As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Anil Gupta. Anil Gupta is a world expert on relationships and happiness. He has coached some of the most famous celebrities and icons on the planet like Mike Tyson as well being a guest speaker with Richard Branson on Necker Island. He enjoys helping people overcome obstacles that prevent them living a fulfilled life and has appeared on stages all over the world and recently was keynote speaker in Medellin in front of 10,000+ raving fans. He has appeared at Harvard on a number of occasions and is a guest speaker on Fox news as well as best selling international author of Immediate Happiness. He has written a number of published articles with the most recent one for the Virgin group. He has just returned from receiving an Icon award in LA and is committing his life to help others. Anil can have a dramatic impact on your life in just a few hours.
Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
I was suicidal in 2008 after losing everything on the stock market and real estate crash. I felt I was a failure and deserved to give up my life so every body else would be able to live a happier life without me, but I knew deep down it was the wrong decision. I decided to ensure that I did not put myself in a situation whereby in a few seconds of madness I could do something stupid with a devastating outcome. I would not eat with a knife, walk up long flights of stairs, walk near speeding cars or look over high buildings as it would be too easy to be overcome with a sense of futility and weakness in just a few moments which would have caused tremendous pain to my friends and family. At around the same time, I was invited, through serendipity, to attend a private mastermind session with Tony Robbins in Miami, whom I had known for 8 years. I agreed to accept the invitation as I knew he would be able to help me.
At the event I felt embarrassed and stupid to have put myself in this position and approached his wife, Sage for advice. Sage advised me to put my hand up, and ask for help in the group sessions. I finally had the courage to half put my hand up and was called upon to share my story. I had an intervention from Tony where he identified that I was attaching my identity to money and that was not who I was. This was further reinforced by Sage and her brother Scott. I must admit I was a very stubborn man and it took a final intervention from my wife, who declared that she knew something was wrong and that her only concern was that I may have had cancer or some terminal illness to explain my past stressful behavior. The fact that I had lost all our money was not a concern to her, as she informed me that all that she wanted was to be with me and our two children. Nothing else mattered to her. My wife informed me that all that she wanted was to stay with me and the kids and that was our wealth and that they would sleep in the streets if needed as long as we were all together. This was a huge boost for me. I then started helping others and things started to change from then. I started helping people by one to one coaching which made me feel better. I also volunteered my time to serve others. I realized that the pain and suffering disappeared when I was in a giving mode and it made me feel so much , which in turn made me give more! I started to perform some of my own events, the first one was for 6 people and recently I spoke in front of over 10,000 people in Medellin, Colombia.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
I am working with universities, corporations and Richard Branson to develop mental wellness programs using my Happiness Formula H = G.G.G ( Happiness = Give x Grow x Gratitude ). I have three programs. The first two are all about learning how humans behave and overcoming the daily struggles that we all have which have never been taught to us on how to handle them. Using my formula and life tools they can quickly overcome things that previously could have escalated into stressful and difficult situations, through hands on workshops and on an online platform. They will see live teachings by Anil whereby they can immediately apply them in their personal and business lives. For example — one video talks about the number 1 mistake that parents make, another video is about the dating façade, another video is about why relationships fail. Once the viewer gains awareness it allows them to get clarity and take action to immediately increase their wellbeing.
The third program is a daily inspiration quote and videos to continually inspire the individual, via daily e mail. Just one inspirational message or video could make the difference between happiness and sadness.
Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?
I was suicidal in 2008 after losing everything on the stock market and real estate crash. I felt I was a failure and deserved to give up my life so every body else would be able to live a happier life without me but I knew deep down it was the wrong decision. I decided to make sure that I did not put myself in a situation whereby in a few seconds of going down the wrong rabbit hole would would lead to a devastating outcome. I would not eat with a knife, walk up long flights of stairs, walk near speeding cars or look over high buildings as it would be too easy to be overcome in just a few moments with the wrong decision. I was invited, through serendipity, to attend a private mastermind session with Tony Robbins in Miami, whom I had known for 8 years. I agreed to accept the invitation as I knew he would be able to help me.
