Nick’s good fortune in the field of well-being

I’m so glad to earn my living as a Well-Being Psychologist who champions the all-round development of whole lives: mind & body, relationships & soul. I was lucky enough to gain my PhD in Life-Development Psychology from Cambridge University, where for eight years I then served as the UK’s first Lecturer in both Positive Psychology and The Science of Well-being.

It was a blessing that my Cambridge PhD examiner back in 1999, was the wise & compassionate George E. Vaillant, the Harvard Medical School Professor of Psychiatry. For more than 40 years, George was the Director of The Harvard Study of Adult Development, which has carefully tracked several hundred individual lives over 70 years, so as to understand what helps and what hinders ‘a life going well’.

It was a pleasure to write 100 weekly columns for The Times newspaper as ‘Dr FeelGood on The Science of Happiness’, as it was to author The Rough Guide to Happiness : simple steps to all-round well-being (Rough Guides/Penguin Books); and it was quite an education to co-organise the first ever three-day Royal Society conference in this field and accompanying book on the subject, with a chapter by Professor Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Laureate psychologist.

As a graduate of The National Film & Television School, and the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, I was grateful to be sponsored by Working Title Films and Channel 4 TV to be the creative-writing tutor in Feltham High-Security Young Offenders’ Prison (the largest in Europe). Here, in 1998, I raised £150,000 as the volunteer founding-director of the ‘inmate mentorship programme’ (now thriving at Aylesbury prison with General Lord David Ramsbotham as its patron).

For my project, I was privileged to interview-at-length some of the most accomplished young adults of their generation, (dancers, artists, commandos, scholars), and also dozens of stars in many walks of life: BBC’s Kate Adie, writers Bill Bryson and Nick Hornby, former England football captain Gary Lineker, SAS General Sir Peter de la Billiere, master-chef Jamie Oliver, and entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox.

I simply asked “What helped you make progress and enjoy the journey?”

As a therapist & performance-coach, I still thoroughly enjoy working one-to-one with individuals in all walks of life: from undergraduates to educators, and from entrepreneurs to airline captains.

Since being invited by Dr Anthony Seldon to help with his well-being initiatives at Wellington College in 2006, I’ve gladly presented at all of the UK’s major Head-Teacher conferences and given more than two hundred half-day training-workshops at leading schools, healthcare organisations and commercial businesses in Europe and Scandinavia. Along the road, I’ve become a Chartered Psychologist, a Senior Associate of The Royal Society of Medicine, and a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.

Living in leafy Cambridge for 20 years, I play football, sing, dance enthusiastically to swing, jazz & tango, and hike with dear friends.

Thank you so much for reading.