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  • feedwordpress 17:02:52 on 2017/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: , fortune, , , ,   

    A Little Happier: Good Luck, Bad Luck — How Do You Know? 

    As I’ve often mentioned, I love all teaching stories, koans, parables, aphorisms, maxims, epigrams, proverbs, and the like.

    This story is one of my mother’s favorite teaching stories.

    A farmer had a horse, and the horse ran away, and the neighbors said, “What bad luck!” And the farmer said, “How do you know?”

    And then the horse returned, with a second horse, and the neighbors said, “What good luck!” And the farmer said, “How do you know?”

    And so on.

    This is a powerful story, because it really is true. Many times, in my life, I’ve seen that what I thought was great luck, or terrible luck, didn’t turn out that way at all.

    Have you experienced this?

    Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Good Luck, Bad Luck — How Do You Know? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:55:53 on 2017/02/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , Johannes Itten, , , , ,   

    How Do We See the Living Soul of the World? Through Color. 

    “Light, that first phenomenon of the world, reveals to us the spirit and living soul of the world through colors.”

    –Johannes Itten, The Elements of Color

    My color obsession continues! What a beautiful, fascinating subject. I just finished a book about green–that’s right, a whole book about green. I recently finished a book about black. Next up, blue.

    Do you have a signature color? I was vexed by my inability to commit, but I’ve realized that the color wheel is my signature colorscape.

    The post How Do We See the Living Soul of the World? Through Color. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:49:20 on 2017/02/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , musical, Oklahoma, , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: A Happiness Lesson from the Broadway Show “Oklahoma!” 

    I often get my “America feeling” — whenever I vote, or serve on a jury (twice), when I see the Statue of Liberty, when I watch Schoolhouse Rock (yes, I’m dating myself with my love of Schoolhouse Rock). The America feeling is a happy, intense, transcendent feeling.

    I remember that I felt it very vividly one day when the song “The Farmer and the Cowman” from my daughter Eliza started playing music from her playlist, which included, of all things, the song “The Farmer and the Cowman” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma!

    Yes, the song is dated, and it trades in cliches. Nevertheless, I love it, and the America feeling hits me hard, especially at the end.

    Andrew Carnes:
    The farmer and the cowman should be friends,
    Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
    One man likes to push a plough, the other likes to chase a cow,
    But that’s no reason why they cain’t be friends.

     

    All:
    Territory folks should stick together,
    Territory folks should all be pals.
    Cowboys dance with farmer’s daughters,
    Farmers dance with the ranchers’ gals.

     

    Aunt Eller:
    I’d like to teach you all a little sayin’
    And learn the words by heart the way you should
    I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else,
    But I’ll be danged if I ain’t jist as good!

    If you’d like to watch the clip from the movie, here’s the whole song:

    Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

    Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: A Happiness Lesson from the Broadway Show “Oklahoma!” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:08:55 on 2017/02/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Current Affairs, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 104: Have a “Life Story Conversation,” Ideas for Travel Beasts, and Dealing with the Emotional Toll of the News. 

    It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    We’re coming up on our second anniversary of the show! To celebrate, we want to do an episode of highlihts from the previous year. So if you have a favorite try-this-at-home, a great before-and-after story of something you tried, a favorite funny moment, let us know. Email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com or call 77-HAPPY-336.

    Try This at Home: Have a “life story conversation.” If you want to listen to the episode of The Onward Project podcast Radical Candor where they discuss this idea, check out episode 5.

    Happiness Hack: Mary suggests, “When clothes are in bad shape, so that I can’t give them away, I pack them, and wear them one last time on the trip, and then leave them behind.” This is an especially great tip for under-buyers.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: The news. So many people have emailed and called to say, “How do I manage the emotional toll of the news?” It’s a big question.

    Elizabeth mentions Sarah’s Facebook group: #OurFirst100Days.

    Demerit: Elizabeth’s battle with the game Candy Crush continues. Have you tried unsuccessfully to delete a soul-destroying app?

    Gold Star: How I love the New York City subway system, especially the new stops on the Q line.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

    Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 104: Have a “Life Story Conversation,” Ideas for Travel Beasts, and Dealing with the Emotional Toll of the News. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:41:52 on 2017/02/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , ,   

    A Little Happier: “Yes” Comes Right Away; “No” Never Comes. 

    For years, I’ve been calling my sister Elizabeth “my sister the sage,” and I often quote her wise words — on my blog, in my books, and in the podcast we host together.

    She often says, “Oh, I’m not such a sage” — but really, she is. She says such wise, memorable things. I run around after her, and write them down.

    One of the most helpful observations she’s made to me is “‘Yes’ comes right away; ‘no’ never comes.”

    I have found this to be so, so true.

    She made this remark about getting news about whether a project would move forward at work — and I’ve quoted her line in a work context.

