Quote Unquote: This Chief Happiness Officer Can Help You Find Your Happy Place

Born in San Francisco, raised in Taiwan, Alice Inoue has hosted Japanese TV shows, written books, been a feng shui expert, an astrologer and an ordained minister. Now she’s chief happiness officer at Happiness U, encouraging people to be their best selves. HONOLULU last caught up with her in 1999, when she hosted a Hawai‘i-based adventure show, described as one of the six best jobs in Hawai‘i.
Alice Inoue
Photo: David Croxford

BACK THEN I thought I had a great job. And now I have a better job. I truly do.


I WAS IN JAPAN and I saw Konishiki the sumo wrestler in a special on television in 1989. It showed him coming to Hawai‘i. I booked a ticket. 


I WAS LAYING on Waikīkī Beach. I felt so good here. I just loved it. At that moment, a newspaper blew by with a help-wanted ad in the classifieds: A real-estate company needs an assistant and wants someone bilingual. I got the job and moved to Hawai‘i.


I HELP PEOPLE by giving guidance to them and sharing about positive mindset. 


I DO about 60 percent corporate training, working with companies and coaching executives and individuals on being more positive and changing perspective. Nights and weekends is more working on Happiness U classes. 


THE REASON I work with companies is because we spend so much time at work. How you see things makes such a difference in how you think. When we worry about something, we spin worries into fears. 


I JUST WANT to teach people how to live life, how to live life happily.


IF SOMEONE doesn’t know how to say no, they say yes, they get overwhelmed all the time and then they’re just frazzled. So if you learn to say no, you can prevent all that.


Happiness is a skill. It’s a muscle you can change.


HAPPINESS IS living with the way life is. Understanding that there are challenges and there is support. 


HAPPINESS IS when you accept your life as it is and know that you can move to a better place. It’s not waking up and saying, oh my god, I’m so excited and life is so amazing, and I’m on a high.


IT’S BEING appreciative and filled with gratitude about life.


IN 2008, Harvard came out with studies on happiness: Changing your focus changes your reality. 


SOMETIMES WE focus on the wrong things.


EVERY SINGLE TIME you have a challenge, no matter what it is, you create a story on how you look at that. You will either see yourself as being lucky or unlucky: Saying, oh my god, this is the worst thing ever, or, it could have been worse. If you have a challenge and you consciously bring to mind how it could be specifically worse, your brain will re-pattern itself and the reality will be not as bad.


Check yourhappinessu.com to find a mix of classes and events at the new Happiness U Kaka‘ako location.