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

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"Videos: Happiness Challenge"



Check Out My Video Book Trailer: “Ten Ways to be ‘Happier at Home.’”

Ta-da! Here’s the one-minute video for my new book, Happier at Home, on “Ten ways to be happier at home.” Some of the “ways” are serious; some are a bit goofy.

Thanks so much to Chris Gelles who created it.

What do you think? What strategies would you add?

If seeing this book trailer made you think, “Goodness, Gretchen, I want to pre-order Happier at Home right this minute,” then here are the links you need! Pre-orders are a big help to me, so thanks for pre-ordering.

If you want to know more about the book, you can…

read about it;

listen to an excerpt from the audio-book;

sample an excerpt from the chapter on “Time.”

Story: What Some Folks Would Do (From Flannery O’Connor).

This week’s video story: “Well, them stories just gone and shown you how some folks would do.”

 

This is the quotation I’m talking about, from Flannery O’Connor’s essay “Writing Short Stories,” in Mystery and Manners:

I lent some stories to a country lady who lives down the road from me, and when she returned them, she said, “Well, them stories just gone and shown you how some folks would do,” and I thought to myself that that was right; when you write stories, you have to be content to start exactly there—showing how some specific folks will do, will do in spite of everything.

I’ve tried to explain why this passage has such power for me, but I’m not confident that I actually understand why these lines have haunted me for so long.

Do you have a quotation that sticks with you? That runs through your head, over and over?

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Find the archives of videos here.  Almost 1.8 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe.

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What Kind of Person Are You? The Four Rubin Tendencies.

hogwarts housesBack by popular demand–the four Rubin Tendencies (I keep changing the name of this framework. Any suggestions or comments welcome. Do you like the Rubin Character Index Better?)

It’s very important to know ourselves, but self-knowledge is challenging.  I’m like a Muggle Sorting Hat! I sort everyone into four categories, which describe how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution).

Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.

In a nutshell:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder, 100%)
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense (myhusband is a Questioner)
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

 

I recently gave a talk at LinkedIn about the Rubin Character Index, so if you’d like to see me discuss each category in  a video, you can watch: for Upholders, watch here; Questioners, here;  Rebels, here, and Obligers, here.

From my observation, I can say with confidence that Rebel is the smallest category, then Upholder–this was a shock to me. I didn’t realize how few people are Upholders. Many things became clear to me once I realized this. Most people are Questioners or Obligers.

Obligers are the folks who are the most likely to say they wish they were in a different category. They say things like, “I wish I weren’t a people-pleaser” or “I wish I could take time for myself.”

Do you find yourself within this framework? If so, does it help you understand how to manage yourself better? Figuring out the Tendencies helped me understand myself, and it has also made it much easier for me to understand other people’s perspectives. Fact is, most people don’t see things the way we Upholders do.

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Story: Sometimes, It’s the Things that We Don’t Do That Reveal Our Character.

This week’s video story: Sometimes it’s the things that we don’t do or say that reveal our character.

 

To appreciate this story, you really have to know how much my father dislikes doing yard work. I can just see that lawnmower, with its fluffy cap of snow.

Not to say anything, anything…well, we all know how hard that can be. How about you? Can you think of something that someone didn’t do that revealed something important?

If you can’t see the video, click here.

Find the archives of videos here.  Almost 1.8 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe.

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Story: Sometimes Flawed Can Be More Perfect Than Perfection.

This week’s video story: Sometimes flawed can be more perfect than perfection.

 

This is one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood, and I tell another story about the same idea here, about the ballet and wabi-sabi and Glenn Gould. (Wow, that’s an odd combination, now that I think of it.)

That idea is related to another story,  about another Secret of Adulthood that my mother told me, right before my wedding: Sometimes the things that go wrong make the best memories.

The story that I tell comes from Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom.

What do you think? Have you seen any examples where flawed was more perfect than perfection?

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Story: There Will Always Be a Special Place in Our Hearts for You.

This week’s video story: There will always be a special place in our hearts for you.

 

I have to admit, I’m so moved by this story that it’s hard for me to tell it without getting choked up. It’s so gratifying when people know just what to say.

How about you? Do you think that people want to be loved specially? I’m reminded of the lines from W. H. Auden’s poem, “September 1, 1939″–I’m not sure that they’re exactly apt here, but they spring to mind:

For the error bred in the bone

Of each woman and each man

Craves what it cannot have,

Not universal love

But to be loved alone.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.7 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe.

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.