Tag Archives: Gretchen Rubin

Featured Intent: Explore New Things

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Tired of the same old, same old? We’ve probably all been there but the mind is a difficult thing to change. Circumstances aren’t always within our control and that can feel very disabling. At the core, sometimes our greatest fear is that we aren’t capable of change, but what if this year we started thinking about what newness we could welcome into our lives? What new things excite you and get your wheels turning? What has felt impossible and how can you start to move in that direction? Our intent today is to turn our minds to those questions and commit to explore new things in the new year.

You too? Consider these three places for newness in your life: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Happiness in the Unexpected

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If you want to be happy, be.
-Leo Tolstoy

Our intent today involves retraining our mind and refocusing our eyes.
If we want to be happy, then it is our job to look for that and find it within ourselves.
So our intent today is to do just that. We want to find happiness in the unexpected.
In the last minute coffee date with a friend.
In the surprisingly good parking spot.
In the upcoming appointment with a really great specialist.
In the unexpected 5 minutes of quiet.
Let yourself be surprised with happiness and look for it in the things you’re flying past.
Find it where you’re least expecting.

Looking for happiness too? We have 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Structure That Works

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There’s a diet for everything.
There’s a 4 hour work week and there are ways to make you feel like you’ll never work another day in your life. Everyone has a different management system for a different aspect of your life and that is great because it means there are options, but it’s up to you to figure out what works for YOU.

Struggling to stay organized?
Struggling to prioritize?
We get it. Here are 3 resources to help you find what structure works for you: Continue reading

“There Is in This World No Function More Important Than That of Being Charming.”

1346726316_a91f3a31b9_m“There is in this world no function more important than that of being charming. The forest glade would be incomplete without the humming-bird. To shed joy around, to radiate happiness, to cast light upon dark days, to be the golden thread of our destiny, and the very spirit of grace and harmony, is not this to render a service?”

— Victor Hugo, Toilers of the Sea

A thoughtful reader sent me this quotation. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines, from G. K. Chesterton, which I quote several times in The Happiness Project“It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.”

Though I must say, it seems to be slightly overstating the case to say that there’s no function more important than being charming. I think I can think of a couple of functions that are more important.

Agree, disagree?

Continue reading

Always Late? 9 Tips for Overcoming Chronic Lateness.

13912557367_9cacc5c8d1_zIf you’re chronically tardy, how do you start showing up on time?

Many people have the habit of constantly running late — and they drive themselves, and other people, crazy.

Now, I have the opposite problem — I’m pathologically early, and often arrive places too soon. This is annoying, as well, but in a different way. As I write this, I’m realizing that I assume that chronic earliness is very rare. But maybe it’s not. Are you chronically early?

In any event, more people seem bothered by chronic lateness. Feeling as though you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule is an unhappy feeling. Having to rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing with annoyed people when you arrive…it’s no fun.

If you find yourself chronically late, what steps can you take to be more prompt? That depends on why you’re late. As my Eighth Commandment holds, the first step is to Identify the problem – then you can see more easily what you need to change.

There are many reasons you might be late, but some are particularly common. Are you late because… Continue reading

I Can Barely Say a Word. It’s an Interesting Situation.

voice-300x200 (1)I lost my voice.

I woke up with a sore throat, then gave two long talks, back to back, at a conference and then — wham, my voice went out.

I thought it would be back this morning, but no luck. My sister and I were supposed to record an episode of our podcast, but that just wasn’t possible. When I told my husband I was going to try, he laughed. “You’re not recording anything today,” he said.

It doesn’t hurt when I try to talk — but practically nothing comes out.

It’s been a very interesting exercise in silence and listening. For instance, when I walked my younger daughter to this school this morning, it seemed odd not to chat. We often walk for several blocks in silence, but this time, we walked in silence the whole way. It was a companionable silence, but it wasn’t as companionable as talking.

On the other hand, she told me, “It’s very calming, your whispering. It’s like being in yoga. I feel like harps should be playing.” So that’s nice, I guess.

I’ve also realized how much I talk to my puppy Barnaby. I hope he doesn’t think I’m angry at him; I’m not saying a word, when usually I talk to him quite a bit — which I’d never realized.

