I am reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin with a friend.
This book changed my life a couple years ago. About 2008, I started following Gretchen’s blog about happiness. It later turned into her Best Selling Book. I even met Gretchen at a book signing here in Pasadena.
It’s interesting to read again. I remember the issues that I was going through, when I first read it. Now, a couple years down the road, it’s just as applicable now. It’s satisfying to see my development in some areas. Some spots really resonated with me. Under my wife’s internet shyness, my comments will be sometimes guarded, but there are just so much profound change and deep insight, I have to share a glimpse of my Happiness Project.
Below are my random thoughts about the Book. Stuff in “quotes” are from the Book.
Chapter 1 “Boost Energy”
“Take it or Leave It”: You gotta learn what you can and then move on. Leave the irrelevant stuff behind. Main point is to not stop in your tracks and think about it and get stuck there. Deal with it quickly and move on.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Pursuit of Happiness. It’s in the Declaration of Independence. It’s what we Americans live for. It’s ok to pursue happiness. This Happiness Project can feel selfish at times. Is it all about me? Well, yes and no. It will definitely benefit all those in your life, especially those close you. When I’m happy, the rest of my family has a happy dad and that’s a good thing for them.
Happiness is a decision. It’s a viewpoint. I decided in 2008, I’m gonna be happy, starting now. I’m done being cynical. I’m done being sarcastic. I’m done being sad and frustrated and jealous and lonely. I’m turning the page in my life. Just because I say so. Many of my college friends had floated away. I was looking for friends, feeling lonely.
Opposite of happiness is simply unhappiness. It’s not depression. At that time, I was not depressed, I was unhappy. Now, I’m happy, because I decided to be. At first, that sounds ridiculous. But, after you try it, it’s very true. You can stay in your cynicism, or you can turn corner and be happy. Keep turning the corner. Keep turning the corner.
I have terrible short term memory and selective long term memory. I bless the Lord for that. Now, I focus solely on remembering the good times, and the good in people, and good in the past.
“Go to Sleep Earlier”. Amen. Lifechanger. Corollary is to Get up Earlier. Stop rushing around in the morning. Just get up earlier and leave time and space to have a pleasant start to the day. If it means going to bed earlier, that’s ok too. This kids, it’s easy. Put them to bed and put myself to bed.
“Exercise Better”. This is an easy one for me, now. In 2008, it was my friend Marvin that got me off the couch. Since then, my addictive personality has latched onto triathlete lifestyle. I can exercise everyday, non-stop without complaint. I love swimming, biking, and for running, well…. i can enjoy the awesome feeling afterwards, the ‘during’ feeling is not so awesome for me.
“Toss, Organize, Restore”. This is an easy one for me too. We keep a tight ship at home. Everything has it’s place and goes there right now. There’s a process for everything to go back to its place. That place may be the trash. We cull our closets on a regular basis. For growing kids, it’s very practical to move the clothes down the road.
Journal. I took this one personally too. I started a journal for different stuff. I have one for all work stuff, daily notes. Remember my terrible memory. If I don’t write it down or email it, then it didn’t happen. I have a journal for personal life, including personal finances. Particularly helpful for recording on-going issues. Every time I call the bank, I write the date, time, name and results of the call. So, that next time, I can refer to all the things that didn’t get done by the bank. I write personal notes in a Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal. It records a happy thought for every day. It’s designed for 5 years. I started September 11, 2012 and haven’t missed too many days. Some days are left blank on purpose. Goes back to the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”
“Take time to learn and grow”. This blog is my time to reflect on all the stuff I’m learning. I started this Blog January 2014. Sometimes this blog is complete narrative about the facts of what’s going on in my life. But, when I have time to sit back and think, I enjoy adding some commentary and insights into life and learning.
“One Minute Rule”. This is great. Helpful to do minor tasks quickly. Neat freaks like me enjoy the simple pleasures of a made bed and a clean counter.
“Complete a nagging task”. This one makes me feel heroic. I can cross off an item off the BIG IMPORTANT list. Usually, it’s on that list because there’s so much other baggage and history to dig through to actually deal with the problem.
“Act more energetic”. This one is true for me when I return home from a big bike ride. I want to be present at home. If I take a nap, that’s not a good message for my family.
Gosh, I love LOVE this book.
End of Chapter One.
If any of this sounds good to you, you should try flipping through the book. You’ll probably really like it.