Can We Live a Happier Life?! The book interleaves understandings about happiness, brain, mind and how to live a better and happier life with a personal story of a diversified career, interrupted by an advanced stage cancer, the battle, deep meditations, and discovering the answers. It contains short stories and original illustrations exemplifying the understandings and making the reading more fun.
Today I’ve been joined by Dr. Zeev Gilkis, author of the ‘Can We Live a Happier Life?!’. Zeev, thank you for joining me today to chat. Your book is a bit of a different beast, intertwining the highly scientific with the personal depths and lows, so I’ll hand it straight over to you to expand upon how the story and ideas behind this book unfolded.
It actually started when I was diagnosed with an advanced stage colon cancer and had to fight for my survival. The idea has developed when I had overcome the disease, through insights in deep meditations and discovering a much happier life. Most of the people in the book are real people, whom I met during my long and diversified career. But there are also some short stories, exemplifying the concepts.
After discovering a happier life, do you live by any guiding philosophies or approaches to life?
Definitely: a person is actually the brain. But the brain needs the body to supply its needs: blood, oxygen, nutrients. Therefore, if we want to live a healthy and happy life we have to take care of the body: be active, eat right (I became fully vegan) and devote some time to your soul – the spiritual aspects of life.
How did this approach different to how you lived your life when happiness was not as less pervasive in your life. For example, before you were happier what were you doing professionally?
My career began as a mathematician in the Israeli Intelligence and continued with senior positions in hi-tech, investments and biotech. After retiring about two years ago, I now devote time to writing, diversified physical activities (running, biking, swimming, surfing and more) on a daily basis, balanced by meditations twice a day. Many times I get inspiration in meditation.
This book really covers these recent profound experiences and shift you have experienced in your life. From these experiences combined with the supporting scientific point of view, what did you find the most important thing you want the audience to take away from this book?
We all can live a much happier life, even in challenging life circumstances. I’m very happy to share my ideas and experience and provide a very practical tips for a better life. The small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.
Was the chance to communicate these understandings important to you? Or did you find something more gratifying?
The very warm feedback from many people, over 30 reflected in the book reviews on Amazon, but many more by e-mail, Facebook messages and personally. To know, that I contributed, even if a little, to the better life of others is the best thing an author can expect. I receive a very warm feedback from people in personal interfaces. The best way to share with more than the people I can meet, is to share by the written word.
After such positive feedback I’m sure you’ve started working on your next book. Can you tell us a little about it?
The second book is more about the processes in the brain, the immune system and other important understandings for living a full and good life.
When you write do you generally know the final destination that you want to take your readers to?
I believe my subconsciousness knows… But it discovers it to me only as we go and progress.
And how do you approach and progress through the writing process?
I write only when I feel the drive. It can be a few days in row, but there are breaks of days and even weeks.
Is research an important part of the writing process for you? For example, was there a large research part of writhing this book?
Yes, hundreds of people responded to the questionnaire on my website: www.HQ100.co.il and reported that the feedback was inspirational.
That is a good feedback. Do you edit your own work, or do you get others to provide you with more feedback?
Definitely, I go over it many times.
From your experiences self-publishing do you have any top tips from other authors?
Write only about what you truly believe is worth sharing with others
Very true, make sure there’s something to be said before you publish. Before you go, I’d like to take a few minutes just to pose some random questions to you to see if we can find some more glimpses of happiness in your life. Let’s start with: What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favourite ocean?
Since surfing in Sri-Lanka, I love the Indian Ocean.
If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
It would be a big robot – Gulliver
That could be pretty neat. Do you have a ‘do not use’ or ‘most hated words’ list when you are writing?
No. I tried to avoid “I”, but it’s still there..
It’s a tricky one to eliminate. Are you introvert or extrovert?
Great question; I used to be an introvert and by a slow evolution, have become the 180-degree opposite – fully extrovert.
Have you ever danced in the rain?
Unfortunately not. But I would love too, and also sing… Please see the relationship chapter in the book
Nice plug for your book there. What is your favourite quote?
“People don’t stop playing because the get older, they become older because they stop playing”, Benjamin Franklin
If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write the national anthem?
I believe in a “Team Game”: it would be a 3-4 persons team.
Are you left or right handed?
If they made a movie from your book who would you choose to play the main characters?
A movie could be great. You surprised me with this question, I have to give it more thought. Maybe to ask the readers:)
How are the colours in rainbows made?
Each color is represented by a different wavelength. As the Sun light hits a water droplet, the droplet serves as a prism and separates the wavelengths.
Can’t get anything past you :). If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
That could get pretty wild. What color socks are you wearing?
Would you have a cast party with the characters in your book if they could come to life?
What is your favourite song or music to work by?
Chopin and Mozart
What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
It used to be vanilla although I don’t eat ice-cream any more :)
Are you a valuable asset on a quiz team?
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
What is your favourite quote from your own book?
Citing Charles Dickens: “Reflect on your present blessings on which every man has many, but not on your past misfortunes, on which all men have some”
What is your best tip for authors?
What is your favourite word?
And on the final note of happiness, I will finish up this interview. Thank you again for joining us today and I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of Can We Live a happier Life?!.
Want to find out more about Dr. Zeev Gilkis? Connect here!