Category Archives: Life

What’s happening in my life

We’re taking a long break

I started Woohoo Inc back in 2003 so we have been spreading happiness at work for over 16 years. Our keynotes, workshops, articles, conferences, videos and books have reached millions of people all over the world.

But something is wrong. For the last couple of years I have been unhappy at work and that won’t really do for someone in my business :)

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why work stopped being fun for me, but here are three reasons that have played a role:

  • For a long time we’ve been working on the same level, i.e. the same number of clients, the same number of readers on our articles and books, the same number of views on our videos, the same number of participants at our events, etc. I’ve tried many things to develop the business to reach more people but little of it has worked and when things stand still, I get bored.
  • There are too many people in this field who attract attention by saying either platitudes or unverifiable nonsense. For instance, some recent bestselling books have claimed that positive feedback is bad for you, that we should resist growth and development, that we should ignore emotions at work or that work should be duty – not passion. It’s frustrating to have to refute dumb claims like this over and over again.
  • My previous longest stint in the same job was 5 years, so this has been 3 times as long. Maybe 16 years doing the same thing is simply enough for me.

Simply put, it’s time for me to take my own medicine and do something to become happy at work again so from January 1st I’m shutting the company down for 6 months to go traveling. What will happen after that? I have no idea :)

Fortunately we have built a fantastic international partner network over the last 3 years who have all been trained in our methods and  who are doing amazing work around the world. They are ready to step in while we’re gone.

So if you’re looking for a speaker or consultant to come in and make your organization happier and more profitable, don’t hesitate for a second to book any of them.

Happy Holiday Greetings

All of us at Woohoo Inc would like to wish you a happy holiday season and an AWESOME new year at work and in life.

We’ve had a great 2017. Here are some of the things we’re most proud of:

  • We’ve now worked with clients in almost 50 countries – Ukraine is the latest addition to the list.
  • Our new book “Leading With Happiness” just came out and is getting rave reviews. Stanford professor Bob Sutton called it “compelling, useful, well-researched, and downright fun to read.”
  • The average customer rating for our speeches and workshops is still 9.7 out of 10.
  • We held our first international happiness at work conference with participants from 17 countries.
  • We now have partners in almost 30 different countries, including Bahrain, Colombia, Hong Kong and Australia who use our tools and methods to promote happiness at work.

In 2018 we’re especially excited about:

Happy Holiday Greeting,

Arlette, Alexander and Patricia

Woohoo Inc.

My meeting with the Danish healthcare system

Danish hospital wear - stylish AND flattering :)

Yesterday I went in for a very minor planned operation at Bispebjerg Hospital close to where we Iive here in Copenhagen.

So here are 3 reflections on my first major meeting with the Danish healthcare system since I was a kid.

1: The people were awesome

Every single person I met was friendly, cheerful and competent. I felt seen and genuinely cared for the whole time. So many people welcomed me to the hospital. Many said “We’re going to take good care of you,” which I felt was a wonderful touch.

All staff also went out of their way to keep me informed at all times and took time to answer all my questions. Everything they did was explained clearly and with great empathy.

They all seemed very happy at work and were really nice and friendly around each other as well. This is important, because some research indicates that happy hospitals have better patient outcomes.

2: The whole process was highly efficient

The surgery went just perfectly and I was in and out in a few hours, just as scheduled.

It was clear that the different teams and wards had spent a lot of time optimizing the processes and figuring out the best ways to share information between them and how to optimally use the available resources.

These people clearly care about doing their jobs well and efficiently.

3: This is for everyone

I’m wealthy. If I didn’t trust the public hospitals in Denmark, I could easily afford treatment at a private hospital somewhere.

So my main reflection is that this level of care is available for free to every single Dane, regardless of income or social status. This is one of the things that make me proud of my country.

My only worry is that I’ll have to take it easy on the training for a while –  just when the CrossFit Open is coming up. Dammit :)

My top 10 feel-good movies

love actually

I’m going completely off-script in this post to talk about something unrelated to happiness at work but still close to my heart: Feel-good movies.

