Manchester-based jack of all trades Karl Moore has been fascinated by the practice of personal development since he was a teenager.
“It’s all crazy interesting to me, what makes me jump out of bed in the morning. It’s that journey to know oneself, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, and how we might change that narrative.”
Karl is an entrepreneur who works in the world of technology, science, and psychology. His bragging rights include six best selling books on everything from computer programming to wellbeing, experience as a former forensic scientist, being a featured teacher in three movies, and founding two publishing companies, the latest of which is Inspire3, home to scientifically-backed personal development tools.
Inspire3 boasts a prolific array of programs in fields such as brainwave entrainment, hypnotherapy, meditation, neuro-linguistic programming, and more.
“The key is that these tools have been independently proven to create some form of strong lasting change to help people get unstuck, or become happier, or whatever the goal is for them.”
In true neoclassical fashion, Karl weaves science, philosophy, and technology together to create a blueprint for his own life. “I'm definitely not a guru. I don't want to be that for anyone. I think that we're all our own internal guru, we're the guru that we should follow.
It's up to us to look inside to find those answers.
” Karl personally finds those answers in the millenia-old wisdom of the Hellenistic Stoics. “It really goes in with that “everything's fine” idea, because they developed this concept that we now call the dichotomy of control. And it's this idea that you only ever have control over your own conscious thoughts and actions, and everything else is outside your control. So whether you get a promotion at work, or other people's annoying habits, or how other people see you, or the global economy, or your wealth, or your health, or death itself, really–you can attempt to influence each of those things. But you can't truly control them. The only things in life that you directly control are your conscious thoughts and actions. And that was one of the core tenets of the Stoics.”
Many self-help seekers may take umbrage with this line of thinking, especially as concepts such as the Law of Attraction give rise to the idea that yes, thoughts really can control outside events.
Karl describes the Law of Attraction as a three-step process: ask, believe, receive.
“As a science person, I’m not always keen on the word ‘believe.’
I tend to like concepts that can be proven and repeated with success.
The focus of one of our projects, Manifesting.com, was figuring out precisely what was going on science-wise when people were using the Law of Attraction successfully. What we found was that they were activating certain neural processes that were triggering a series of events which brought about their ultimate success. So they were using focus, for example, to trigger the reticular activating system, which is like the brain's spam filter.
They were getting all excited, and that activated the amygdala, the mental highlighter, which tells your brain what's important and what's not. And they were using special techniques to dissolve negative thinking patterns, and gratitude to ignite the hypothalamus.
They were taking inspired action, creating this kind of positive feedback loop, which was reinforcing those happy neural pathways.” Such as many critics of the Law of Attraction, Karl says it has the potential to work–if you do.
Gratitude and the power of “yes” are devices Karl lauds to effect positive change within one’s own control, and to create a happier life now rather than striving toward a hypothetical ideal. Years ago, Karl wrote a book called “The 18 Rules of Happiness,” which he says was “really just a series of Post-It notes for myself, just to remind myself what happiness is.”
He says, “happiness is the driving force behind everything. It's behind every thought that we have, behind every decision that we make, behind every action that we take–everything we do, ultimately, is designed to move us closer toward happiness and further away from pain. And I don't think that most of us really ever take time to sit down and actually think about what actually truly makes us happy, and how we might want to increase that happiness. So that's why I wrote that book.”
Happiness shouldn’t be hard-won. Karl says, “one quick, easy secret is to be more grateful.” Gratitude has gained traction in the self-development and meditation community, and is a key component of depression therapy. Saying “yes” more means to make an active decision to move with the current of life rather than against it. “So saying yes to a party invitation, saying yes to emotions, saying yes to adventure, saying yes to problems, saying yes to the positive as well as the negative.
And so the idea was to say yes more to everything, to open yourself up to life, and allow all of the ups and downs to be welcomed, so that you're living in this constant state of flow and adventure just by saying ‘yes’ more, having a bias for ‘yes.’”
A YouTube video Karl created explaining this concept went viral and led to the Brit appearing on the biggest advertising slot in American television–the Superbowl.
“It was a bit of a surreal experience, to be honest with you. I had no idea what the Superbowl is, you know, or that it's even a big thing. It went out at this peak ad spot. Then the ad started playing internationally, all over the world. I got emails from people that I hadn't heard from in years, saying, ‘Oh, Karl, I was just making a cup of tea and I saw this guy on the telly that looked a bit like you.’ It was all good fun.”
Karl looks at the phrase ‘money can’t buy happiness’ with incredible nuance. “The research shows that money does make you happier. But once you get beyond the comfortable level, it really doesn't change anything to any significant degree. The more money you make, the more likely you are to step on that hedonic treadmill of wanting to get the next thing, for the next thrill, for the next upgrade–but do you really need to upgrade your iPhone to the latest version, in order to keep up with the Joneses?”
Karl sympathizes with the ever-persistent need to improve oneself, and praises those who seek to do it from the inside out. “To anyone reading this who's on their own personal development journey, or working on self improvement, I really just wanna say ‘huge kudos to you.’ You've got my highest respect because it is a true journey, a real journey: the journey inside oneself. And I really think it pays off. It's incredible. So, big respect to you.”
When asked for one true secret to happiness, Karl said,
“now is the time to stop being a seeker and to start being a finder. Maybe you don't actually need any secrets. Perhaps we're just overthinking this whole thing, and you can just decide to be happy in this moment right now. Maybe that's just as simple as it is–maybe you're not broken. Maybe you don't need to be healed. Maybe you don't have to keep searching for solutions and answers because maybe, just maybe, everything is perfect as it is in exactly the weird and wacky and messed-up way that things are right now. And maybe that's almost the secret.”
He advises to “focus on what you can control, accept the things that you can't, try to influence them if you wish, and maybe: be grateful. And if you can, keep saying ‘yes’ more to everything. You can be happy right now in this crazy world, just as it is, with all the madness and weirdness and things that are going on. To get philosophical, this moment is all there ever really is. So I think that'd be my take-home secret.”
Seizing each and every moment, Karl is constantly creating. About Inspire3.com, Karl says 'I’m really just the junior here. I bring together the experts, and I hope to stick together the different bits to create tools that can make some real change in people's lives.
Right now, I'm working on one program designed to help in the healing of childhood trauma, which we all have to one degree or another, even if we don't internally classify it as trauma. I am also working on a research project where we're attempting to bring together a half-dozen different healing modalities into a single format to create a therapy program that brings about rapid, lasting inner change.”
Upon completing this interview, Karl practices what he preaches, saying,
‘I'm truly grateful. It's been a true joy.”
Karl’s happiness is infectious, and all who enter Inspire3.com will find an exploratory playground of tools to improve their lives.