This morning, I was on a conference call, and I explained by email ahead of time that I wouldn’t be able to talk much. I thought that I might listen more acutely, given that I wasn’t talking, but to my surprise, I found it harder to listen. It’s like knowing that you’re going to be called on in class — you pay more attention when you know you might be put on the spot. Because I knew no one would expect me to participate, I felt less pressure, so I had to work harder to stay focused.

One hilarious thing: when I have to talk, it’s much easier to whisper, and people always whisper back to me! Apparently it’s very tough to speak in a normal voice to someone who’s whispering.

It has been interesting, if involuntary, experience, but I sure hope my voice is back tomorrow.

Have you ever lost your voice? How did the silence and the listening affect you?

 

Also …

4tendencies-blue2-300x321Do you love to take quizzes that teach you more about yourself? I sure do. If you’d like to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, take the Four Tendencies Quiz. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken it.

 

 

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

Gretchen Rubin and the Habits that Create A Life of Intent

In preparing to write Living with Intent, Mallika Chopra sought the wisdom of friends and leaders who exemplified the embrace of their own journey toward their dreams. One of those people is Gretchen Rubin, author, wife and mom, who is known for her teaching on happiness and the habits that get you there.

Are you a night person trying to make early morning habits?
Are you trying to institute a million changes as once?
Is any of it helping?
We’re excited to share the interview with Mallika and Gretchen today: Continue reading

Living with Intent: 6 Steps to Living a Healthier, More Joyful & Purposeful Life

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About two years ago, I approached my father (Deepak Chopra) with a confession. I told him I was generally exhausted, over caffeinated and my sugar addiction was out of control.  I realized I was overscheduled trying to balance my role as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur with Intent.com, my start-up social media company. I felt bloated and had a lot of body pain. I hadn’t been meditating or exercising much, and at night I was having trouble sleeping. My father looked shell shocked, and it took a few moments for him to transition from concerned father to Deepak Chopra, the person that thousands go to for health advice. Continue reading

Are You Unnecessarily Severe with Yourself and Your Habits?

coffeepouring-300x169“All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle.

– Samuel Johnson, as quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson

I often think about this remark by Samuel Johnson.

Because I’ve been so focused on habits over the past few years, during the writing of Better Than Before, people often talk to me about the habits they want to change.

And although I have so many strategies and ideas that I’ve identified to help people master their habits, to my surprise, I frequently find myself making the case against changing a habit. Continue reading

Once Again: 6 Tips for Writing from George Orwell

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Last week, I posted six rules for writing from George Orwell, but that post was swallowed up by the internet. I was quite pleased by the number of people who wrote to ask where the list had gone, so I’ve decided to re-post it.

I loved rules for writing: for instance, here are rules from Mindy Kaling, Kurt Vonnegut, Henry Miller, and Flannery O’Connor.

In one of his most famous essays, “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell writes that “the following rules will cover most cases”:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. (I’m charmed by his example: use “snapdragon,” not “antirrhinum.” Snapdragon is so much nicer.)

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

I find these rules to be enormously helpful. It’s so easy to use tired, shopworn figures of speech. I love using long, fancy words but have learned–mostly from writing my biography of Winston Churchill–that short, strong words work better. I am ever-vigilant against the passive and against jargon, both of which are so insidious.

However, I have to be cautious with #3. I love to cut so much that I have to be careful not to cut too much. My writing tends to become very dense, so I have to keep some cushion. Sometimes, words that seem superfluous are actually essential, for the overall effect.

One thing that makes me very happy is to have a complicated idea and to feel that I’ve expressed myself clearly. I remember writing the ending to Happier at Home. I wrote the entire book to build to that ending–”now is now”–and what I had to say was very abstract, and yet, I felt satisfied that I managed to say what I wanted to say. One of the happiest experiences I’ve had as a writer was when I typed the final lines,  “Now is now. Here is my treasure.”

How about you? Do you use these rules–or any others?

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  • The holidays approach! May I self-promotingly make a gift suggestion? Happier at Home or The Happiness Project. Both New York Times bestsellers. Buy early and often!If you’d like to make a gift more special by personalizing it, I’m happy to help. Would you like a free, personalized, signed bookplate for copies of The Happiness Project or Happier at Home? Or signed Paradoxes of Happiness signature cards or Ten Tips for Happiness in Your New Home signature cards? Request as many as you want, here. Alas, because of mailing costs, I can now mail only to the U.S. and Canada–so sorry about that. And request quickly, if you want these for the holidays. I can be kinda slow.
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