Robert Mack is a positive psychology expert, celebrity happiness coach, executive coach, speaker, author, professional model, and actor. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the relationship between happiness and success, helping individuals and organizations achieve an energizing balance of authentic personal happiness and effortless professional success, based on time-tested, face-valid, empirical data and timeless, transcendental wisdom. Mack is the author of the critically-acclaimed and celebrity-endorsed book Happiness from the Inside Out: The Art and Science of Fulfillment.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania. 

I grew up with a very loving family, but I was a very depressed child and young adult.

I excelled academically and athletically, but not socially. I was my class salutatorian, but I was also voted “Most Shy” of my high school. That is not a superlative that I welcomed! Ha!

I wanted to be a professional basketball player, but that clearly didn’t pan out. 

That, of course, only deepened my depression.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Honestly, I’ve realized everything exactly when I should have realized it: in divine timing. 

That being said, I think the importance of prioritizing happiness over everything else is probably the greatest lesson – or realization – of my life.

What are bad recommendations do you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

I think all recommendations have some truth in them.

That being said, I would encourage folks to 

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I was deeply depressed for over two decades. 

That depression led to suicidal ideation, which led to me researching ways to kill myself. 

Eventually, I decided to slit my wrist.

Strangely enough, as I dug the knife into my wrist, I experienced real peace for the first time in my life. I was shocked, to say the least. That was not what I was expecting.

In that moment, I decided to postpone suicide for an hour.

During that hour – which I was even fully committed to, quite frankly – I researched what happened to me. 

That hour bled into a day, which bled into several days.

Now, it’s been over 2 decades since then. I barely recognize my younger self!

The entire time, I learned – and applied – everything that I could find on how to be as happy as possible.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I practice micro-meditations, which are simply one-breath meditations… for the joy of it alone… without thinking of anything at all.

I sometimes call it “practicing the Presence, too”

I also read a ton of “Don’t Kill Yourself… Yet” books, as I call them. Ha!

And I exercise daily. 

Taken together, I think these things have made all the difference for me.

What is your morning routine?

I wake up at 3:30 am, meditate, read, meditate again, hit the gym, and then start seeing clients.

What habit or behavior has most improved your life the most?

Reading – and applying what I read – has, by far, improved my life more than anything else.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I focus on “lazy intelligence.”

That means I schedule strategic planning sessions with myself to (a) clarify – or remind myself – what I’m optimizing my life for (happiness); (b) reverse-engineer out (outsource, delegate, reduce, eliminate, automate, regulate) everything that doesn’t essentially contribute to what I’m optimizing my life for (happiness); and (c) apply lazy intelligence to what’s left on my plate. 

In other words, I ask myself: “How can I get equal or better results with less time, energy, and effort.

Ultimately, the answer usually comes back as some form of this: “Be. Happy. Now.”

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

I’ve read thousands of books over the last few decades. I used to read a book a day, so this is a hard question. It’s like choosing my favorite organ! Haha!

In any case, these are some of my favorite books/authors:

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“It’s an extraordinary life if you don’t overthink it!”