At the event I felt embarrassed and stupid to have put myself in this position and approached his wife, Sage for advice. Sage advised me to put my hand up, and ask for help in the group sessions. I finally had the courage to half put my hand up and was called upon to share my story. I had an intervention from Tony where he identified that I was attaching my identity to money and that was not who I was. This was further reinforced by Sage and her brother Scott. I must admit I was a very stubborn man and it took a final intervention from my wife who declared that she knew something was wrong and that her only concern was that I may have had cancer or some terminal illness to explain my past stressful behavior. The fact that I had lost all our money was not a concern, as she informed me that all that she wanted was to be with me and our two children. Nothing else mattered to her. My wife informed me that all that she wanted was to stay with me and the kids and that was our wealth and that they would sleep in the streets if needed as long as we were all together. This was a huge boost for me. I then started helping others and things started to change from then. My first event was for 6 people and recently I spoke in front of over 10,000 people in Medellin, Colombia.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
When we were born our appearances, were totally accepted and we were totally loved and adored by everyone. As time went on this acceptance was diminished due to tangible and intangible rules rules being placed into our lives e.g. we have to have matching clothes, our hair has to be perfect, we have to wear fashionable clothes, our make up has to be perfect, our accessories have to be trendy, our phones need to be the latest models, people will laugh at me, why did that boy/girl laugh at me, something must be wrong with me, people do not like me because of my appearance/choices/color schemes chosen etc. Going to school has the most powerful and traumatic affect on us as we are so open to be taunted on our appearance, speech, name, what we say, intelligence, looks, friends, where we live, what car our parents drive, what our parents look like, what our parents work positions are, where we take our holidays, what gadgets we own, what designer items we have, who we hang out with etc.
There are so many opportunities at school that impact us at any time and this fear stays with us into our dying breaths. So many insecurities are established during our school years.
It makes is very conscious of how we show up in life, we often react based on a past situation, we have triggers and flashbacks which have powerful impacts on our lives. Let me give you an example of what one trigger is for me. I would be so scared to be the the first one to choose a dining table to sit on at school as one time my friends sat at another table and I felt lonely and left out.
I am still wary of that incident from 45 years ago!
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
One needs to love yourself as a foundation to be allow others to love you. If you do not love yourself there is a constant doubt and frustration around whether any one else could love you, as you do not love yourself. This feeling reduces the capacity to love and be loved and hence the quality of their lives can never reach their full potential. They are always looking for reasons why others would not love them to validate their own position that they themselves do not love themselves.
Human being love to be righteous and we will go to extreme lengths to prove this to ourselves.
We will sabotage relationships and career opportunities just to validate our beliefs. A person’s vibrational energy is totally different when you compare individuals who love themselves to those who do not. People are attracted to this vibrational energy unknowingly at times and hence the partners and friends that people attract in their lives are deeply impactful, both to the negative and positive side. You attract what you put out. You are the sum of the five friends you can associate out with! It is vital to love yourself as this is the foundation stone for happiness and fulfillment. By not loving yourself you are placing yourself to being vulnerable to unhappiness and attracting the wrong people in your life. It affects your self expression, energy, vibrancy, joy, peace and success. It allows us to accept life and not life run us. It allows us the ability not to react to certain situations but to respond without the pain of bad and unfulfilling negative emotions which stack on themselves and can easily lead to mental disorders.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
They get comfortable. Human beings like to be comfortable about being comfortable and dislike being uncomfortable. They are also fearful that they may not find a partner or they may find a worse partner. Why take that risk? They also justify their position by thinking it is not so bad after all! They fell safe as they know what they are getting and often have horror scenarios going through their minds as to what could possible happen, almost always negative, if they did venture out of their relationship. There is a way to assess this objectively by asking some questions.
Are things getting better or worse?
