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

Want to get the "Moment of Happiness"? A daily happiness quotation in your inbox. Sign up here close daily quote

"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: It’s a Sign of Maturity Not To Be Scandalized.

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: It’s a sign of maturity not to be scandalized.

 

Here’s the complete quotation from Flannery O’Connor:

“From 15 to 18 is an age at which one is very sensitive to the sins of others, as I know from recollections of myself. At that age you don’t look for what is hidden. It is a sign of maturity not to be scandalized and to try to find explanations in charity.”

–Letter of August 19, 1959

I love the work of Flannery O’Connor. Her fiction is so mind-blowing that I can hardly bear to read it, and I also love her non-fiction. I ‘ve read that collection of letters, The Habit of Being, three times. And here’s my latest Flannery O’Connor quote, from an interview she gave: “I’m interested in the old Adam. He just talks southern because I do.”

I wouldn’t describe it the same way, but that’s what I’m interested, too. The old Adam.

Can’t see the video? Click here. If you want to read more about along these lines, check out this post.

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.6 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.

Story: Focus on the Growing Heap, Not the One Coin. (One of My Favorite Stories!)

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: Focus on the growing heap, not the one coin.

 

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Here are the exact words of this teaching story, known as “the argument of the growing heap,” as described in the footnote in my college-era edition of Erasmus’s classic work, The Praise of Folly:

If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.”

This story is one of my favorites, because it so perfectly captures a paradox that I grapple with in my own life, and which is very significant to happiness: Often, when we consider our actions, it’s clear that any one instance of an action is almost meaningless, yet at the same time,  a sum of those actions is very meaningful. Whether we focus on the single coin, or the growing heap, will shape our behavior.

Go here to read more about this story.

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.6 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.

Story: That Unreasonable Demand Might Not Be So Unreasonable

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: That unreasonable demand might not be so unreasonable.

 

Can’t see the video? Click here.

As I explain in the video, I read this story about Van Halen in Chip and Dan Heath’s fascinating book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, which I highly recommend.

How about you? Have you ever shook your head over someone’s unreasonable demand, only to discover that there was a very sound reason for it?

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.5 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.

Story: Be Polite, and Be Fair.

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: Be polite, and be fair.

 

Can’t see the video? Click here.

I love short mantras that cover a lot of situations. Do you have a mantra or catchphrase that helps you remember how you want to behave? My favorite personal mantra is Be Gretchen. (Other people should substitute their own names, of course.)

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.5 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.

Story: Would I Have Been Able To Tell Right From Wrong?

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: Would I have been able to tell right from wrong?

 

Can’t see the video? Click here.

As I said, I didn’t really understand what happened with Enron; I understood just enough to make me feel unsettled.

The passage I read is: “The overriding basic principle of accounting is that if you explain the ‘accounting treatment’ to a man in the street, would you influence his investing decisions? Would he sell or buy the stock based on a thorough understanding of the facts? If so, you best present it correctly and/or change the accounting.”

If you’d like to read the full text of Sherron Watkins’s memo, read it here.

How about you? Can you think of examples when you found the right question or the right test to identify the right path? Often, I say to myself, “Do the loving thing.” That often helps.

Find the archives of videos here.  More than 1.5 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe!