Gretchen Rubin is familiar to many because of her appearance on The Oprah Show. She's actually an attorney turned author of several books, the first of which was a bit of a parody on self help books. But her last book, The Happiness Project and her blog of the same name speaks to us for our purposes here. It's practical, it's doable for the most part and it's not the usual self help drivel we may be used to. The full title of her book exemplifies her blog: "The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun."
Agree? “The Best Kind of Laughter Is Laughter Born of a Shared Memory.””
“Playful arguments would become fits of uncontrollable laughter, and, like magic, that experience would be crystallized into a private joke, and the private joke would get boiled down to a simple phrase, which became a souvenir of the entire experience. For years to come, the phrase alone could uncork hours of renewed laughter. And as everyone knows, the best kind of laughter is laughter born of a shared memory.”
–Mindy Kalin, “Some Thoughts on Weddings,” Why Not Me?
How I love the work of Mindy Kaling! Everything she does.
Agree, disagree? There is something special about an inside joke.
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Fill in the Blank: “Our Life Is What Our __ Makes It.”
How would you fill in the blank: “Life is what our ____ makes it.”
In his Journal, Jules Renard wrote: “Life is what our character makes it. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell.”
I’d propose “Life is what our habits make it.” As I write about in Better Than Before, my book about habits, habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. About 40% of our existence is shaped by our habits — so if we have habits that work for us, we’re far more likely to be happier, healthier, and more productive.
Other possibilities? Education, relationships, self-knowledge…?
I’ve never read any other writings by Jules Renard, but this journal is extraordinary.
How would you fill in the blank?
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Do You Make This Huge Mistake, When Trying to Help Someone (or Yourself) to Change a Habit?
Recently, after I spoke about my personality framework, the Four Tendencies, a woman came up to me and said, “Because of your talk, I’m going to do something different.”
“What?” I asked, curious.
“My daughter plans to take the GRE. She keeps telling me, ‘Mom, I need to take a class.’ And I kept saying, ‘No, if you’re motivated to take the test, you should be able to buy a book and study from that.'”
When I heard that, I wanted to jump up and down and say, “No, no, NO! You’re making the classic mistake! You’re saying the dreaded ‘You should be able to…!’”
Fortunately, she continued, “After hearing your talk, I realize that she’s right. If she needs to take a class, she should take a class. She’s an Obliger, and she needs the accountability of a class.”
I was very relieved to hear that. I’ve found that one reliable sign that we’re about to make a big mistake, when we’re trying to help someone else (or ourselves) to change a habit, is to say “You should be able to.”
“If you want to exercise more, you should be able to get up an hour early and go to the ...
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- Feb 25, 2016 Be Selfless, If Only for Selfish Reasons. Be Selfish, If Only for Selfless Reasons.
- Feb 24, 2016 Podcast 53: Put the Word “Meditation” Before A Boring Task, Competitive Parenting, and Ideas for Organizing Recipes.
- Feb 23, 2016 21 Day Project Strategies for Habit Change
- Feb 20, 2016 Do You Love Personality Quizzes? These 10 Books Will Help You Understand Yourself.
- Feb 17, 2016 Podcast 52: Ask, “What Happens If I Ignore This?” a Conversation with Whole30’s Melissa Hartwig, and Elizabeth Talks Reality TV.
- Feb 15, 2016 In Your Life, Has a Sweet Thing Become Bitter, by Excess?
- Feb 14, 2016 A Favorite Valentine’s Day Tradition that I Can’t Observe This Year.
- Feb 10, 2016 Podcast 51: What to Do If You Can’t Remember a Name, Why We Should Plan to Fail, and Adult Coloring Books.
- Feb 06, 2016 Do You Have a Favorite Image for Falling Asleep?
- Feb 05, 2016 Frequently Asked Question: How Do I Read So Much?
- Feb 03, 2016 Podcast 50: Ask For a Favor, Cooperation vs. Competition, and I Struggle with My Daughter’s Ear-Piercing Request.
- Feb 01, 2016 Agree, Disagree? “Forming New Habits Can Actually Be Fun.”
- Jan 31, 2016 Revealed! Book Club Choices for February. Happy Reading!
- Jan 29, 2016 Always Late? 9 Tips for Overcoming Chronic Lateness.
- Jan 27, 2016 Podcast 49: Live from San Francisco! Travel without Tears, the Challenge of Public Speaking, and Special Guests.
- Jan 25, 2016 Why Doing a Live Show for Our Podcast Made Elizabeth and Me Happier
- Jan 24, 2016 Do You Ever Get a Huge Pleasure Just From Looking at a Particular Object? What?
- Jan 20, 2016 Podcast 48: Create a Temporary Photo Gallery, and Do You Suffer from the Sunday Blues?
- Jan 18, 2016 Lonely? 5 Habits to Consider to Combat Loneliness.
- Jan 15, 2016 Why Joining a Habits Group Can Help You Change Your Habits — and How to Start One.
- Jan 14, 2016 Have You Read Alan Rickman’s Wonderful Thank-You Note to J. K. Rowling?
- Jan 13, 2016 Podcast 47: Control Your Exit, Keep Things Convenient–and Elizabeth Misses Out on a Romantic Moment.
- Jan 12, 2016 Secrets of Adulthood: You Know as Much as Most People.
- Jan 11, 2016 Today Is the One-Year Anniversary of the Happiest Day of My Life. Here’s Why.
- Jan 08, 2016 Sorry, I’m Late! Book Club Choices for January. I Forgot!