Does my partner love me more or less then they did a year/month ago?
Does my partner respect me more or less than they did a year/month ago?
Is my partner taking me for granted?
Do we have more or less magical moments than we did a year/month ago?
Does my partner look after my needs and wants?
Do I feel heard?
Is this the type of relationship I thought I was expecting?
What would I feel like after 1, 5,10, 20 years?
Am I important in this relationship?
What is the right thing to do here?
If I could remove the fear of being alone, would I leave?
If I was advising my best friend, what advice would I give them?
The reader has to be courageous and dig deep and realize that this does not have to be this way and that they can live a much richer and happier life. This is not a dress rehearsal. Regrets will be so painful the longer the relationship continues. They have to believe they are strong enough to make that decision. Anyone of the above questions could help them make the right decision as it removes the emotional element from the thinking process.
It is never too late to leave a mediocre relationship.
Couples stay together, in mediocre relationships, for the benefit of the kids but you are only teaching them it is acceptable for them to have mediocre relationships when they grow up. We have to teach our children by showing a great example.
When we talk about self-love and understanding we don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?
What do other people like about me?
What do other people love about me?
What do I like about me?
What do people dislike about me?
What do people hate about me?
What is one behavior of mine that does not serve me?
What is another behavior of mine that does not serve me?
What do I need to change?
What do I need to improve?
Which friends do not serve me?
Do I need to improve my health?
What are some healthy practices that would serve me better?
Do I need to change my appearance and how?
What belief systems do I need to change?
How could I enjoy life more?
What do I need to let go of from the past?
Who do I need to forgive?
What is is my worst negative habit?
Do I spend time giving to others?
Am I able to receive?
What can I do to become more energized?
What books can I read that will inspire me?
What videos can I watch that will inspire me?
What events can I attend that will inspire me?
Who do I need to become?
How do I need to shop up differently in life?
How do I learn to relax?
How can I get healthier?
What friends are not serving my growth and happiness?
What family members are not serving my growth and happiness?
Am I healthy?
Am I making enough money?
Am I stressed more than I can handle?
Am I happy with the direction of my life?
I remember the day my son was born. Until that day everything was about me. I realized that day that life was not about me at all. I changed my focus to my son who was premature and needed 24 hour care. I felt a huge sense of fulfillment as my heart was filled with love. Tears flowed from my eyes, my heart and body were filled with a sense of service and gratitude for this bundle of joy. All my worries disappeared as we took care of this bundle of joy. Nothing else mattered. Once I changed my focus to my son and wife I was struck by the fact that I had even more love for myself and the feeling I had was intensely blissful.
So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
It is vital to know how to be alone. Not having that ability will lead you to wanting always to seeking comfort with others but fueling the fear of being alone. It will affect the decisions that you make which are fear based and will strengthen the safety muscle that we all have. Being alone does not mean being lonely. Sometimes the issue is that we do not know what to do when we are alone or we are fear we are missing out on something. If you write down 10 things you could do when you are alone then that fear would dissipate when you have the lonely thoughts as you already have a plan. Some things you could do when alone:
Watch a designated movie that you would like to watch when you get a chance.
Read a book that you wanted to read.
Journal some of your thoughts.
Clean up the home/office.
Make some phone calls.
Enjoy a past time.
Catch up on some rest.
Go to a spa or get a massage.
Make a to do a list.
Make out a do not do list.
Write out a bucket list.
Create a vision board.
Book a retreat or vacation.
Write down things you are grateful for.
How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?
