My TEDxNew Haven Talk: “Five Half-Truths About Happiness.”

A few months ago, I gave a talk at the TEDxNewHaven on “Five Half-Truths About Happiness.”

To give you a preview, the half-truths are…

Hell is other people.

Happiness is all in your head.

A messy kitchen is too insignificant to matter to my happiness.

Happiness should make you feel happy.

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. 

The truths are true, but they’re only half true, and in this talk, I try to shine a spotlight on both halves of these truths. Do two half-truths make a whole truth? It’s like that old joke, “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two Wrights make an airplane.”

  • Excellent talk! Congratulations on using slides for the first time! Thank you for making the points about feeling like a spoiled brat or being worried about whether it’s moral to be happy. Altruism and happiness are completely linked– in a circle, I think. Thanks, as always for your thoughts!

    • gretchenrubin

      Awww, thanks! I so appreciate your kind words.

  • Celia

    Nice summary thanks Gretchen. I definitely agree with the idea that keeping order with the small things contributes enormously to happiness. You can be quite formulaic about how you achieve happiness, eg in terms of doing for others, bu if they benefit and you benefit, then why not! Keep up your inspiring work!

  • lou

    Awesome! Happiness breeds happiness. 🙂 You are a great speaker.

  • Ellen

    Just before you said it was your 1st time using slides I was thinking about how I loved the way in which you were using them! They were
    understated and related to what you were discussing without being a ‘script’ of what you were saying.

  • peninith

    Gretchen — funny story about giving a slide briefing (and yet another reminder how valuable practice can be) in my Public Affairs job, I was practicing our slide-illustrated ‘command briefing’ for my Commander. After our run through he said [imitating my body language so that I cracked up laughing]: “Now, just try to do it without putting your hand on your hip and letting go a big fat sigh when I interrupt you to amplify a point.” Slides are great friends — though I had to learn not to let the progression of images ‘control’ the talk too much. I do love the way you choose to put up intriguing images as a backdrop to get us to speculate further. Great job with your presentation!

  • Emily

    So true, you have to be open to happiness, and seek it out. It won’t find you

  • A very interesting talk. I wish to implement your ‘minute rule’. Also, your first time using slides came out great. It is interesting you were anxious to use slides and you like talking without them. I have the opposite problem, Public speaking absolutely terrifies/terrified me. Having slides gave me something to look at. I’m getting better at public speaking, but it still terrifies me. Thanks for this inspiring talk!

  • Jeyamurugan

    Good One. congrats……!