Podcast 70: Very Special Episode–What’s the Best Advice You Ever Got?

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

This is episode 70, and every tenth episode is a Very Special Episode. This episode is all about advice! Our listeners sent in so much great advice that they’d received.

HenryRecordingLibraryUpdate: This is our last episode with our beloved producer Henry Molofsky, who’s taking a new, exciting job — news that’s both happy and sad. We’re excited for him, but we’ll miss him. We’re looking forward to working with Kristen Meinzer.

Try This at Home: On the advice theme — remember to ask for advice. People can really be helpful.

Advice: So much great advice! Our listeners passed along terrific advice about work, relationships, and life.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I keep forgetting to do my #GretchenRubinReads Facebook post on Sunday night. I love doing this, to show the books that I finished that week, but I often forget to do it.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth had a great time at Medieval Times.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

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, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Also check out Little Passports, www.littlepassports.com/happier. Keep your kids busy with this award-winning subscription for kids — they get a monthly package in the mail that highlights a new global destination. To save 40% on your first month’s subscription, enter the promo code HAPPY.


1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #70

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 toHappier 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.

HAPPIER listening!

  • Weronika

    Elisabeth – how did You disappoint me today 🙁 Why did You publicise this absurd http://www.medievaltimes.com? It is so misinforming! Who has ever seen medieval knights eating potatoes and corn??? They were imported to Europe only after the discovery of America! Please be more careful what do You promote!

    • ChrisD

      Though interestingly I read an academic paper examining plants on the cover of a French book of hours in the early 1500’s which showed a type of pea from the US. The stated aim of the explorers WAS to bring back plants and having discovered the continent in 1492. it seems plants were being brought back and cultivated here in Europe within a few years. And if by ‘Medieval Knights’ you are thinking of plate armour, this peaked in the 15th and early 16th centuries, so there could be more overlap than you think.

      • Weronika

        I am familiar with the fact that it is highly probable that America was reached by people from Europe many years before 1492. I also saw images of species that don’t look european, earlier than we officially know they came to Europe, but in many cases like that it has already been explaned. Here I can enumerate for instance an example of Anunciation by Leonardo da Vinci – a picture on which We can percieve a tree looking like american araucaria, imported to Europe many years after a picture had been painted. The explanation is that it is not araucaria but a normal european pine pruned in these original way. I am strongly convinced that We should stick to the facts especially when We cater something conceived to be both entertainment and a source o knowledge to families with children. Otherwise we will never liberate us from the effigy of ancient Romans eating tomatoes and bananas… And no, by medieval knights I do not mean the ones in plate armour. I mean the ones living from 476 to 1492.

        • ChrisD

          I just heard the podcast yesterday and it turns out medieval times is just a themed kind of dinner theatre? Reading cracked it seems all our knowledge of everything comes from Hollywood and is not historically accurate or even scientifically accurate, so I think the whole ‘entertainment should be accurate’ ship has probably sailed.
          I was referring to Columbus discovery but I’m fascinated the way, over my lifetime, Vikings in America has gone from a ‘crazy’ theory to an established fact. Jared Diamond in Collapse didn’t mention them bringing plants over, beyond trees for building.

          • Weronika

            Doesn’t matter if in the concern is a themed dinner, Hollywood film, book, or anything else. When we deal with a history We must always be accurate, otherwise We risk a lot…

  • I loved this episode! So much great advice! I started thinking about the own advice that I’ve received. I thought of two that have really stuck out to me. The first came right before my husband and I got married from my future sister in law. She told me “never talk bad about your spouse” that there were going to be things that he did that I didn’t like or that made mad/annoyed me, but to talk about those things with him, or just keep them to myself. You don’t need to be talking about the bad things, focus on the good. This has really helped me see my husband in a different light, even he does do something that annoys me, I don’t run to anyone to tell them. I talk to him about it.

    The second piece of advice that I got was from my husband, also before we got married. I was having a really crappy day and he said “no bad days, just hard ones” Because there really is good in everyday, but there will be hard days. That helped me see my ‘bad’ days differently and it really changed my perspective for the better!

    Thanks for the podcast!

