"Videos: Happiness Challenge"



Story: Sometimes, We Can Be Generous By Taking.

This week’s video story: Sometimes, we can be generous by taking.

 

This is a very sad but beautiful story. I’m haunted by it.

I realize that many of my favorite stories feature this theme, though in more ordinary situations: my friend who wished her husband would ask her to cook his favorite foods, or my friend who wished he’d accepted a newspaper from a stranger.

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Story: Preparation Is an Essential Part of Execution.

This week’s video story: Preparation is an essential part of execution.

I didn’t plan this story for the last day of 2013, but it’s a great fit. For those of you thinking about how to make 2014 a happier year, taking the time to prepare and plan is an essential part of being able to execute your aims. I’ve become more and more convinced that mindfulness and planning are keys to happiness–and habits.

How about you? In your life, have you seen how preparations, or rituals of preparation, have helped you to do your best?

If you want more tips about how to keep your New Year’s resolutions, look here.

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Story: Maybe I’m the One Who Should Do It.

This week’s video story: Maybe I’m the one who should do it.

 

Yes, it’s true, I’m in three children’s literature reading groups. How I love children’s and young-adult literature! If you love it too, join my book club, where I recommend a kidlit book each month (along with a happiness book and an eccentric pick).

How about you? Did you ever have a similar experience when you realized, afterward, what you should’ve done?

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Story: Everyday Life in Utopia.

This week’s video story: Everyday life in Utopia.

 

How I love this phrase! I want to tattoo it on my ankle, paint it on the wall above my desk, and wear it on a T-shirt. Everyday life in Utopia! This is my new motto.

I’d told my daughter 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!

Behind-the-scenes revelation: I use this story as part of my conclusion for Before and After. (As a writer, my speciaity is writing endings. The ending of Happier at Home may be the best thing I’ve ever written.)

Because it really does seem to me that when we think about all the resolutions we might follow, or all the habits we might change, we’re aiming at getting as close as possible to everyday life in Utopia.

Agree, disagree?

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Story: Guess–Who Never Confuses Identical Twins?

This week’s video story: 

 

I’m talking about One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned about Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular by my friend Abigail Pogrebin. I’ve always been fascinated (and a little envious) about the relationship between identical twins.

If you want to learn more about the book, check out the book trailer (made by the same person who makes my videos, Maria Giacchino.)

Do you ever think about what it would be like to be an identical twin?

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