How to be Happy with Monique Rhodes

It takes commitment to turn your life around and be happy.

We fill our minds with so much junk and nonsensical information, and then we wonder why we’re feeling anxious and depressed.
– Monique Rhodes

In this episode of the Extraordinary Focus podcast, I chatted with Monique Rhodes about How To Be Happy. And we had a powerful conversation! As Monique says, “turning my life around feels equivalent to the training, determination and courage required to win an Olympic gold medal in Mind Training. It is the greatest achievement of my life.”

Tune in as we discuss:

  • The secret to being happier.
  • Practical tools to increase your happiness.
  • Understanding where happiness comes from and how to take charge of it.
  • Insight into why happiness is actually a habit.
  • What do we do that takes away from happiness?
  • How to reduce overwhelm.
  • Insight into where stress and anxiety come from in our modern world and guidelines on how to reduce it.

The most important thing we need to realize and understand is that we should be looking after our minds.
– Monique Rhodes

Monique Rhodes is a Happiness Strategist who teaches students and corporations around the world how to master their lives. She has spent the last 25 years studying the mind and its relationship to happiness and suffering.

Over 70 universities and colleges use her program The 10 Minute Mind®. In addition, Monique has:
– Performed solo in front of up to 10k people a night when touring Europe twice, opening for Chuck Berry.
– Bought a Royal Enfield motorcycle and rode through India for 4 years alone.

To learn more about Monique and to claim your discount using ‘focus’, visit

If you can know yourself through a meditation practice and learn how to bring your mind back to the present moment, it’s a game changer.
– Monique Rhodes


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[00:00:00] Monique Rhodes: We fill our minds with so much junk, so much rubbish, so much nonsensical information. And then we wonder why it is that we’re feeling anxious, depressed, fearful, struggling.

[00:00:12] David Wood: Welcome high-performing entrepreneurs and business owners. Do you suffer from shiny object syndrome? Do you often feel scattered and distracted, making it hard to implement your plan with all the ideas and strategies coming at you?

Do you often wonder if you have the right goals and plans. Welcome to Extraordinary Focus with David Wood, where we help you achieve way more in less time. Get the laser focus you need, so you can double your business, double your impact in the world and be an even more extraordinary entrepreneur and human.

Let’s dive in and stay tuned at the end for your gift.

Welcome back to another episode of Extraordinary Focus. And I am actually excited. Everyone says that they always say, I’m excited to introduce this new guest. And I think they’re lying most of the time, but this time I am, I’m going to read you a little bit about Monique and then we’ll, we’ll get her out here, which is another thing I love to say because we don’t have a stage, but like, let’s get her out here.

Monique Rhodes is a happy. Strategist your teachers, students and corporations around the world, how to master their lives. She spent 25 years studying the mind and its relationship to happiness and suffering. And by the way, I got her on the show because I want to know more about how to be happy for myself.

So this is very self-serving over 70 universities and colleges use her program the 10 minute mind, and this was not in her bio, but she has performed. In front singing, I assume in front of up to 10,000 people a night, touring Europe, twice opening for Chuck Berry. How many people can say that. And she bought a Royal and field motorcycle and rode it through India for four years alone.

So that had me want to speak to you, Monique. Thanks for being on the show.

[00:02:01] Monique Rhodes: So good to see you, David.

[00:02:03] David Wood: Yeah, it’s good to hear an Aussie accent. I assume it’s an Aussie accent?

[00:02:06] Monique Rhodes: I have to say it’s one step above that.

[00:02:09] David Wood: Oh, one step you’re elevated to Kiwi status. I should have known because you were nominated for the new, new Zealander of the year award, right?

[00:02:19] Monique Rhodes: Yes, I was. Yes.

[00:02:21] David Wood: All right, Kiwi. Well, I won’t hold it against you. I, uh, I, I’m not that parochial these days, so let’s see. Um, I want to start with something that you. You sent me in our prep and in my research was turning around my life feels equivalent to what it takes to win an Olympic gold medal in mind training.