  • Lori

    Listening to this podcast yesterday during my run I have to say my favorite piece of advice was in your podcast – from your Dad saying be with someone kind. I only wish I had heard this advice sooner in life – I have learned the lesson but have not heard it put as advice in perfect words like this. I will be passing this advice on to both of my children though as it is so true and so important in life! So thanks ladies for the great podcast you put out there – and thanks to your Dad for the great advice.

  • stephanie

    I had a thought about Gretchen’s problem with remembering to post the photo of the books she’s read that week onto Facebook and the challenge of the alarm clock/ post-it, etc. I know that Sunday works well for your posting schedule but clearly it’s not working well in the rest of your schedule. Maybe just moving the picture taking to another day when you are around an alarm/ computer/ camera would be easier and less dramatic than working around keeping this to a Sunday schedule.

  • Kayla

    Another great episode! I am in total agreement with the advice to admit your mistakes. I worked with a very difficult boss once. Everyone was so afraid to admit to her when they made a mistake, so they tried to hide it. I found that if I went to her as soon as I made a mistake, admitted it, apologized, and offered my solution for rectifying it, it completely disarmed her. I never suffered her wrath like my colleagues.

    I do understand Gretchen’s hesitation to apologize when something is not your fault, but I agree with Elizabeth on this one. I work as an administrative assistant for an organization, and I receive all e-mails about problems with the website. I have very little control over the website itself (and often the problem is something on the user’s end), but it is my policy to respond to e-mails with, “I’m sorry you’re having problems with our website” and then offer a potential solution. Or, I often have to wait for my higher-ups to make a decision before I can respond to people’s e-mails. Even though it’s not my fault, I just say, “I apologize for the delay.” I’ve found that it helps people feel like their frustrations are heard, and it costs me very little to apologize, even though I know the fault is not mine.

  • Savannah

    HELP!! I am still searching for my ‘something special’ for the Summer! Argh.. I really wanted to do something special for the Summer.

  • Zoë

    it sometimes is a bit difficult to understand everyone with the phone messages…

  • Abi

    Hi – could Gretchen link the Facebook picture posting to a Sunday night routine? My kids get their school bags ready on Sunday night, clean their school shoes etc while I do a meal plan for the week. It ties the jobs together that no one really wants to do, but we all benefit from them being done together. Many thanks for the amazing podcasts. Abi (Chippenham, U.K.)

  • Moira McDermott

    To remind yourself to post #GretchenRubinReads on Sunday night, set up an alert in a calendar app instead of an alarm. You can set your notifications preferences (at least in iOS) so that the alert shows up and requires an action before proceeding. This way you wouldn’t have to worry about whether you had your phone with you right when the alert went off or having an alarm disturb some other activity.

  • meliors

    I recently gave some advice that was well received. A single colleague was on the verge of signing for a very large mortgage for her first home but i encouraged her to calculate how much the 20 years of interest would add up to and to make a budget. She was surprised interest would more than double the purchase price in the long term and repayments would severely restrict her choices in the short to medium.
    This weekend she is moving into a tiny house she owns freehold and planning a sabatical to volunteer with dolphins next summer. She thanked me for the advice that ‘changed her life’. Its advice I’ve offered to others in the past but never to so dramatic effect.

  • Pingback: Bloom Where You Are Planted - A Cup of Catherine()

  • Anna

    I so loved the line: ‘You can flower wherever you are planted’. I’m about to start a big house move. This is going to be my motto for the coming year!

  • Michelle Potter

    Gretchen, I set up reminders by using the alarm function on my Fitbit. I read in the Happiness Project that you tried out a pedometer but chose not to continue it, but a Fitbit is so much more than a pedometer. Mine is also a watch, gets text messages and alerts from my phone, and best of all, has silent alarms! It just quietly vibrates on my wrist, sure to get my attention but doesn’t bother anyone else.

    Also, if you do set alarms on your phone, or even if you just go places where an unexpected call, text, or alarm would be intrusive, you should find out if your phone has a Do Not Disturb feature. I’m on Android, and my phone has a button right in the top menu that takes my phone in and out of DND mode. It even has settings and options. You can just quiet calls and messages while allowing alarms (in case you need to get some work done undisturbed, but need to be reminded when to stop and leave for an appointment), you can quiet absolutely everything, you can allow calls and messages from specific people, etc. If your phone doesn’t have this feature built in, I’m sure there’s an app for that!