    But I also find it applies in my personal life. And when I’m waiting impatiently for an answer, and there’s no answer, no answer, no answer…I remember, “‘Yes’ comes right away; ‘no’ never comes.” Not always, certainly, but often.

    Have you noticed this? Agree, disagree?

    Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

    Check out Yogi Tea. When it comes to enjoying life, little moments — like drinking a delicious cup of tea — can make a big difference.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: “Yes” Comes Right Away; “No” Never Comes. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 23:43:03 on 2017/02/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   

    How Agatha Christie’s “Kittens” Game Helped Prepare Her to Write Her Famous Mysteries. 

    When people ask about career change, or also, how to get more fun in life, I often find myself telling people: “What you did as a child is probably something you’d enjoy as an adult, for work and for play.”

    I’m fascinated by how a person’s play as a child can prefigure their adult life. For instance, a friend who played with her three dollhouses well into her teens is now an interior designer.

    I was reminded of this when I read Agatha Christie’s fascinating Autobiography.

    In recalling her childhood days, Christie noted of her nurse that “Perhaps because she was an old woman and rheumatic, my games were played around and beside, but not wholly with, Nursie. They were all make-believe.”

    Christie would sit near her nurse,  and play games with “The Kittens.”

    “Nursie was too wise ever to talk to me about them, or to try to join in the murmurings of conversation going on round her feet. Probably she was thankful that I could amuse myself so easily.”

    Many years later, while Christie was recovering from the flu, her mother suggested that she might try writing a story.

    Christie got the idea to write a detective story when she was working in a medical dispensary. She started to think about how the murder would be committed, and by whom, and why.

    As the story started to take shape, she began to form her characters, and then, she recounts, “I took all three [characters] off the tram with me to work upon–and walked up Barton Road muttering to myself just as in the days of the Kittens.”

    Much later in the book, reflecting on the process of writing, she says, “Oh well, I suppose it is just the same as when I was four years old talking to the kittens. I am still talking to the kittens, in fact.”

    For me, this story has three lessons:

    1. We never know what’s a “waste of time,” for ourselves or for other people.
    2. What we did as a child is probably something we’d enjoy as an adult, for work or play.
    3. People do best what comes naturally.

    Do you agree with some or all of these conclusions?

    The post How Agatha Christie’s “Kittens” Game Helped Prepare Her to Write Her Famous Mysteries. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:26:51 on 2017/02/01 Permalink
    Tags: , mugs, , , , tasks, , , , , ,   

    Podcast 102: Tame the “Travel Beast,” Find the Missing Puzzle Piece, and a Clever Solution to Dirty Mugs in the Office Sink. 

    It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

    It’s hard to believe — we’re coming up on our second anniversary of the show! To celebrate, just as we did for our first anniversary show, we want to do an episode of highlights from the previous year. So if you have a favorite try-this-at-home, a great before-and-after story of something you tried, a favorite funny moment, let us know. Email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com or call 77-HAPPY-336.

    Try This at Home: Find the missing puzzle piece from your life — the missing tool, item, or activity that’s missing.

    Happiness Hack: In episode 95, we talked about how shared spaces can tend to get messy. Our listener Hannah recounted how her boss gave everyone in the office a personalized mug, so it was obvious who was (or wasn’t) taking care of their mugs.

    Happiness Stumbling Block: Both of us turn into the “travel beast” — we get cranky, we panic that we’ve lost something, we hurry everyone along. If you have solutions to offer, please let us know.

    Listener Question: Heather asks, “How do you stop Obliger-rebellion?” If you don’t know whether you’re an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel, take the quiz here. My book The Four Tendencies comes out in September — don’t worry, that’s not the real cover.

    Demerit: Elizabeth is procrastinating about moving her clothes back into her newly renovated closet.

    Gold Star: While in Havana, I stayed out late! Probably, most people wouldn’t give themselves a gold star for staying out until 2:00 a.m. at a bar, but for me, that’s gold-star territory.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 25% off window treatments and a free in-home design consultation.

    And check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 102: Tame the “Travel Beast,” Find the Missing Puzzle Piece, and a Clever Solution to Dirty Mugs in the Office Sink. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:30:47 on 2017/01/31 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , design, , , , , principles, , , ,   

    Revealed! February Book Club: Keys to Good Design, a Personality Quiz, and High Fantasy. 

    Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

    — one outstanding book about happiness or habits

    — one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit

    — one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

    Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

    For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.

    Bonus book this month: with Shea Olsen, my sister Elizabeth Craft has a new young-adult novel, Flower. The tag line? “She had a plan, then she met him.” Romance, temptation, secrets, college applications, celebrity...Check it out.

