Hi everyone! Happy Monday to you all! I decided to start off December on the right foot, by actually getting to a post on a Monday (it hasn’t happened since October, crazy!). I’m doing something a little out of the ordinary today though…
I really enjoyed this book. A lot.
For those of you who haven’t read it, the basic premise is this: the author, Gretchen Rubin, decides to embark on a Happiness Project for one year. She wants to see if small changes to her routine can “increase” her happiness.
She’s what I would consider to be an average American. She lives and works in NYC, and is married with two little girls. She seems to be fairly well off (at least, compared to me) and for all intents and purposes, should be happy.
But the trials and tribulations of daily life can drag anyone down from time to time. Those days when you just don’t feel like doing the dishes, you’d really rather not go for a nice long run, and you just want to be left alone. When nothing “big” is wrong in your life, why is it still sometimes difficult to just be happy?
Well, Gretchen decided to find out. And here’s what I thought.
Firstly, I loved the author’s style of writing. She writes the way I think: clear, concise, logical, and to the point. I didn’t read a paragraph, then think “wait, is there some hidden context there?” and have to re-read. Whenever I didn’t understand some philosophical mumbo jumbo, she’d explain it with a very simple example. Then I’d be like “oh, that’s what that means.” It was great.
Secondly, I loved her approach to finding happiness. It was methodical and logical. She followed commandments, made resolutions, and tracked her progress. She had twelve commandments in all—my favorites were “Do it now”, “Enjoy the process”, and “Identify the problem.”
Here’s an example for “Identify the problem.”
“Question: Why don’t I ever hang up my coat?
Answer: I don’t like fussing with hangers.
Solution: So use the hook on the inside of the door!”
I bought a hook at Target this weekend to solve this problem for myself.
Gretchen also shares her “Secrets of Adulthood.” My favorites were; “People don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think” and “It’s okay to ask for help.” Boy did I need to read those!
Lastly, I genuinely felt like I was meant to read this book at this time in my life. It sounds extremely cliché and cheesy (and I’ll explain more in a later post probably) but I’ve been grappling with some rather important life decisions lately. And this book was something I needed to read.
It even begins with this line: “Whenever you read this, and wherever you are, you are in the right place to begin.”
I don’t want to drag this review on for too long, since I’m sure many of you haven’t read the book. Instead, I’ll conclude with my 10 favorite excerpts that really spoke to me.
- “I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously—and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition.”
- “Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact we often feel because of the way we act.”
- “’Feeling right’ was a trickier concept: it was the feeling that I’m living the life I’m supposed to lead.”
- “Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.”
- “This is one of the many paradoxes of happiness: we seek to control our lives, but the unfamiliar and the unexpected are important sources of happiness.”
- “Experts say that denying bad feelings intensifies them; acknowledging bad feelings allows good feelings to return.”
- “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” –Voltaire
- “What would I do if I weren’t scared?”
- “Gratitude brings freedom from envy, because when you’re grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more.”
- “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”
I’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of my weekend, it was a great one!
Question of the day: What’s your favorite novel? If you can’t pick just one, name a few
Some of my favorites: Harry Potter, Water for Elephants, and The Help!