Podcast 131: Do 10 Jumping Jacks, an Easy Way to Stay Off Your Device–and Life Is High School.

Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 19 days.

I’m looking forward to heading to Los Angeles, and many other cities, on my book tour. Info here if you’d like to come to an event.

To thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

It was great to hear everyone’s suggestions for anti-perfectionism mantras. Wonderful.

If you want to check out Chris Guillebeau’s brilliant podcastSide Hustle School,” for ideas about how to start your own side hustle, learn more here.

Try This at Home: Do ten jumping jacks. It will boost your mood and increase your energy.

If you want to listen to the Happier 911 playlist on Spotify, it’s here. Such a terrific collection of songs.

Happiness Hack: As a way to cut down device addiction, Eric suggests that by forcing yourself to type in a long password to open your phone–rather than using a 6-digit password or fingerprint–you make it more inconvenient to open your phone and therefore easier to stay off it.

I talk about this strategy, the Strategy of Inconvenience, in Better Than Before.

Happiness Stumbling Block: When you feel like you’re in high school, all over again. The thing is, life is high school.

Happier with Gretchen RubinListener Question: Bethleen asks, “What should I do with my dead mother’s wedding dress?” As promised, I include a photo of Kristen in her vintage wedding dress.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I gave myself a prospective demerit, as a way to do a “pre-mortem” to anticipate reasons for failure. Doing a pre-mortem helps identify ways to help a project to succeed. This is an exercise that really works!

To learn more about doing a pre-mortem, read Gary Klein’s piece “Peforming a Project Premortem” in the Harvard Business Review.

I did a pre-mortem by thinking, “My book fizzled. What did I do wrong?” and got very fired up to promote my book more. For instance, here’s the link to the pre-order bonus videos.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gave a gold star to her friend Jessica who entered — and won! — a Beverly Hills Pie-Baking Contest.


Free Resources:

  1. Want to join my group of Super-Fans? From time to time, I’ll offer you a little bonus, or ask for a small favor (nothing onerous, I promise). Sign up here. Super-Fans, I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm.
  2. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

As I mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Happier in Hollywood.

HAPPIER listening!

A Little Happier: Sometimes, It’s Better to Help than to Sympathize.

Years ago, during the hubbub surrounding preparations for a wedding, a friend’s silent example of taking action, rather than just talking, has stuck with me for my whole life.

Sometimes, it’s better to help than to sympathize. As the old saying goes, actions can speak louder than words.

This mini-episode is brought to you by the Platinum Card from American Express. There’s a world of experiences waiting to open up with the Platinum Card–backed by the services and security of American Express.

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

 Happier listening!

Why I Named the Four Tendencies the “Four Tendencies.”

Since college, when I first read it, I’ve been haunted by an observation by Freud, where he notes that the names of the three Goddesses of Fate mean “the accidental within the decrees of destiny,” “the inevitable,” and “the fateful tendencies each one of us brings into the world.

— Sigmund Freud, The Freud Reader, “The Theme of the Three Caskets.”

When I read this, it seemed perfectly to distill the three threads of fate.

The fateful tendencies each one of us brings into the world. Years later, when I was trying to figure out what to name the categories that I’d identified as part of human nature — Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel — I thought back on that passage. So I named my framework the “Four Tendencies.”

Calling them “fateful” struck me as slightly melodramatic. What do you think? Would that have been a terrific name, or too much?

Podcast 130: Seven Myths of Happiness.

Note to Readers and Listeners: I wanted to let you know that Elizabeth and I recorded this episode before the shocking and despicable events in Charlottesville, Virginia, of August 12, 2017, and following. That’s why we don’t mention it. If you’d like to hear some discussion, check out this Facebook Live video from August 15.

Such events are a reminder that all of us, in our own lives, must strive in our own actions and words to live up to the highest ideals of our country. What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?

In recent days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill, and also about the “America feeling” I get, for instance, from this scene from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma! If you’d like to hear me describe it, listen here.

And now — the show notes.

Update: I’m excited because my new book, The Four Tendencies, hits the shelves in just 27 days.

To thank readers who pre-order, I worked with a terrific production team to create a series of videos about the Four Tendencies. After the book goes on sale, I’ll charge for these videos, but until then, you can get access to them for free if you pre-order. Find all the info here. There’s an overview video, then subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.

We loved everyone’s suggestions for clever phrases to capture the distinction between people who like to tackle the hardest task first, and those who work up to the hardest task. My favorite: “up-hillers” and “down-hillers.”

Seven Myths of Happiness

1: Happy people are annoying and stupid.

2: Nothing changes a person’s happiness level much.

