Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Special Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
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Mo Gawdat delved into how he manages his flourishing company, One Billion Happy Foundation, using unconventional managerial methods. (AN Photo/Abdulrahman Bin Shalhoub)
Special Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
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Deepak Chopra signed copies of The Soul of Leadership at the Annual Leadership Conference. (AN Photo/Abdulrahman Bin Shalhoub)
Special Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
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Mo Gawdat signed copies of Scary Smart at the Annual Leadership Conference. (AN Photo/Abdulrahman Bin Shalhoub)
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Updated 04 June 2023
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Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
  • Mo Gawdat: You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness
  • Deepak Chopra: It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment

RIYADH: Authors Deepak Chopra and Mo Gawdat revealed their methods for successful leadership and embracing the future of AI at a conference in Riyadh. 

Chopra and Gawdat were among the many speakers at the Annual Leadership Conference, which explored how managers must adapt in a rapidly changing world to build a sustainable future.

In an interview with Arab News, Gawdat, a former Google employee, said he managed his flourishing company, One Billion Happy Foundation, with unconventional methods.

“You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness,” he said. “We think that leaders are all about controlling everyone and everything. That’s not true at all. Leaders, by the meaning of the word, are in the front, chasing their vision and dream, where others want to be behind them.”

Gawdat said he created his firm seven years ago after the loss of his son, vowing to make one billion people happier. That task started with his own employees.

“We’re always happy. And the reason is because with that happiness, you create that connection, and with that connection, you achieve more success, and you become a better leader,” Gawdat said.

“You give your people reasons to find happiness in what they do, that you give your people purpose in your vision,” he added. 

Gawdat said coping with what life throws your way is all about making better choices on what we decide our stressors will be. 

“Eighty percent of the things that break us are not things that we necessarily need to have in our life. We can be very effective at weeding out the stuff that doesn’t really require our attention,” he said. 

“Everything from waking up in the morning to a very loud alarm instead of a kind alarm. Or maybe even sleeping a little early, so that you don’t need an alarm.”

The conference held a signing of Chopra’s book “The Soul of Leadership” and Gawdat’s second book, “Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World.” 

Gawdat said his work looked at the need to commit to a “dynamic, fast-moving … world with AI.”

It explored how “accepting the fact that this is upon us … and then committing to becoming the best user of it,” would allow people to get the “best outcome of this situation.”

 

 

 

In a panel discussion, Chopra broke down the skills needed to be a successful leader: Look and listen, Emotional bonding, awareness, doing, empowerment, responsibility, and synchronicity.

Chopra, who has written 93 books, said effective leadership in a workplace required a shared vision, maximum job diversity, and a leveraging of the strengths of team members. 

“It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment,” Chopra said. “In cognitive science, we call it awareness. It’s not in time, it’s in between every thought, breath, movement, perception, sensation, is this presence.”

Chopra is also a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California and the founder of Chopra Foundation. 

The conference, themed “Creating a sustainable and resilient global economy: the convergence of finance, business, and technology,” was held in the King Abdullah Financial District.