, i.e. 18-25+.
One of the fundamental reasons which motivated her to choose happiness as the topic for her book is her realization of how happiness and contentment were paramount in one’s life. “People search for happiness in the wrong places, at the wrong time and through the wrong notion. In my case, I wanted to help people not to fall in the vicious circle of unhappiness.” Amongst the challenges faced when working on the book, El Sobky reminisces the long list: “I was going through a lot, whether it was changing my career and status from the corporate world to becoming a completely independent entity all by myself. In a way, it was a reinventing phase and enhancing the quality of life. Also, focusing on the passion for the small details of life.” Her overall experiences, learning, and observation, can be summarized as “Be kind, kind to yourself, kind to others and kind to life and do not worry then life will treat you well.”
Being a woman has been challenging for El Sobky who explains: “I felt the challenges in the corporate world in various areas such as: promotion, compensation, and appreciation of my work. However, in my new profession and in the entrepreneurial world, I can see this is as an added advantage which has enabled me to express myself better and remaining sincere to myself and being unafraid to express my sentiments and identity.”
When questioned about the elements of happiness and stress for an executive leader and how they can accomplish happiness and handle stress, she eagerly responds: “ I am preparing to launch my method of happiness for success in life and at the workplace, which is known as the “Happiness Matrix”. This matrix is my extracted method of becoming who one wants and in order to reach a state of completion and consistency in happiness which one does not rebound or revert to unhappiness again. The act of being happy is a sequence of simple measures which result in great achievement if thoroughly followed.”
Writing this book holds great aspiration for El Sobky, as she explains: “I wanted to share the fascination which happiness can bring to people’s lives and its impact on all aspects of one’s life.” Finally, when asked about her advice for those who are struggling to be happy, she says: “Never give up on yourself, never give up on your dreams. Everything is possible and everything is figure out able. You just need to arm yourself with the right tools and have the correct mindset shift.”