And it’s the greatest achievement of your life. And I want to know about that. Can you give us a version of like, how did, like, where were you and how did you turn around?

[00:02:58] Monique Rhodes: Yeah, sure. I mean, I think that, you know, a lot of us suffer like suffering is something big. People have gone through lots and lots of things, but I wanted to see whether this suffering was actually something that I was stuck with or whether it was something that I could actually turn around.

I think most of my teenage years I was quite depressed. So I grew up in a very difficult situation in my house. And by the age of 19, I ended up in hospital having tried to take my own life. And that was where I really asked myself this question, why is it that I’m struggling so much? And why is it that some other people seem to have a relatively, you know, easy sort of existence.

And was there something that I could understand differently to shift this wasn’t movable? Or was it just my kind of luck of the draw? And so I went on. Uh, adventure for a long time. Over 25 years, I’ve been doing it, looking to see whether it’s possible to actually shift and change happiness levels. Could I shift this, this part of me that was in such unbelievable turmoil that.

There I’d wake up in the morning. I wouldn’t feel good. I might feel good sometime later in the day, but my emotions were all over the place. My thinking was all over the place. I was anxious. I didn’t feel safe in the world. And obviously I was also suicidal and I’ve managed to turn my life around to a place where.

Uh, I dunno. Sometimes I think if I wasn’t me, I’d be jealous of myself. You know, my life has really been extraordinary, but not through luck through design. And I’ve learned through this and also the work that I do teaching so many other people that it is possible to change and you can transform your life if you want to.

And I’m living Testament to it.

David Wood: That line, if I wasn’t me, I’d be jealous of me. Or a great lion. Um, this is a personal topic for me. I do suffer. I have a lot of joy and, and good times in my life, but I do suffer. In fact, the last week has been a real tough week. I had eight days ago, I was depressed down.

Didn’t want to face anything and then was scared. How am I going to face? The world, how am I going to show up for work? How am I going to show up for clients? How will I show up for these acting gigs and rehearsals and all of this stuff? And so there’s a lot of suffering and I believe it’s optional, but it doesn’t always feel like that.

And I want to touch on something else. You said, you said it’s, um, by design that wasn’t accidental. And I wonder how many is my question for you? How many humans. Notice that they’re not happy. And then say, I wonder what the steps would be. And then I’m going to put those in place and do those consistently over time to change that versus this is just how it is.

I’m just going to bitch and complain and I’m going to say.

Monique Rhodes: I don’t know how many people do, but I think that it’s so much easier. If someone shows you how, and for me, I had to go through all the experimenting to figure it out. Whereas now I’m able to work with clients and show them there’s a series of steps because I, one of the biggest things that I have understood through this journey is that even though I say that.

You know, and you might say, you know, as optional, I know, you know, this past, week’s been really hard for you and you, you know, in your, in yourself, there is a way to change this, but unless someone comes along and says to you, here are the steps, it could take you a long time to figure out exactly what it is that you need to shift and change.

[00:06:54] David Wood: All right. Great segue. Before we get to the steps. I’m interested to know what are some of the things that we do as humans that take us away from happiness. And then we can talk about some practical things that people can actually write down and go and do starting today to feel happy.

[00:07:14] Monique Rhodes: Absolutely. So I think, I think one of the biggest things that we’re up against these days, David, is that we’re facing a world where we’re at on dated with information and it’s exhausting and we’re struggling with it.

There’s so much opposing information. There’s so much information that’s fear-based, but there’s also. A bunch of information that we, um, kind of soak up all day, every day that we don’t realize, which is advertising everywhere. We turn, we are inundated with advertising messages. From every time we open our phone and internet online.

We go outside there’s billboards. I remember once being in Sydney and there was advertising on the wheel rims of the taxis, you know, so it was at us all the time. And what that messaging is telling us consistently is you need this product in order to be happy. And so that really is the basis of capitalism.

Capitalism is based in this idea. If I create a need in you that you’re not enough that you need more, you will buy products and the economy will keep working, but because we’re surrounded by it all the time until we actually remove ourselves from it, which most people don’t manage to do, because it’s difficult to do.

