The Secret Formula for Happiness, Success, and Well-being, part one: Waking Up to a Deeper Truth (#927)

Over twenty four years ago, I articulated a simple three-part “mission statement” for what I wanted to do with my life:

  • To uncover the secrets of happiness, success, and well-being
  • To live the secrets in my own life
  • To share the best of what I learn with others

I’ve stayed pretty true to that mission ever since that time, but there have been a few moments along the way that have changed the course of its unfolding in dramatic fashion. The first was back in 1998, and I’ll share that story in a moment; the second was in 2007, and while I share that story in depth in The Inside-Out Revolution, I’m also hoping to share another version of it with you in a fun and different way next week. The third seems to be happening in real-time right now, and will be the focus of part three in a couple of week’s time…

In 1998, I was teaching NLP in the UK and coaching clients from all over the world. By the end of the year, I was ready for a break so I booked myself onto a five-day retreat in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. While I was there, I had an experience that changed my life. I dropped into a deeper place inside myself that I had forgotten existed – a place of unconditional happiness and well-being that was my home as a young child but had long been buried underneath a mountain of depression, or as I would have called it then, “responsible grown-up thinking”.

To my surprise, the feeling stayed with me after I flew back to the UK, and for a period of around six weeks I was a different person. I made decisions easily, without having to think about them, including the decision to move to America; I got incredibly present with my wife and two young children; I spoke my mind without fear; I created and filled a training from scratch and without effort.

I had finally achieved part one of my mission, and my articulation of the “secret formula” I had uncovered was simply this:

Be happy and follow your wanting

Because happiness was a given over that six-week period and what I wanted was obvious to me in the clarity of mind I was experiencing, I looked forward to a lifetime of ease and well-being and looked back on what my colleagues and I had been teaching and wondered what all the fuss was about.

Unfortunately, I then fell back into my old thinking so comprehensively that I didn’t even notice I’d lost touch with that deeper part of myself until I woke up to it again almost 18 months later. Once again, it became obvious to me how simple life was and how straightforward it was to live happily in the world. Until the next time I “fell asleep”, this time for a little over a year.

The next seven years or so of my life were spent between sleep and wakefulness, trying to figure out what the heck was going on in my own psyche and how to live in the deeper feeling that clearly to me underpinned everything right and good in the world. My first book, You Can Have What You Want , was an attempt to share the secret formula and in particular how to recognize and follow your wanting; Feel Happy Now! was the best of what I’d learned about how to manage the “be happy” part of the formula.

In 2007, I stumbled across the principles behind the inside-out understanding, and while my formulation of “the secret” didn’t change, my understanding of what happiness was and where it came from shifted radically. I realized that people were born happy, and that well-being and wisdom are as innately a part of my being as having a nose is a part of my face.

I continued to live between sleep and wakefulness, but I would seemingly stay awake for longer and on the whole, my dreams when I fell back to sleep were nowhere near as scary. I’ve written about the inside-out understanding extensively since that time, and next week I’m hoping to share with you a fun new articulation of what I’ve seen that’s proven so incredibly helpful not only to me but to the tens of thousands of people who’ve bought the book and listen to the radio show each week.

In the meantime, here’s a little tease for what I’ve been seeing over the past few weeks that I think will radically change my own journey and hopefully make it even easier for others to experience that deeper part of themselves on an ongoing basis:

If our feelings are the barometer of our thoughts, what are the deeper feelings of happiness, peace, and well-being indicators of in our thinking?

Have fun, learn heaps, and to be continued…

With all my love,


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