How to cultivate happiness – what I learned from Gretchen Rubin

“I knew I wouldn’t discover happiness in a faraway place or in unusual circumstances; it was right here, right now— as in the haunting play “The Blue Bird,” where two children spend a year searching the world for the Blue Bird of Happiness, only to find it waiting for them when they finally return home.” Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

It took me a long time to pick up the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin because I feared it would be the book that I would have liked to have written.  When I first I saw the robin’s egg blue book in the book store at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto in 2009,  I thought: Dang, someone else had the gumption to put this together and I have missed the freaking boat. Oh the drama. I felt like the premise of testing ideas to make you happy was basically how I spent the last two years but did not have the wherewithal to share it.

What I found, instead of a competitor (in my made up version of my success) was a member of my tribe. I related to Gretchen ruminating about whether her self-improvements are self-indulgent in a world with so many problems. She taught me a method for how I might go about such a project so that even in the face of my inner critic and the potential for rejection that there is hope that my dreams could be a reality for me. I will make a calendar and set goals for writing and stick to them. I have designed a list of guiding tenets. I am taming my worry about being self-indulgent and, instead, having faith that maybe my writing could help someone.

The Happiness Project helped me to remember that working on yourself also benefits those around you, which is why I got into all this self-help mumbo jumbo in the first place.

There are not many books that I take out from the library and then decide to have it permanently placed on my bookshelf; The Happiness Project is one of them.

What are your thoughts on the Happiness Project? 

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