We don’t realize the impact that it’s having on us. And so we’re sold this law. If you can be richer, uh, have a bit of job, have a nicer car, be famous, um, powerful that you will be happy. I remember some years ago going, um, and seeing lady Gaga performing in Las Vegas and, uh, she was doing this kind of acoustic big band thing was amazing.

She was getting paid $1 million a gig. And the thing that struck me about that. About that performance was she talked about how incredibly unhappy she was. And so I think that when we look at the people that have all of the things that we’re led to believe will bring us happiness. We can start to see that these, these things don’t correlate, but we still keep believing the lie because we’re surrounded by.

All day. Does that make sense?

[00:09:31] David Wood: Oh, I think it does. I’m going to try and paraphrase in the way my brain takes it in we’re in a Getwell society. You’re broken. Uh, if you buy this, it’ll fix you. You will be good. If you do this, if you a thinner, you’ll be happier. If you look younger, you’ll be happier. If you’re married and have a partner and have kids, look, you’ll be so, so great.

If you have all this money, I can help you do that. And yet most of those things I understand the first $70,000 of income can really do a lot for happiness. And after that, it’s really up in the air. So we do have this lie and there’s push, I keep doing and doing, and doing and doing, and I got to keep fixing myself.

And ultimately that is not the path.

[00:10:19] Monique Rhodes: Exactly. That’s it.

[00:10:21] David Wood: Okay. So what are the steps. What are some practical takeaways we can give people so they can actually, and me, so we can actually, uh, start increasing happiness in.

[00:10:36] Monique Rhodes: Of course. So there’s something that’s really important to understand. All right. So we wake up in the morning.

One of the first things that I do, I don’t know about you, David, is that I like to brush my teeth, take a shower. Did you, did you do that today?

[00:10:51] David Wood: I don’t shower in the morning.

[00:10:53] Monique Rhodes: Okay. Brush your teeth, maybe put on some clean clothes. I like to have my workspace really clean and tidy. You know, I like my house to be really clean.

Cause I know what makes me feel better. Right. But the reality is is that I don’t live in my home. I don’t live in my office. I don’t live in my clothes. Where is it that we live in? We actually live in our minds. And this is the piece of information that we don’t understand. What we don’t realize is that when was the last time you cleaned out your mind?

I don’t know. Maybe now. And what we do is we go through life believing that happiness and suffering come from external circumstances from what happens outside of ourselves. If I get that job, I’m going to be happy. If I meet the person on my dreams, I’ll be happy if I’m driving this great car, I’ll be happy and momentarily.

It gives us a good feeling. But as we get used to that thing that we’ve acquired. That feeling of happiness starts to only become momentary. And then we start the process again, a little bit like a, a, you know, a rat or a hamster on a wheel going round around looking for the next thing for the next thing and the next thing.

So the most important thing that we need to realize and understand is that the, the one thing we should be looking after in our lives is actually our minds. And we don’t. What we do instead, David, as we fill our minds with so much junk, so much rubbish, so much nonsensical information. And then we wonder why it is that we’re feeling anxious, depressed, fearful, struggling.

I mean, we’re, we’re literally living under a burden of, uh, over information society. That’s pounding us with information right now. That’s terrifying. How could we. Not like if I was to take you David and put you into a, a house, let’s say I take you to a, you know, a really seedy part of Sydney. All right.

And I stick you in a house and it’s dark and it’s gray and there’s nothing on the w you know, the windows are closed and I leave you there for two weeks. You’re going to end up feeling depressed, but that’s the kind of place. That we’re living in on a day-to-day basis unconsciously right now. And then we wonder why is it that I’m struggling?

Why is it I’m feeling depressed? Because we’re in an environment that is so, so difficult for us to be happy in.

[00:13:37] David Wood: I’m surprised we haven’t come across each other before, because we just, we seem so aligned in so many different ways. Um, three things I want to say to. Uh, you familiar with Tim Minchin?

[00:13:53] Monique Rhodes: I’ve heard the name actually just recently.

