Book 25 of 2012 – The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

One day while riding on a bus Gretchen Rubin realized that her life was passing her by and while she was happy, she wasn’t as happy  she could be,  so she decided to dedicate a year to trying to be happier.  Book 25 of 2012 The Happiness Project or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closers,Fight Right,Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun chronicles that year of discovery and provides a blueprint for readers to start their own happiness project!

The Happiness Project consisted of focusing each month on an aspect of her life, then making resolutions about that aspect, followed by grading how well she did each day keeping those resolutions! As an example in January her goal was to boost her energy, knowing that when she felt more energetic it was easier to be happy! Her resolutions included: Go to sleep earlier, Exercise better, Toss, store and organize, Tackle a nagging task and Act more energetic. Then using the works of various authors on happiness she explores happiness and  how to pursue it, as she tackles each resolution! In March the goal was to Aim Higher-Work and one resolution was to Launch a Blog and The Happiness Project was born!

The First Splendid Truth, which she discovered in the second month of her voyage into happiness was: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, felling bad, feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.  To me this sums it all up. First, you have to concentrate on those things that you do or use to do that make you happy and strengthen them, then you need to focus on eliminating your actions that make you feel bad (like procrastination, nagging, etc). Next you need to be feeling right by doing things that are aligned with your core values. Feeling right is about living the life that is right for you, in occupation, location, marital status and so  on.   Finally, you need to be putting everything together “in an atmosphere of growth”. Here she uses a quote from Yeats “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing”  She points out “Contemporary researchers make the same argument that it isn’t goal attainment but the process of striving after goals that is, growth – that brings happiness.”

I certainly understand this argument, I’ve worked at the same job for thirty years but through most of that time I was growing and learning. First I needed to learn as much as I could about soil as I could, to design septic systems.Later to delineate wetlands, I needed to know more about hydric soil coupled with vegetation identification i.e tree, shrub and herbaceous plants. Along the way, I also needed to know the geology and hydrology of New Jersey, AutoCad and all the environmental laws and regulations that govern development in New Jersey! So while I was working at the same place I was always doing something a little different,hence, I was always  growing and not unhappy!

The main reason that I picked up the book was that while I am not unhappy, I do feel that I could be happier and after reading the book, I know I can be happier and I now have a blueprint to follow to help me get there! Now I only have to make myself do it!!  Anyone want to join me?  Check out the book and see if it’s “feels right” for you! It does for me!