I have a weakness for feel-good films and I’m not ashamed to admit it :)

I love the fact that these movies show the world as a warm and happy place where good things happen to nice people, where everything eventually has a happy ending, where people can be themselves and are accepted for who they are and where second chances can be found by those who don’t succeed at first.

This may even be a more accurate portrayal of how the world actually is. I know it’s more common to see the world as hard, unfair and dog-eat-dog but there are equally compelling arguments that show that the world favors those who are nice and cooperate. And feel-good films reflect that.

So here is my top 10 list of feel-good films – in no particular order.

The Fisher King (1991)

Terry Gilliam’s visually stunning film has Robin Williams in one of his most challenging and touching roles. It is a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness and of love and madness.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“There’s three things in this world that you need: Respect for all kinds of life, a nice bowel movement on a regular basis, and a navy blazer.”

Down by Law (1986)

A black and white minimalist masterpiece from Jim Jarmusch with an incredibly unlikely main cast of Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni. This is quite simply one of the most beautiful movies ever made. You could blow up pretty much any single frame of this movie and hang it as a poster.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“It’s a sad and beautiful world.”

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

The fascinating thing about this Baz Luhrman movie is that it is both a tremendous parody of a dance movie AND a tremendous dance movie. It’s about not being afraid of being different and not living in fear.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!”

(Living in fear, is only half-living.)

Love Actually (2003)

The ultimate romantic comedy, feel-good movie and Christmas movie rolled into one. The all-star cast includes Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and Billy Bob Thornton. At our house, we have friends over every year in early December and watch it together.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“Okay, Dad. Let’s do it. Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.”

Amélie (2001)

This movie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet leans slightly into the magical realism genre without becoming too weird.

Favorite quote:

Narrator: Amélie still seeks solitude. She amuses herself with silly questions about the world below, such as “How many people are having an orgasm right now?”

[scenes of various orgasms taking place]

Amélie: Fifteen.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

3 leading actors known mainly for being in action movies play drag queens and while Hugo Weaving and Terrence Stamp are both fanastic Guy Pearce especially takes to the role as a duck to water. A wonderful movie about being different. Look out for the scene where they walk out of theie bus in small-town Australia in full drag – it was shot on an actual street in Australia and the reactions you see are genuine.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“That’s just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock.”


Sure this is ostensibly a screwball comedy (and it is really, really funny) but it’s also a heartwarming story of friendship and being yourself.

My rating: 9/10

Favorite quote:

“Here at Globo Gym we’re better than you, and we know it.”

Stardust (2007)

Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer whether he works in comics (his Sandman series is the very best of the genre) or in novels. This beautiful movie is a classic fairy tale with some cool twists.

My rating: 9/10

Favorite quote:

[the pirates have just discovered Captain Shakespeare in drag]
Skinny Pirate: What’s the problem?
Captain Shakespeare: It’s my reputation.
Skinny Pirate: No. No. Don’t be silly. Nonsense.
Old Pirate: It’s all right, Captain. We always knew you were a whoopsie.

Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

While filming his big-budget superhero movie The Avengers, Joss Whedon needed to relax. So he got some friends over to his house for a couple of weeks where they shot Much Ado About Nothing in black and white and with modern costumes but with the original Shakespeare text. It is hilarious, it’s a feel-good love story and you can just tell that everyone there had a great time making it.

My rating: 10/10

Favorite quote:

“I wish my horse had the speed of your tongue.”

Field of Dreams (1989)

The ultimate movie of second chances. Goes directly into magical realism but without losing its sense of fun and humanity.

My rating: 9/10

Favorite quote:

“Is this heaven?”

“It’s Iowa.”

