Solve for Happy
Seventeen days after the death of my wonderful son, Ali, I began to write and couldn’t stop. My topic was happiness—an unlikely subject given the circumstances.
Ali truly was an angel. He made everything he touched better and everyone he met happier. He was always peaceful, always happy. You couldn’t miss his energy or how he affectionately cared for every being that ever crossed his path.
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 wondered if 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 one billion people become happier, a movement (#onebillionhappy) that I ask you to join so that together we can create a small-scale global pandemic of Ali-style joy.
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 Nibal, 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.”
This 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.