Increase the difficulty of a task that you perform regularly. So if you run 3 miles a day then run 3.1 miles and increase by 0.1 miles a day and see how many days you can keep that up for. Then repeat by starting over.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anil Gupta.
As Founder of the Happiness Formula, Anil Gupta has helped countless people overcome adversities leading them to richer, fuller, and happier lives.
Anil is a best-selling author and TEDx Speaker, positively impacting large audiences in over 18 countries.
He has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets including Fox News, Sky TV, Harvard and much more. Anil has coached celebrities including Mike Tyson, was a guest speaker with Richard Branson on Necker Island and has met with head officials and the Dalai Lama.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I was educated in England. I loved playing sports (cricket, squash, badminton, tennis, field hockey, soccer, golf) and was lucky to have great facilities near me. I started coaching clients in the late 90’s and have been able to make a big impact all over the world. My family and I migrated to warmer shores in Orlando, Florida.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
When I was suicidal I realized that I was focusing on what I had lost, so I instantly shifted my focus on the positive of what I had. I looked at my hands and then looked at my eyes in the mirror and realized how priceless and precious they are. They had never given up on me so why would I give up on them? I became so grateful for so many things I had left in my life and I started to give. In that moment of authentically giving without wanting anything in return, the pain and suffering disappeared. It felt great and now I incorporate it into my daily practice.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The one thing that makes my company stand out is my story of turning around suicide. So many people today are struggling and I teach them through simple practices how inside they are so amazing that they cannot be ignored. My company goes the extra mile to look after the client’s anticipated needs before they are even needed.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Richard Branson has been a great inspiration in my life. He has shown me how to show up in life in a far more amazing and loving way.
I had the pleasure of playing tennis with him and he would always beat me. I asked him, “How can I beat you Richard? He said, “You need to build up your stamina.” So, the next time I played tennis with Richard, I beat him. Richard is humble, playful, a great listener and has amazing relationships.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flush out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is about not letting anything take control over you or your life. It is about staying tall and winning. It is about stamina, grit, determination, power and focus. It is about emotional and physical strength; staying the course when the chips may look stacked against you.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is about doing something that you are fearful of. Resilience is about overcoming adversity. Resilience requires courage some of the time but not all of the time. It takes courage to stay on the resilience journey. Courage is an integral part of getting the job done.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Rocky Balboa immediately comes to mind. He was a bit of a street fighter and had the opportunity to become a world titleholder if he were to beat Apollo Creed. Rocky had to be resilient before the fight and of course to fight 15 full rounds despite being pummeled by Apollo. Rocky was the underdog and he did what it took to get the job done.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
I remember joining a tennis club that was near my new home. The club captain said that I would never be a tennis player as I was used to playing badminton and it was a totally different game. It was the way he said it that made me want to prove him wrong. I practiced a lot, and many of the players would not play with me, as they were much better. Guess what? I won the club tournament and the club captain was my opponent. It felt great!!
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I was suicidal in 2008. It was the darkest days of my life. I just did not see any other alternative than to end it all. I had lost it all, the cars, houses, and savings. I had to tell my wife! She informed me that she loved me deeply and that the kids loved me and they would sleep in the streets if they could just be with me. That moment was like rocket fuel for me. I started to speak on stages, eventually speaking to over 10,000 people in Medellin Colombia. Wrote a best selling book, Immediate Happiness, met with royalty, prime ministers, presidents, billionaires, spiritual leaders and many more important influencers. I spoke at Harvard, Fox News, and Sky TV and I gave a Ted talk.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I have cultivated resilience through experiencing adversity at an early age. I was born in Kenya, Africa, then moved to India, then the United Kingdom, and ended up in Florida. I had to overcome racial prejudice at a very young age, attend new schools without knowing any English, learn a new language, and new strange customs. I had to make new friends on so many occasions. I had lived in 4 countries, in 4 continents, and had to adapt quickly.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Do something you do not want to do. For example, learn a foreign language.
- Create a brand new habit every month, like get up 30 minutes earlier every day.
- Increase the difficulty of a task that you perform regularly. So if you run 3 miles a day then run 3.1 miles and increase by 0.1 miles a day and see how many days you can keep that up for. Then repeat by starting over.
- Perform 10 random acts of kindness every day for a month, and then increase it to 15 acts of kindness per day. It is a muscle that will adapt and grow.
- Perform mental exercises that will keep the mind alert and alive. My father has completed over 10,000 Sudoku puzzles.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be the movement of giving. I would ask everyone to perform acts of kindness on a daily basis. I would rent a 100,000-seat stadium and ask influencers to donate their time to speak to the crowd. Tickets would be free for anyone who performs 10 acts of kindness and has written in detail those acts. VIP tickets would go to people who have sent in acts of kindness videos. We then collate all the written acts of kindness into many books and we create a Giving news channel for all the videos sent in. We get sponsorships to cover the costs.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Yes, that would be Elon Musk. He is an incredible person who could help people become even better versions of themselves.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website is wwww.Meetanil.com
My Happiness test is www.mindsetisall.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!