Podcast 19: Enjoy the Fun of Failure, an Interview with TV Anchor Dan Harris, and Plane-Ticket Pain.

It’s Wednesday — time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

First, a quick digression: do you try to say “Rabbit, rabbit,” on the first day of the month? I do, and today I remembered. Yay.

Thanks again to everyone who contacted us with a comment for our next episode, the Very Special Episode where we’ll feature our listeners. It has been so fun to pull this episode together. Stay tuned for next week.

This week…

Update: I report on my encounter with the Dalai Lama.

Try This at Home: Enjoy the fun of failure. That’s right, the fun. Send us your stories!

Interview: Dan Harris. Dan is an ABC News correspondent, an anchor for Nightline, and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America — and the author of 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story. (I love that title.) In this interview, we discuss how did he tame the voice in his head.

To see the on-air panic attack that Dan describes, view it here. To see the scene from the movie Broadcast News that Elizabeth mentions, view it here (the sweating part starts at 4:10).

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth procrastinates about buying plane tickets for the family trip to Kansas City. (Maybe it’s a family thing; I also hate to buy plane tickets.)

Gretchen’s Gold Star: I love the strange, brilliant book, A  Pattern Language: Towns, Building, Construction. Child caves! Half-hidden garden! Cascade of roofs! And, my favorite, Secret place.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors. Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order.

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We’d love to hear from you: have you ever enjoyed the fun of failure, — and if so, how?

Comment below. Email: podcast@gretchenrubin.com. Twitter: @gretchenrubin and @elizabethcraft. Call: 744-277-9336. Here’s the Facebook Page.

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HAPPIER listening!

  • I read Dan’s book a few months ago and thought, “He should meet Gretchen Rubin!” Well, duh. Fun interview – thank you for arranging it!

    • gretchenrubin

      HAPPY minds think alike.

  • Mimi Gregor

    I actually squeed like a fangirl when I saw that you were interviewing Dan Harris. I loved his book! I had read many books that I tried to learn meditation from, and listened to tapes, and still it seemed to elude me as to how to do it. It was only while reading Dan’s book that it somehow clicked into place. It’s not a “how-to” book… yet somehow it showed me “how to” when the actual how-to books failed. It was great hearing from him!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! So great to hear that you found his work helpful.

  • Nazo

    I want your book Gretchen, i will get inshaa allah by Jan.2016 utmost! or just 2016 utmost!

  • kat

    After a long and busy day of having fun in the sun with my 2 boys (4 & 6), we started heading back home. My 4 yo was asleep in the car and my 6 yo was drifting off. I decided to listen to today’s podcast since I thought both boys were going to sleep. A few minutes in, my 6 yo perks us excitedly and says “Mom, this is Joy and Sadness we are listening to!” He thought you were two were the characters from the movie “Inside Out”! I laughed so hard as I thought how you gals would enjoy hearing that. Love your books and podcasts, keep up the great work & entertainment!!

    • gretchenrubin


      Thanks so much for the kind words.

  • Julie

    I have to say I’m glad Dan Harris is not only doing better, but that he mentioned he’s no longer doing cocaine! I was wondering. Sounds like a fascinating book, and the clip you linked to piqued my interest even more. I’m sure he went through a lot, and that’s wonderful that ABC kept him on. Can’t wait to read the book!

  • Kara

    I haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet (I”m a week behind 😉 BUT I just had to comment on how excited I am to listen to your interview with Dan Harris, I read his book a few months ago and loved it. I am trying to work meditation into my daily schedule and it was inspiring and motivating to read his story. I’m a stay-home mom of two and I really look forward to your podcasts as one of my alone time “treats” so thank you!

  • Felicity

    Apropos of nothing (but I love your podcasts!!) I wanted to say that although I am trying to lose weight, I had a *cough* cake mixture incident yesterday, scarfing too much as I made my son’s birthday cake. I briefly thought about a ‘what the hell’ binge but then I remembered (thanks to you) ‘a stumble prevents a fall’. And I was able to stop! It is amazing how powerful it is to reframe something. Thanks!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! so great to hear it was useful!

  • Natalie

    Rabbit rabbit? What on earth? Why?

    • statmam

      As a child I used to do it too because Trixie Belden did it in one of the Trixie Belden mystery books. That was enough of an endorsement for me!

