A dream is what propels you to be happy, believes Elsobky - GulfToday

A dream is what propels you to be happy, believes Elsobky

Dare to be happy

Hoda Elsobky poses for Gulf Today, with her book in The Dubai Mall.

By Raghib Hassan, Staff Reporter

DUBAI: Have you ever undergone that experience where, while passing through Happiness Street in Dubai, you tend to smile and get a feel of ease, despite being tired or stressed out? I had the same feeling a few days back when I heard of a book titled, “Dare to Be Happy.”  The title of the book looked very catchy. When I started exploring I found out that the book was written by a Dubai-based debutant writer, Hoda Elsobky, who indeed looks happy and infuses freshness in you while you sit and chat with her. She arrived at The Dubai Mall on Tuesday afternoon to talk about her book, journey and future plans.

Born and brought up in Cairo, Egypt, Hoda graduated from The American University of Cairo in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She majored in economics with a minor in business administration. Later, she received an MBA in marketing.  Armed with the degrees, she went on to work in multinational IT giants in Egypt, like IBM and Oracle, in sales and marketing from 1994 to 2005. Later, she flew to Vienna, Austria, to be with her husband, where she spent three years. A decade ago, she landed in Dubai with her family. It was in Dubai only that she started exploring herself and discovered that she had a flair for thinking and writing. She thinks differently of course, so she started putting her thought into words, which paved the way for her professional writing. Today she is an author of a book. When asked how, after having lived a celebrated life in the corporate world, she plunged into writing, she told Gulf Today, “I read a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, long ago, and I should say it was a game changer for me. That book had an impact on me. It really changed my life for the better. It made me realise that dreams can come true and I also can achieve my dream.”

When asked how much time it took for her to complete the book, she said, “It took me almost two years to finish the book. I launched this book in December 2018, and in only 3 months, people started liking and appreciating it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the response. People instantly liked the concept. Even the sales of my book are unprecedented in such a short span of time,” she added.

What made her choose the subject happiness? She replied, “I realised that everybody has an aspiration and dream but they also want to be happy as well. I also feel that happiness is related to everything we do. Happiness is a selling point for every product you see in the market. Everybody is looking for happiness. Despite having a luxurious life and wealth, happiness is what we still crave for because it does not come automatically or easily.”

Explaining about the book, she said, “The book consists of 12 chapters. While reading the book, you will come across different strategies, tools and formulas for happiness in all these chapters. The book has many examples from the present and past of people who not only managed to attain happiness but remained happy throughout their life, despite their share of challenges or obstacles.”

How to sustain happiness is what the book will teach you. “You need to have a dream or goal to keep you moving. You need a reason to wake up every morning with a smile. When you have a goal then your mind is occupied and you tend to move ahead in life and hence you move closer to happiness.”

When asked why she chose to write on happiness, she said, “The subject is very close to my heart. Even 20 years ago, when I was asked to present a paper on any subjects in the university, I chose happiness to write about. I thought I too have seen ups and downs in my professional and personal life. I too have learnt from trial and error, therefore I thought of sharing my experiences with my readers through a book.”

Hoda has lived in Cairo, Vienna and now resides in Dubai. When asked about her impressions of Dubai, said, “I am very happy to be in Dubai. This is a city of happiness. Dubai has taken many initiatives to keep happiness as its utmost priority. Even there is a Ministry of Happiness now. I have heard that even Russia and KSA are thinking on these lines.”  

Happiness is a very crucial factor for an individual, organisation or for a nation. We need to be happy to achieve our goal, she informed.

When asked to share a few tips for attaining happiness, she said, “Walking for 30 minutes in a sun or meditation for 10 minutes, going out with people can also trigger positivity in you. De-cluttering your house, emails, office and even mind can also keep you happy.”

Sharing her life after turning an author, she said, “I am more focused on writing. I do public speaking and I consider myself a thinker. I am very occupied with lots of writing these days. I try to add new ideas. I feel happiness is a social habit that needs to be inculcated.”

Doing all these things by being a homemaker is not an easy task. It needs lots of discipline and passion, she remarked. Talking about that, she said, “When you love something you can find time. I keep a notebook always and jot down my ideas, at times I go out to beaches to think.”

On her future plans, she noted, “I will be travelling to the entire Middle East, United States and Europe to talk about the idea of happiness.”  Meanwhile, she urged people not to miss her book too and said it would help you go the extra mile, not only to be happy but, to stay happy! The book is available on Amazon.com and souq.com and will soon be translated into Arabic.