3: A “treat” will cheer you up.

4: Money can’t buy happiness. Here’s the article we mention, about using money to save time to boost happiness.

5: You’ll be happy as soon as you…

6: Spending some time alone will make you feel better.

7: The biggest myth: It’s selfish to try to be happier.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth didn’t plan play dates for Jack with new families.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I love the world of Game of Thrones! I love George R.R. Martins’ books, I love the HBO TV show, and I love “Binge Mode,” the GoT re-cap show with co-hosts Jason Concepcion and Mallory Rubin.


Free Resources:

  1. To get the pre-order bonus, you can find info here, or at happiercast.com/4tbonus. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; after the book comes out, there will be a charge for the video series.
  2.  If you’d like a free, signed bookplate or signature card, sign up here. U.S. and Canada only — sorry about that, mailing costs. Ask for as many as you’d like (within reason).

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

As I mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

Also check out Honest Tea, who is celebrating the lighthearted ways that we’re less than perfect through the #RefreshinglyHonest Project. Learn more by visiting HonestTea.com/podcast.

Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Happier in Hollywood.

HAPPIER listening!

A Four Tendencies Dilemma: What Would You Do with the Office Coffee Mug?

Have  I mentioned that my book The Four Tendencies is coming out in September? Oh right, I think I have.

Well, I’m gearing up for my book tour, and thinking about my book talk.

I’m considering opening my talk by describing a familiar situation that illustrates how differently the Four Tendencies see the world. What do you think of that idea? Consider this scenario:

“What Would You Do with the Office Coffee Mug?”

Imagine that you’ve been hired to work in sales in a small-to-medium sized office.

There’s an office kitchen with a sink, fridge, dishwasher, and a cabinet stocked with office mugs.

Although you haven’t met the night cleaning staff, you know that a crew comes in every night to vacuum, dust, empty the trash cans, handle the recycling, clean the kitchen, and wash and put the office mugs back in the cupboard.

There’s no sign in the office telling you what to do with your dirty mugs, and no one has mentioned the office etiquette to you.

The first time you used a mug and were deciding what to do with it, what idea most likely ran through your mind?

  1. My job is to do sales, and the cleaning staff’s job is to clean.
  2. It’s more efficient for the cleaning staff to spend the time cleaning, and for me to spend my time making sales.
  3. The cleaning staff shouldn’t have to clean up after me.
  4. No one can tell me what to do with my mug.

To be sure, your Tendency is just one narrow aspect of your character; two people of the same Tendency might behave differently depending on how considerate they are, how ambitious they are, how busy, how extroverted, and a million other things.

And of course your life experience influences your behavior. You might automatically deal with your mug  the way you dealt with mugs at your last job.

Nevertheless, I think there are some very general patterns, if you identified with those reactions:

1-likely to be an Upholder

2-likely to be a Questioner

3-likely to be an Obliger

4-likely to be a Rebel

However, it’s crucial to note that you can’t judge people’s Tendencies from their actions; you have to know what they’re thinking.

And you often can’t predict people’s actions from knowing their Tendency, because so many factors come into play.

For instance, in contrast to the predictions listed above, a Rebel might choose to clean a mug, with the thought, “It’s important to me to be a thoughtful member of this office.” An Obliger might not clean a mug, with the thought, “This office is dangerously close to failure. I need to spend every minute I possibly can making sales, or everyone will lose their jobs.” A Questioner might clean a mug, with the thought, “If clients come in and see a sink full of dirty dishes, they may assume we run a sloppy operation. The risk of losing sales is a very good reason for me to clean my dishes.”

Given the many different perspectives that can arise, even within the same Tendency, it’s easy how often people disagree. An Obliger might think, “I can’t believe that other people show so little common courtesy for others.”  A Questioner might think, “If you want to clean the mugs, fine, but don’t expect me to help. I’m here to make sales!” An Upholder might think, “I wouldn’t empty the trash cans, and I wouldn’t vacuum, and I don’t feel like I have to wash the dishes, those aren’t my jobs.” A Rebel thinks, “Why does everyone keep talking about the mugs? Sheesh, do whatever you want, that’s what I do.”

Studying the Four Tendencies has shown me that very often, there’s no single correct way to view a situation.

Want to learn your Tendency? Take the quiz here. (Hundreds of thousands of people have taken it.)

Want to join a lively discussion about the Four Tendencies? Join the Better app to ask questions, offer strategies and insights, and join Accountability Groups.

Want to get free access to my five videos about how to apply the Four Tendencies? To get the pre-order bonus, you can find details here. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; note after the book comes out, there will be a (fairly hefty) charge for the video series.