Neil Shah is a leading international expert on Stress Management and Wellbeing. An engaging and inspiring motivational speaker and success coach, he also has a long-standing interest in hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming and strategies to promote well-being, and has trained extensively in these fields. He is the author of the ‘NLP: A Practical Guide’ (Icon Books) and upcoming title ‘The 10-Step Stress Solutions’(Random House). Read more about him here.

Neil is in town for the StoryMoja Hay Festival where he’ll be speaking about the latest techniques to take control of one’s life & turning off stress triggers.

We had a few questions for him & this is what he had to say.

1. Is this your first time in Nairobi?  

No I have been here many times – my parents were born in Kenya and I have family here.  It is wonderful that after speaking all over the world I have an opportunity to talk to groups in my father’s birth land!

2. What are you hoping to learn in Kenya?    

I am hoping to learn how important it is to manage stress and to focus on personal development in a developing country.  Also I am hoping to learn how open people are to new and alternative strategies to achieving success in life.

3. What was your first phone?   

I was one of the first people in my neighbourhood to get a phone – I was 18 and it was a chunky brick like object.  I was student and didn’t need it at all.  I t was too huge to carry around and made me feel good, however I hardly even received and calls!

4. Who/What inspired you to write?    

I have had many inspirations – My life and my journey thus far and all the lessons that I have learnt have compelled me to write and share my story.

5. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?   

I don’t think I have yet had the realization!  I am a speaker who cannot possibly reach the millions of people whose lives I want to touch by speaking alone.  The books give me other ways to communicate my message with a large audience.

6. What is your writing routine?

Think, reflect, meditate and plan for months and then lock myself in a room and write furiously for a few weeks!

7. Have you ever had writer’s block? What did you do to overcome it?

Yes many times.  I usually take time to relax, go for walks or to nature to renergise and feel inspired.

 8. What’s your advice to writers (especially up & coming ones)? 

Buy Dragon – it is software that converts speech to text.  You can then just speak into your microphone and get the book written in half the time.  Also have a coach or someone who holds you accountable.  It makes a huge difference!

 9. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into?

A professional football player without a shadow of a doubt!  Seriously speaking I love what I do and I change lives for the better. I would do what I do for free and could never imagine myself doing anything else.

 10. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? 

So many choices.  It would have to be Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.  I would want to understand how they stayed so firm in their beliefs against such adversity.  Where did they find the strength, courage and conviction to stay so committed to their causes.  What can they share with me to help me on my life’s mission?

 11. What is the longest you have gone without a shower?

Longer than I would like to say – in my defence I was climbing Mount Everest and had no access to a shower!

 12. If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would i find?

Lots of vegetables, yoghurt, some fresh fish, maybe some chicken.  There would be juice and water and also a few bottles of beer (organic beer of course!).

 13. Of the all places you’ve been to, which one is the most beautiful? Why? 

There are many beautiful places in the world and it’s hard to pick just one as they have all moved me for different reasons.  The Himalayas was awesome as after a certain altitude you feel like you are no longer on earth.  All you see is rocks an ice.  No plants or vegetation of any kind.  It feels like the moon.  I recently went to Lamu which was incredible as I felt like I had gone back in time due to the lack of motorised transport and development.  Fiji was incredible too – that was where I proposed to my wife!

 14. What is your favourite book & movie?    

So many to choose from!  Lord of the Rings trilogy for movies, book would have to be The Journey of the Soul by Dr Michael Newton and Star Trek for TV series.

 15. What are you currently reading?       

I have three books on the go currently:

  • The Way of the peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman
  • The 7 Habits of highly effective people – Dr Steven Covey (reading for the 3rd Time)
  • Introducing NLP – Neil Shah (re-reading as I am doing so talks on the book and need to refresh myself on the content)

 16. If you were deserted on an abandoned island what 5 things would you want to have?    

  • My iphone
  • My wife
  • My kindle (loaded up with lots of great books)
  • My snorkeling/diving equipment
  • My fishing rod!

 17.  If you were a car, which one would you like to be? Why?

A Tesla Model S – its fast, sporty, practical, stylish and electric so environmentally friendly! No damage to our beautiful planet.

 18. From a very general perspective, how do you handle change? 

By being dynamic and flexible.  Never become complacent and set in your approach.  Encourage and seek change so it doesn’t take you by surprise.  The world is constantly changing around us – if you do not adapt you end up like the dinosaurs …… EXTINCT!

 19. If you had a superpower, what would you like it to be? 

To be able to whiz around the planet in reverse and turn back time like superman.  I would then educate people as to the errors in consuming our natural resources and destroying the planet to prevent us ending up where we are now!

20. What is the latest track you’ve downloaded on your iPod? 

The best of Radiohead (Creep being my favourite)

21. When was the last time you cried?  

Watching Marley and Me as it made me think of when my dog and best friend Bhim died a few years back.  I did shed a small tear when Manchester United lost the Champions league Final in May too!

22. Who should we follow on Twitter? 

Me of course! @neilkarma I have just got into twitter recently however am having loads of fun with it!