My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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Story: There’s Something Special about Being A Doctor.

For the weekly videos, I now tell a story. I’ve realized that for me, and I think for many people, a story is what holds my attention and makes a point most powerfully.

This week’s story: There’s something special about being a doctor. I mention that I was talking to medical students about “drift“–the decision you make by not deciding, or by making a decision that unleashes consequences for which you don’t take responsibility. If you want to read more about drift, go here and here.

 

In the video, I talk about being a doctor–because it was a doctor who made the comment to medical students that started me thinking–but really this point applies to anyone in a healing profession. To help to take away pain, to bring people back to health–there really is something special about that. At least it seems that way to me.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Do you agree that there’s something special about being able to help heal people?

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Secret of Adulthood: Things Often Get Messier Before They Get Tidier.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:

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This phenomenon can be very frustrating. I spend an hour clearing-clutter, and my apartment looks worse before I started! Moving stuff into the trash, into recycling, or out the door to a thrift store or a friend takes time. I remind myself of this Secret of Adulthood when I’m feeling frustrated.

How about you? Do you find that things often get messier before they get tidier?

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Quiz: Are You a Finisher or an Opener?

toothpaste-gelEvery Wednesday is Tip Day, or Quiz Day.

This Wednesday: Are you a Finisher or an Opener?

I love dividing people into categories. Under-buyers and over-buyers. Eeyores and Tiggers. Abstainers and Moderators. Upholders, Questioners, Rebels, and Obligers.

A thoughtful reader and fellow lover of taxonomies, Dianne Volek, suggested a  new system of categories. Let’s call the two types of people  “Finishers and Openers.”

Do you get more satisfaction from…

  • Throwing away a container or bottle after using the very last drop, or
  • Opening a fresh new container

I’m a Finisher; my husband is an Opener. I love to extract the last tiny bit out of a tube of toothpaste, and he loves opening the new tube. True, I do love that first squeeze, and the first dip into a new jar of peanut butter, but I also enjoy using the very last bit of the old stuff. I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I use the last egg in a carton (as I did this morning).

Perhaps this explains the weird satisfaction I feel when something breaks or is worn out. Why do I like to see the worn spots on our sofa? Why do I like getting a hole in a pair of socks? Perhaps it’s my Finisher nature, delighting in the finish.

When I visited my sister a few weeks ago, I noticed that she had about twenty bottles of hair products in her shower. I suspect she’s an Opener.

I wonder if this is related to the distinction between Simplicity Lovers and Abundance Lovers.

Do these categories ring true for you? Are you a Finisher or an Opener?

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A Post That I Simply Can’t Resist Writing.

LostHorizon1937_thumb2For the most part, I make a big effort not to tell “cute things my daughter said” stories to anyone but the grandparents. I have a list of topics that are often boring to other people, and this subject definitely has a place there.

But I simply can’t resist telling these two connected stories.

Every Sunday night, we have “Movie Night,” when we watch a family movie. A few weeks ago, I chose the 1937 movie Lost Horizon (a great movie if you haven’t seen it).

My eight-year-old daughter was so delighted with the movie and the idea of Shangri-La that she was inspired to write  a sequel, about what happens when Robert Conway returns to that magical land. “I’m going to call it ‘Lost Horizon: Everyday Life in Utopia,'” she told me. Everyday life in Utopia! I love that phrase so much. It’s my new motto for my happiness projects.

I’d told her about the word “utopia” and what it meant. Some days later, I was reading aloud to her from Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I explained that Camazotz, in the book,  was a “dystopia,” and gave a little lecture about how that was the opposite of a utopia. My daughter listened patiently.

About a week later, as we continued with A Wrinkle in Time, I asked in a teacherly voice, “Now do you remember the word for the opposite of utopia?”

“Metopia,” she said, without missing a beat. It took me a moment to get the joke.

Everyday life in Utopia and Metopia!

“When I Became a Man I Put Away Childish Things, Including the Fear of Childishness.”

C.s.lewis3“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

–C. S. Lewis, “On Three Ways of Writing for Children

When I decided to Be Gretchen, and indulge my passion for children’s literature in a big way, this essay by C. S. Lewis helped me to understand why I loved these books so much, and why I should embrace it. (You can read more about this in The Happiness Project, chapter five.)

Is there anything in your life that you don’t indulge in, because you think it’s not grown-up enough? I was charmed to hear that a friend regularly plays Four Square with her three adult sisters.

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