[00:13:56] David Wood: Well, I, I rec highly recommend you go and find his song Not Perfect. Um, I love Tim is a comedian with a real deep message, but he starts with, this is my earth. And. And then he goes to, this is my house and I live in it. And then he goes to this as my body and I live in it and this, and he goes to this as my brain and I live in it.

So you just, you might end up adopting it as a theme song for your work, but that’s one thing that came to mind. Another one and I’ll write these down. So I wouldn’t forget. That’s if you hear typing, I’m like, oh, getting stuff down. Oh yeah. I stopped watching the news 20 years ago. Um, and my friend, my friend is like, so she’s like, oh, did you hear about the bridge collapsing?

I’m like, no, but thanks to you. I now know that a bridge collapsed, you know? Thanks. Thanks for that info. Um, and the third thing I wanted to mention is, uh, I’m a huge Byron Katie fan, or my guess is you might be too. I am and she says, it’s so well, the worst thing that can happen to you as a thought. So I love this because I used to operate and I still do often as if the external world is real and that’s going to give me my happiness.

I need to do this. And I’ll be happy now. Yeah. Some of that is true, but ultimately everything comes through our mind. Through our filter and our whole matrix comes through this. So if we just change this, the whole world shifts. So yeah, you’re preaching to the choir here and I love it. Are there any other steps besides cleaning our minds, that we should leave list listeners with?

[00:15:41] Monique Rhodes: Look there’s, there’s no doubt David, that meditation is a superpower. And I want to explain why it is because I think that there’s a lot of people that don’t really understand what meditation is or why it works. And I’d love to explain it. So meditation isn’t about not having any thoughts. Okay. Also isn’t creative visualization, which sometimes it can be mistaken for basically meditation is this, I see you down.

I get you nice and quiet. We see after a few seconds that your mind is going to dance off somewhere and then we bring it back. And then your mind will dance off again. And then we bring it back. It’s a little bit like going to the gym and doing bicep curls, you know, we live a way go out and then we bring it back.

And that is where the muscle bill. The muscle that we’re building is teaching you, just so ever so gently and beautifully how to stay in the present moment. And that is so important because most of the time, our mind, without us realizing it is dancing off into thoughts of the past or dancing off into thoughts of the.

The past doesn’t exist anymore. And our memory of it is completely biased and subjected. So it’s just really a fantasy. The future hasn’t arrived yet. That two is equally a fantasy. And if I was to say to you, David, what is going to happen next Tuesday at this exact time, you could have a summation, but you probably have absolutely no accurate idea at all.

So it’s just make believe. The only time that is actually real is the prison moment. So if I can teach you to come more and more into the present moment, what then happens is, is a lot of stress and anxiety starts to dissolve because the mind then isn’t dancing often. These two fantasy worlds, which a cold the past and the future.

And we start to find. That the stress and anxiety starts to, to relieve. So this there’s another reason why meditation is really important as well is because it enables you to get to know yourself and living in a world. That’s so distracted. One of the other issues that we’ve got a people are so separated, not only from each other, but from themselves.

And if you can get to know yourself through a meditation practice, as well as learn how to bring your mind back to the present moment, it’s a game changer. And so, you know, I teach a course. It’s just 10 minutes a day, because I believe that that is the best place to begin. And you can stay 10 minutes a day for years if you want.

But to have a consistent short practice will make all the difference. Even 10 minutes a day is clinical and clinical trials is proved to make a huge difference in someone’s life. And then that practice. Starts to show up. And the rest of your day, you’re writing an email. You realize that you’re just writing the email, you’re having a conversation.

You start to realize you’re more present in the conversation. So definitely working with the minds for a meditation practice is something that I, I can’t recommend more highly and just find a teacher, you know, or program that you enjoy so that you keep coming back and using it.

[00:19:08] David Wood: Well, this is just what I needed to hear today, uh, I’ve been getting sick. I mean, you know, I’ve been dabbling in this for years, read the power of now and whatever my mind is so strong and it is constantly going off. And I know my path right now, again is let’s come back. Let’s come back to here. Eckert Toli says something. You never have the resources to meet some imagined challenge in the future.