More feel-good films

Honorable mention goes to these movies:

A wonderful life
Slumdog millionaire
Russian pizza blues
Eat drink man woman
Pane e tulipani
Out of Rosenheim (Bagdad Cafe)
The Intouchables
Good Will Hunting
The snapper
Hable con ella
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Mitt liv som hund
Royal Tenenbaums
Shawshank redemption
La vita e bella
What’s eating Gilbert Grape
Moulin Rouge
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Oceans eleven

Your take

Have you seen any of these list? Did I forget your favorite feel-good movie? Write a comment and let me know what you think.

I’m back

I’m back at work after a nice long Christmas vacation and a week’s snowboarding in France and my fantastic co-workers and I are hitting the ground running.

It wasn’t easy though – our flight back was 7 hours late(!), so I got home at 6AM on Sunday morning and had to get dressed and leave pretty much right away to do a presentation for IKEA. But when you’re an experienced speaker you don’t need sleep – you can work on adrenaline and caffeine instead :o)

Today I got to spend some quality time with my inbox today (MAN, I get a lot of mail :o) and tomorrow I’m giving two presentations at Denmark’s biggest conference for public leaders and employees. Approximately 5.000 people will be there and if you’re coming, you can find us at exhibit booth 17.

I’m in Vegas getting married

Today’s big news has nothing to do with happiness at work and everything to do with happiness in life: My wonderful girlfriend Patricia and I are in Vegas – to get married.

Here are some pictures from when I proposed. Yes, I’m wearing an Elvis costume – it was a Vegas party :o)

The wedding is October 1st. 2009 – in Las Vegas. Woooo-hoooooooooooooooo :o)

Normal blogging will resume in mid-October when I’m back but in the meantime you can follow the wedding and my other exploits on Facebook and Twitter:

Have a happy couple of weeks.

My stand-up debut

I took a class in stand-up comedy in New York a couple of weeks ago run by the American Comedy Institute who offer a 1-year version, a 3-week version and (the one I did) a 5-day intensive version for non-New York natives.

The concept for the intensive version is simple: The class starts on a Tuesday and runs daily until Saturday. You get to develop a five minute set and perform your material in front of the rest of the class AND you get private one on one writing sessions with Stephen Rosenfeld (who teaches the class) to go over and refine your material. For your graduation you perform live on stage at a New York comedy club in front of a paying audience.

I love to challenge myself to do activities that let me learn new skills and scare me silly, and few activities have accomplished this as thoroughly as this class :o)

So without further ado, here’s my stand-up comedy debut, filmed on June 21 2008 at The Gotham Comedy Club in New York. It may not be entirely safe to watch at work.

I’m thinking this was so scary and so much fun that I need to do it some more. There are open mike nights every Wednesday at The Comedy Zoo here in Copenhagen. I may have to create a set in Danish and try it out there.

I highly recommend the class that The American Comedy Institute offers – you can read all about it here.

Please join me on C4

C4I previously wrote about my good friends on C4 and how they’re helping Africa by letting people like you and me invest in small African businesses.

They are now moving into an open beta and are looking for more people to use the system. Won’t you join me there?

I’ve been using it for a while now and have already invested in a group of 6 women who want to sell auto spare parts and in Sulaiman Bulega (shown in the picture) who is going to expand the selection of office stationery in his store.

The really cool thing here is not only that helping people in the third world feel great – I also stand to get my investments back, with interest. So far, all the investments on the site have been repaid in full, meaning the default rate on the loans is lower than in banks in developed nations.

It’s really simple to join the site and to use it – but you will have to put at least 150 Euro (about 200 USD) in your account which you can then immediately invest in Africa.

In my opinion, THIS is how we will help the third world. Not by giving away money and aid but through investments and trade.

I urge you to join C4 – read all about it here and join here.

Still on holiday

Have fun

Here’s just a short updatefrom me while I enjoy some more vacation. The weather in Denmark sucks right now which is great, because my wonderful girlfriend and I have spent some time upgrading our apartment – we’re talking fresh paint, general fixing and some cool new furniture – so the bad weather just means there’s less temptation to skip that work and go to the beach instead – perfect :o)