When thinking about the goals we want to achieve in life, a large portion of the population will nominate happiness as one of their ultimate conquests.
The answer is different for every single person.
But what is it that makes you happy?
But in a quest to discover what it is that makes people happy, one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of human nature – Gretchen Rubin – decided to dedicate a year to uncovering the answer.
The result is her book, The Happiness Project, and it has become much more than a worldwide best-seller. It is a movement.
People around the globe are resonating with Gretchen’s eloquent mix of cutting-edge science, the wisdom of the ages, lessons from popular culture, and her own experiences in the book and her ultimate exploration into how
people can make their lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.
Happiness Project groups are springing up everywhere, allowing people to discuss what it is that makes them happy and it has prompted people to dedicate space and time to uncovering what it is that makes them truly happy.
Gretchen’s journey saw her try a number of different strategies to test the myths of what creates happiness and she examined the results with an open, scientific mind.
She tested out everything from singing every morning, to cleaning out her closets, reading Aristotle and “generally having more fun” as her book cover declares.
The success of The Happiness Project and her other New York Times bestsellers, The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before and Happier at Home, has seen her sit on the couch across from Oprah for interviews on OWN, eat dinner with 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and walk arm-
in-arm with the Dalai Lama.
Her work has featured in a medical journal and The Happiness Project also became the answer to a question on the game show Jeopardy.
When most people think of what makes them happy, the usual answers fall to love, money, family and fulfillment, but in her blog “11 Happiness Paradoxes to Contemplate as You Think About Your Happiness Project,” Gretchen reveals that “often, the search for happiness means embracing both sides of the paradox.”
Her paradoxes include:
myself, but expect more of myself.
myselfless seriously—and take myselfmore seriously.
- Push myself to use my time efficiently, yet also make time to play, to wander, to read at whim, to fail.
- Strive to be emotionally self-sufficient so I can connect better with other people.
- Keep an empty shelf and keep a junk drawer.
- Think about myself so I can forget myself.
- Control and mastery are key elements of happiness
; andso are novelty and challenge.
- Work can be play, and play can be work.
- The days are long, but the years are short.
- Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy.
- Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.
- Spend out, to become rich.
So don’t wait until the New Year is upon us to start thinking about what will make you happy in the 12 months ahead.
Start now and aim for sustainable happiness by peeling off the layers of the metaphorical onion to discover the true meaning of happiness for you.
Gretchen has taken a huge chunk of the guess work out of this quest for you and a quick read of her book might give you some great insights into what might work for you. Or, you could seize the day and embark on your own happiness project –you might be pleasantly surprised where it might take you…
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