    • gretchenrubin

      That’s an old superstition – if you say it before you say anything else in the morning of the first day of the month, brings good luck.

  • Jessica Miele

    I love the idea of the Fun of Failure! I just submitted a short story to a literary magazine

  • Jackie Anderson

    As a 48 year old returning to school in quest of a Masters degree in Nursing via Georgetown online, early on in the program I failed an exam. I doubted what I was doing. “I don’t have to, I have a great profession already”. I kept on, learned how not just what and graduated May 2014 and soon after started 2 jobs where I am valuable beyond what I imagined. I tell my inmate and private practice patients daily “choose your perspective” “what can you do to be better (than before:))”.

  • Dianne Ochiltree

    As we say in the yoga studio, if you fall…fall with grace! And laughter. When you tumble down from headstand there’s nothing to do but smile and try it again. Failure helps me strengthen my humor muscles and keeps it all in perspective.

  • Jennifer McLaren

    I really enjoyed the interview with Dan Harris. I laughed out loud when I heard his solution: Meditation! It seems I am being encouraged to meditate from every quarter lately, so I’ve been trying it out for about 6 weeks now, and can vouch for the effects that Dan mentioned. The first trigger to try meditating for me was the Australian journalist Peter Greste, who, when asked how he coped mentally with almost a year in an Egyptian prison, responded simply, “meditation.”
    Congratulations on NOT failing on the podcast front – I’m really looking forward to No.20!

  • Penelope Schmitt

    Yeah, that fun of failure thing. I am about to change all the sashing I have cut for a big quilt (the border strips that can go between quilt blocks and rows). It is just such a WRONG color. I guess I will make it ‘right’ by using it in a scrap quilt eventually. And it will still be fun.

  • Annie

    I’ve been loving this podcast and the dynamic between Gretchen and Elizabeth. I swear I’m the same person as Gretchen: upholder, under-buyer, finisher, etc. and saying YES to everything she identifies with. I wanted to give a piece of advice for mediatiation that really works for me, and that is the Headspace app. I did the ten day free trial period and found myself missing the instructor’s guidance after it ended. So I hesitantly signed up for a subscription even though the under-buyer in me was cringing. But I swear it works! I feel much more clear headed throughout the day and not having to run off with every thought that comes to mind. The main lesson is to think of your mind as a blue sky and thoughts are clouds that come and go. I urge everyone to try this app! Love the podcast and can’t wait to learn more.

    • gretchenrubin

      Thanks for the suggestion – sounds like a great idea, especially since we sound very much alike.
      And thanks for the kind words!

  • s_ifat

    Gretchen, it will be so amazing if you would publish a novel! take them out of the drawer, a little polish, and let us read them 🙂

    • gretchenrubin

      Great to hear that you’re interested – maybe one day!

  • Kirstin

    I am the total opposite of you two.. I love buying plane tickets! It makes the trip seem real and official instead of just a plan. My husband had heard a couple years ago that plane tickets are cheapest on Wednesday nights and it turns out that was correct. We’ve booked several trips now when we checked prices at other times of the week and saved a bunch buying them on Wednesday.

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  • rahskir

    Today I wanted to save time and decided to blend breakfast with my coffee and it was a failure. Surprise(!): Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and cold brew coffee are horrible together! I’m having fun with this failure by sharing it… But it was otherwise a waste of time and left a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Judy Leahy

    I’m listening to Dan Harris’ book on auto CD now. Very entertaining so far; can’t wait until I get to the part where he discovers meditation.

  • Kristin

    I have been drawn to meditation for a long time, but haven’t (yet!) succeeded in making it a regular practice. What was inspiring to me about this interview was that Dan said he started with only five minutes a day. That makes it sound do-able (somehow even much more so than 10 or 15 minutes) and harder to make excuses for not doing. Can someone who has read his book describe the method he used? Did he literally only start with five minutes, eyes open/eyes closed, return to the breathe, etc, or does the specific method not matter?

  • Karl

    I’m trying to be a completist and just finished this episode – will take me forever to catch up – any way, would like to add to the “fun of failure” to just the fun of making mistakes. I like to laugh when things go wrong but my wife is the opposite. This makes it harder to laugh at myself when she is so critical that it makes it harder for me to laugh at myself, hence, be as happy as I used to be. I know I cannot change someone, but I really dislike the direction it’s moving me towards. Trying to stay happy but smiling less