Having self-understanding and self-love affects your vibrational energy which in turn attracts others of the same vibrational energy towards you. This vibrational energy allows much deeper and profound relationships to develop at a much faster pace. You show up differently with confidence and self assurance that people can feel and sense which speeds up the relationship building process. You will see people like Richard Branson have an immediate ability to connect with people whilst others just as successful as him have a much harder time. I have spent many days with Richard in Canada, Bali, USA, BVI and on his two islands and have studied how he builds relationships very quickly and deeply.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
1.The quality of your life is dependent upon the quality of the questions that you ask yourself. You have to ask better quality questions. Here are some questions to ask your self
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — changing lives
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — building rapport
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — giving people clarity
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — making friends
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — solving problems
What am I great at? e.g. Anil answer — giving to others
What am I great at? keep repeating this question
What am I good at? e.g. Anil answer — playing tennis
What am I good at? e.g. Anil answer — playing backgammon
What am I good at? e.g. Anil answer — making people laugh
What am I good at? keep repeating this question
What do I love to do? e.g. Anil answer — watching movies with family
What do I love to do? e.g. Anil answer — playing cards
What do I love to do? e.g. Anil answer — playing tennis
What do I love to do? e.g. Anil answer — reading boos
What do I love to do? keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What gives me joy? Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What makes me sad? Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What am I not good at — Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What upsets me — Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What inspires me — Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
Who has hurt me in the past — Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
Who do I need to forgive — Keep repeating this question till you run out of answers
What have I accomplished in life — create a list
What am I grateful for — create a list
By answering these questions the level of awareness rises which leads to clarity then focus then action then results then momentum then success, happiness and fulfillment.
Awareness > Clarity > Focus > Results > Momentum > Success, Happiness and Fulfillment.
2.Society can work to serve the people in the way they want to be served by providing resources, community programs and environments that are conducive to well being.
Negative TV reports and newsprint should not be the main focus but we should shift the focus to high-lighting the good deeds that people perform to encourage others to do the same.
What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
1.I perform an incantation that I repeat to myself in front of a mirror which is a variation of
I am strong
I am powerful
I make a difference
Today is the day
I am ready
It is time
It is my time
I got this
This is my life
I choose how I run it
I choose how I live it
I choose power
I choose freedom
I choose peace
I choose tranquility
I choose gratitude
Lets have an amazing day
Lets change some lives today
2.I look in the mirror and maintain eye contact and repeat to myself
I love me
I love me
I love me
3.I write down all my accomplishments and then read them out and I focus on the feeling this gives me as I become aware of the impact of these accomplishments.
I speak three languages
I am a friend of Richard Branson
I coached Mike Tyson
I can change lives in minutes
I am a badminton champion
I am a tennis champion
I wrote a best selling book
I am a best selling author
I spoke at Harvard twice
I appeared live on Fox news
I have spoken to audiences of 10,000 plus people
I have a degree
I passed my exams
I have publicly spoken in 4 continents
I am respected
I have travelled to over 70 countries
4.I look through my favorite photo folder and watch all the amazing times and moments that I have experienced with my friends and family. I focus on the felling that this gives me as a relive those magical moments.
5.My family have a magical moments book that we enter the details of the great times that we had. We write the funny and memorable moments that we had as they are quite easy to forget. It is a beautiful reminder and makes us all feel so joyous as those moments can be relived again and give us ideas for creating more magical moments.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill — A powerful book on success
Immediate Happiness by Anil Gupta — A manual on how human beings behave
I watch inspirational videos on You Tube
I watch “It is a Wonderful Life’’
I listen to the Bodyguard song by Whitney Houston ( our favorite romantic song )
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? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
I would love to fill up a stadium of 50–100,000 young people who can attend for free if they perform 5 acts of kindness. We ask they write in details of one of those acts of kindness which we will collate to create many books to sell for charity. To get a VIP seat they will have to video record one act of kindness and again we collate the most inspiring ones to create several 24 hour inspiring TV channels. We give them 7–10 inspirational talks during the day followed by a rap, pop and rock concert in the evening.
We roll out 1 city then copy to 100 other cities eventually. We will get corporate sponsors for the events.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
“ Be so great that you cannot be ignored “ by Steve Martin which I amended to “Be so great that you cannot be ignored, and if you are ignored it does not matter because how you showed up in the world would have drastically changed for the better.’’ — Anil Gupta
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!