It’s actually not physically possible because the future isn’t here, you cannot meet that challenge, but you always have what you need to meet. What’s here in the moment and I’ve caught myself guy, future future. Come back to the breath, future plan blame plan. Thank you. Back to the breath. So this is a wonderful reminder.

Speaking of this 10 minute course, I understand you may have a special offer for our listeners. Is it related to the course or something similar?

[00:20:13] Monique Rhodes: Listen, you can come and come to my website, Monique, just like my name and, you know, try out the 10 minute mind. That’s my meditation course. Try it for 10 days for free.

See, see if you like the style of what I teach. If you do. Come and learn with me, but the course that I’m most proud of, that I teach is called the happiness baseline. And it’s an eight week online course. It teaches you how to be happier. And I don’t say that lightly. We, we test people at the beginning with the Penn state university, happiness and Venturi, which is the standard test for testing.

People’s happiness. We test people at the end of the course as well. And I have a 100% success rate and shifting every single person that’s completed the course. So most online courses, you only get 3% of people complete them. I’ve done things a little bit differently because I want people to do this work.

I’m not doing it so that you won’t do it. So when. Uh, charging a fee. We put an accountability bond. We get you to put an accountability bond down, which is usually 500. If you put a $500 accountability bond down, you’ve got 10 weeks to complete. This eight week course takes about 15 minutes a day. At the end of the 10 weeks, we can be two weeks extra.

You can just send us an email, say I’ve completed the course. We check that you have. I want my money back. No questions asked you, get it back for your audiences. As a special gift, David will take 50% off that accountability bond. So it’s only $250. If you go into the code, when you’re applying for, and just put the word focus and if oh, C U S like David’s podcast, then, um, You can, you can get it for a special 50% discount.

And I just, I can just say to you, it’s it is an incredibly powerful course, and we’ll teach you around the eight different areas that I believe are game changes when it comes to raising the happiness levels. And the proof is in the pudding. We have so much success with that. We’ve got a number of. Brain Institute and takes us as doing a big study about this program at the moment, because it’s been so successful.

So come and try it. You’ve got nothing to lose. If you want to be happier, this teaches you everything, including how to get started on a daily meditation practice.

[00:22:43] David Wood: Fantastic. All right, you heard it here. Listeners, go to Monique Rhodes and that’s R H O D E S. Monique and you can do the 10 minute happiness course, uh, for free, right?

That’s one option.

[00:23:01] Monique Rhodes: You can do that. Yeah. You can do the 10 minute mind, which is the meditation course. Or the happiness baseline.

[00:23:08] David Wood: Yup. And then we’ve got the happiness baseline, which is the eight week course. And, uh, instead of paying a fee, you will pay an accountability bond, which will hold you accountable to completing the course when you can complete it.

You can ask for your money back, which is amazing. And here’s a tip from me. If you want extra accountability, don’t use the code focus, pay a $500 bond. Why would you pay a $250 accountability bond? If you intend to complete it, get extra accountability by paying 500, but Monique has kindly offered if. If you don’t trust yourself to complete it, you want to put $250 bond down.

You can use the word focus, and then that’s all you have to put down. I highly encourage you to go and take advantage of that. Monique, you’re a legend. I’m really glad we met at this point. I’m surprised it didn’t happen 20 years ago, and I look forward to more.

[00:24:04] Monique Rhodes: Thanks, David is so wonderful to be with you today.

[00:24:06] David Wood: You’ve been listening to Extraordinary Focus with David Wood. Now to achieve way more in less time, to double your business and your impact in the world and to be an even more extraordinary entrepreneur and human, make sure you get your gift basket. It includes a cheat sheets, double your focus, a short video to implement the steps and a free focus audit to identify the number one, focus leak in your business and how to plug it. To get all three of these goodies, just go to my focus If you’ve gotten value out of this episode, tell your friends and nothing says keep up the good work, David, like a review, which helps us climb in the rankings and reach more listeners.

Now let’s be extraordinary.


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