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The Anatomy of Success

Whether the goal is to learn how to ride a bicycle, drive a car, fly a plane, earn perfect SAT score, write a best seller, find employment, get a promotion, or simply live a happy life, the requirements for success are fundamentally the same:

1. Personal willpower

2. The help of others

3. What you have

4. What you know

5. What you believe

In other words, your willpower, courage, and personal passion; the help and assistance from others; your good stewardship of available resources; your personal knowledge and skillful use of information; and finally your personal ethos, religious beliefs, or spiritual convictions. Using the ladder as a metaphor, these are the five universal rungs (or stairs) necessary for a successful climb to any victory in life

Fifth rung—Beliefs (ethos)

Fourth rung—Knowledge (intellect)

Third rung—Resources (stewardship)

Second rung—Others (assistance)

First rung—Dream (willpower)

About Dreams and Willpower

Your ability to dream is an absolute requirement for success. Without a dream, there is practically nothing to pursue. In fact, willpower emanates from the dream itself. The greater the passion underlying a dream, the stronger the willpower it generates. Consequently, the problem of underachievers is not the lack of willpower but the reduced capacity to dream. A truly passionate dream and the willpower emanating from it constitute the first rung of the ladder of success. Every success story is essentially the story of a dreamer and a passionate dream.

About Help from Others

No one can single-handedly succeed in life without help. We often overlook (particularly in our boastful moments) the contributions of others—such as our teachers, fellow students, mentors, fellow employees, strangers, and other incidental role models—who often contribute toward our climb to success Consequently, we cannot discount the significance of others in the achievement of our dreams. As help is potentially all around us, we should not hesitate to ask for help when we truly need it. We are far more deserving of help when our personal self-help efforts are evident. We succeed better when we are inclusive as donors or recipients. We should always embrace and subscribe to the notion of human brotherhood by becoming more considerate of others. We must constantly strive to expand our circle of friends and increase the pool of our well-wishers in any way we can because the help of those around us constitutes the second rung of the ladder of success.

About Resources and Stewardship

Every success story reveals a requirement of some initial investment of capital, in the form of money and other material resources. In many stories of successful people, we also find that even those of meager means often succeed despite financial poverty. Far more important than the actual amount that one has in the bank is the good stewardship of whatever one already has or owns that matter. Hence the wealthiest among us are not necessarily the most successful in realizing their dreams. The most important of all economic best practices is the habit of valuing what we already have. When we value and appreciate what we already have, what we have (no matter how meager) suddenly appreciates in value. Good stewardship of available resources constitutes the third rung of the ladder of success.

About Knowledge and Intellect

Knowledge, curiosity, intellect, and skillful use of information are important determining factors of upward mobility in all walks of life. In all cultures, knowledge confers power. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed. Invariably, success belongs to those who know how, why, when, where, and what to do. It is simply impossible to succeed without knowledge, skill, expertise, experience, or adequate information. We must remain curious, enthusiastic, and open-minded about new information. Keep informed and try to learn something from every situation that presents itself. We should be impatient with our own ignorance. Knowledge and intellect constitute the fourth rung of the ladder of success.

About Beliefs and Ethos

With time, each of us gradually acquires our own opinions about life and death, right and wrong, science and religion, destiny, and self-determination. From these opinions emerge convictions that ultimately form the core of our operational beliefs, personal philosophy, and ethos. The stronger our convictions and beliefs are, the more principled and steadfast we are in the pursuit of our dreams. On the contrary, procrastination, vacillation, and indecision are often the hallmarks of weak convictions or lack of faith. Strong beliefs and ethos (whether spiritual, philosophical, or religious) constitute the fifth rung of the ladder of success.

The Take Home Lesson

A wish is a mere desire. It is when you commit to a wish that it becomes a goal. To succeed is to accomplish a goal or a dream. From a passionate dream emanates the willpower for perseverance and resiliency. We all need help from others and your personal knowledge, curiosity, and intellect are very vital. Make good use of the resources available to you and remain true to your personal convictions and ethos.

Regardless of who, where, what, how, why, when, which, and whose, every success story is the tale of a dreamer who used the right ladder of success.

About The Happiness Formula

In 1979, Dr. Alphonsus Obayuwana was awarded a national research grant and Smith-Kline Medical Perspective Fellowship to develop an instrument for measuring human hope, with the purpose of detecting hopelessness early enough in troubled human individuals so assistance could be offered in time to prevent suicide. The Hope Index Scale (HIS) that resulted from this grant became very popular with Fortune 500 companies and other institutions both in the US and in other countries. This led to the foundation of decades of research that ultimately resulted in this cutting-edge book, The Happiness Formula: Using Science to Understand Personal Satisfaction, Human Hope, and Subjective Well-Being.

Unlike other books about happiness, which are too often filled with dos and don’ts, wishful thinking, and empty aphorisms, The Happiness Formula breaks new ground by introducing a universal unit of measure called the “Personal Happiness Index” or PHI. This makes it possible—for the first time ever—to calculate and assign numerical happiness scores to human individuals by plugging their unique hopes, hungers, assets, and aspirations into an equation.

Despite its title, The Happiness Formula is much more than a mathematical equation for measuring happiness. It is a book about life; the relationship between human hope and happiness; how to find, measure and boost them; and, most interestingly, how to confirm the happiest country in the world and even help identify the happiest living human, or HLH. It challenges the World Happiness Report of 2023, debunks three major happiness myths, and then introduces the Triple-H Equation—the simple but profound formula about what makes life worth living. This is a book for happiness seekers and happiness advocates everywhere.

About Alphonsus Obayuwana, MD, PhD, CPC

Alphonsus Obayuwana, MD, PhD, CPC, is a physician-scientist, a happiness coach, and the founder and CEO of Triple-H Project LLC—an entity that trains and certifies happiness coaches. He is a Literary Titan Gold Award-winning author who has published several peer-reviewed articles in the national medical journals about human hope and happiness, including The Hope Index Scale that became widely used at the Coca-Cola company, General Motors, Veterans Administration, and many academic institutions inside and outside the United States. He is also the author of The Five Sources of Human Hope and How to Live a Life of Hope.

After thirty years of relentless research on human hope, he successfully derived the Triple-H Equation that is at the core of this book. Throughout his faculty tenures at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Toledo, he has taught and mentored medical students, resident physicians, nurses, and fellows in the art and science of caring and promoting happiness for themselves and their patients.

Dr. Obayuwana is also a retired Major in the US Air Force (Reserve). He is married to Ann Louis, his wife of forty-seven years. Together, they have two sons and three granddaughters. For recreation, he loves to walk, read, listen to music, and play his drum set.

More about Alphonsus can be found at


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