Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Happiness Project

Have you read 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. by Gretchen Rubin? I have and I liked it very much.

It took me about three months on the Winnipeg Public Library waiting list to get my hands on this book and it was worth the wait (I've been on a reading binge lately). In a nutshell, the author looks to boost her happiness quota by doing some soul searching, researching theories of happiness, developing personal resolutions to test some theories and increase her own happiness. Some other results are Gretchen's own Twelve Personal Commandments (listed below) and Four Splendid Truths (I'll let you check out the book for yourself).

Gretchen Rubin's 12 Personal Commandments
  • Be Gretchen.
  • Let it go.
  • Act the way I want to feel.
  • Do it now.
  • Be polite and be fair.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Spend out.
  • Identify the problem.
  • Lighten up.
  • Do what ought to be done.
  • No calculation.
  • There is only love.
Why I like this book:
  • I want to be as happy as possible too and I like the intriguing title
  • Gretchen is married and has two children
  • She's done a ton of research into happiness theory and incorporates and tests the theories the throughout the book (aka: the background research is done...but I have a list of resources I could investigate for myself, if/when I want to - and there is a comprehensive reading list at the back of the book)
  • There are funny moments throughout the book
  • Gretchen is really honest about how she feels about life in general (it's not always easy being a woman/mom/wife - especially when you want to be the best person you can be...because we care, right?)
  • She's developed a corresponding website where you can start your own Happiness Project with the same tools she's developed - for Free (not all authors are so generous)
  • I feel Gretchen makes no apologies for being less than perfect
  • I like and appreciate the fact that she's willing to report on what didn't work for her
  • This book has opened a door of self reflection for me where I feel no pressure...only possibilities.
I would suggest checking out the book before the website. In my opinion there's nothing holding a book, turning the pages and eventually finishing it (an accomplishment in itself sometimes). 

I've bought/read/sought out a lot of books on personal development but this one is by far my favorite. It goes beyond what most of the other books did because I've felt encouraged and inspired to think about what it means to be happy (for me) and how I can take action instead of waiting for happiness to show up on my front door one day.

P.S. Yes, I am very happy and grateful for my life (maybe not ever second of every day) - but why not shoot for more of a good thing? Let me know if you read the book and what you think of it. 

"Happiness is not about what happens to you, but how you choose to respond to what happens. That's why it's called happiness not happenness—though it could be called hope-ness. You must always leave room for hope that all has happened for good cause." How to Be Happy, Dammit: A Cynic's Guide to Spiritual Happiness, by Karen Salmansohn.

1 comment:

  1. I very much enjoyed this book. It puts a practical spin on creating your own happiness and being in charge of how happy you are when you find that things are not in your control.


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