The Mission – 10 Million Happy

Ali’s death was a blow I never could have expected, but when I look back, I feel that he somehow knew. Two days before his unexpected departure, he sat us all down as a wise grandfather would gather his children and said he had something important to share. He said he understood that it might seem odd for him to offer advice to his parents but that he felt compelled to do it. Usually, Ali spoke very little, but now he took his time and spent most of it telling his mother Nibal, his sister Aya and me what he loved most about us. He thanked us kindly for what we had contributed to his life. His words warmed our hearts, and then he asked each of us to do some specific things.

His request to me was: Papa, you should never stop working. Keep making a difference and rely on your heart more often. Your work here is not done. He then paused for a few seconds, sat back in his chair—as if to say: but now my work here is done—and said That’s it. I have nothing more to say.

And so, seventeen days after his death, I began to write. I decided to follow Ali’s advice and do something positive, to try to share our model of happiness with all of those who are needlessly suffering around the world. Four and a half months later I raised my head. I had a first draft.

My hope is that by sharing Ali’s message—his peaceful way of living—I may be able to honor his memory and continue his legacy. I tried to imagine the positive impact spreading this message could create, and I realized that maybe it is not for nothing that I have a high-profile job with global reach. So I took on an ambitious mission: To help ten million people become happier, a movement (#10millionhappy) that I ask you to join so that together we can create a small-scale global pandemic of Ali-style joy.

This book is my attempt to fulfill the task assigned to me by my happiness idol. For as long as I live, I will make global happiness my personal mission, my moonshot for Ali.