    Now, for the three book-club choices. Drumroll…

    A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

     

    The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People by Elizabeth Wagele

    On episode 99 of the Happier podcast, my sister Elizabeth and I discussed the “Try This at Home” of taking personality quizzes. The Enneagram isn’t a scientific way to understand personality, but many people find it to be an illuminating framework. To my mind, that’s the chief benefit of a personality quiz: whether it helps us glimpse into our own nature. Sometimes it’s hard to look directly in the mirror, and something like a personality quiz can help us see ourselves indirectly.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An outstanding children’s book:

    The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

    I was astonished to realize that I’ve never suggested the Tolkien books as my kidlit choice (though arguably they aren’t children’s books). These are towering classics of world literature. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first in a trilogy called “The Lord of the Rings,” and while The Hobbit isn’t part of the official trilogy, and is very different in tone, it’s quite related to the high fantasy epic that unfolds. These books are unlike anything else. Read the books even if you’ve seen the movies; as always, movies can’t capture so much that’s wonderful about books. For instance, one of my favorite characters, Tom Bombadil, doesn’t appear in the movies.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    An eccentric pick:

    The Pocket Universal Principles of Design: 150 Essential Tools for Architects, Artists, Designers, Developers, Engineers, Inventors, and Makers by William Lidwell.

    This is an absorbing, fascinating, accessible book. Each page has a very succinct description of a design principle, with a fascinating example on the facing page. I loved reading this book because it made me realize why certain designs in the world around me worked well — or didn’t work. It’s so fun to know about design principles like “Back-of-the-Dresser,” “Defensible Space,” “Figure-Ground,” and the “Dunning-Kruger Effect.” These may sound dry, but they’re fascinating.

    Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

     

    If you want to make sure you never miss a month’s selections, sign up here for the book club newsletter.

    Remember, if you want to see what I read each week, I post a photo of my pile of completed books on my Facebook Page every Sunday night, #GretchenRubinReads.

    I just went to the library a few days ago — my reading stack is huge. What book are you most excited to read next?

    The post Revealed! February Book Club: Keys to Good Design, a Personality Quiz, and High Fantasy. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:57:50 on 2017/01/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , , True Rules   

    A Little Happier: “No Deposit, No Return.” Agree, Disagree? 

    I’m always looking for universal truths. And what I’ve found is that there are very few universal truths — not many things are true for everyone, all the time.

    But one such iron law does seem to be: No deposit, no return.

    We never get out of things more than we put into them.

    Listen to this mini-podcast episode by clicking PLAY below.

     

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: “No Deposit, No Return.” Agree, Disagree? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 12:28:46 on 2017/01/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , speech, , ,   

    One of My Cures for Feeling Anxious? Think about My Favorite Churchill Quotations. 

    One of my most useful resolutions is to “Find an area of refuge.”

    We all suffer from negativity bias, that is, we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good.

    Research shows one consequence of negativity bias is that when people’s thoughts wander, they tend to begin to brood. Anxious or angry thoughts capture our attention more effectively than happier thoughts.

    And of course, we often have many difficult, upsetting, or worrying matters weighing on our minds.

    If I feel myself struggling to calm my bad or anxious feelings, I seek a mental “area of refuge” for my mind.

    Sometimes I look at photos of my family — research shows that reflecting on happy times in the past boosts happiness in the present.

    Sometimes I think about my favorite scenes from books, movies, or TV shows. I often find myself thinking about classic funny scenes from The Office, for instance — like the time Jim wrapped Dwight’s desk in wrapping paper.

    Most often, however, I reflect on my favorite quotations from Winston Churchill. When I was writing Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, I collected a countless number of these — some funny, some sharp, some transcendent.

    It’s impossible for me to choose my favorite, but this quotation is certainly one of my favorites. I’ve quoted it here before, but I can’t resist quoting it again.

    In September 1940, Churchill gave one of his most memorable broadcasts — about the “Blitz,” the brutal nightly bombing of London.

    I know the words practically by heart.

    These cruel, wanton, indiscriminate bombings of London are, of course, a part of Hitler’s invasion plans. He hopes, by killing large numbers of civilians, and women and children, that he will terrorise and cow the people of this mighty imperial city, and make them a burden and anxiety to the Government…Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners…who have been bred to value freedom far above their lives. This wicked man, the repository and embodiment of many forms of soul-destroying hatreds, this monstrous product of former wrongs and shame, has now resolved to try to break our famous Island race by a process of indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. What he has done is to kindle a fire in British hearts, here and all over the world, which will glow long after all traces of the conflagration he has caused in London have been removed.

    My favorite line: “What he has done is to kindle a fire in British hearts, here and all over the world, which will glow long after all traces of the conflagration he has caused in London have been removed.”

    If you want to listen to Churchill give his broadcast, you can listen here. The section I quote above begins at 7:43.

    Ah, what a joy it was to write that book!

    The post One of My Cures for Feeling Anxious? Think about My Favorite Churchill Quotations. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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