Podcast 117: Are You a “Revealer” or a “Concealer,” Write a Haiku, and How Introverted Parents Can Manage an Extroverted Child.

Update: Elizabeth’s new podcast Happier in Hollywood launches tomorrow, May 18! In the first episode, Liz (yes, she’s “Liz” on that show) and Sarah pick a new work mantra and talk to their agent about one of the worst calls he ever had to make to them. Listen, rate, review, tell your friends, have some green juice while you tune in.

Happiness Hack:  Katy suggests, “YouTube it.”  YouTube videos explain how to do just about anything.

Try This at Home:  Write a haiku. A haiku is a form of three-line Japanese poem with one five-syllable line; one seven-syllable line; one five-syllable line.

Here are my two haiku:

Where did the time go?

My girl is off to college.

Days are long; years, short.

I express this idea in a different form in my one-minute video “The Years Are Short.”

Central Park in bloom.

This year, I made sure to go.

Spring passes too fast.

Elizabeth’s haiku:

Nerves are a-flutter

Happier in Hollywood...

What will it become?

Post your haiku on Twitter! Tag it as #happierhaiku so we can all enjoy them.

Know Yourself Better: Harriet suggests asking, “Are you a ‘revealer’ or a ‘concealer?‘” I write about this distinction in Better Than Before — for some people, announcing a habit change makes it easier to follow through, while for other people, it makes it tougher.

If you don’t know your Tendency, take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

Listener Question: Cara asks, “How do we as introverted parents deal with our very extroverted child?” This question brings up the issue of the extroversion/introversion difference, which we discuss with Susan Cain in episode 107.

Demerit: Yet again, I “snapped” — this time, I made a snappy comment to my husband Jamie while we were planning the summer.

Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the Amazon TV show Mozart in the Jungle.

Two Resources:

  1.  I created the free Better app for people to exchange ideas and tips about the Four Tendencies, and Better app also makes it super-easy to form accountability groups of all kinds.
  2. Subscribe to Happier in Hollywood!

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As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #117

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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.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that on May 18.

HAPPIER listening!

  • Jackie Chirinos

    I came up with this haiku as I drove around my 2 year old son who refused to nap:

    Wheels quickly turning
    Baby stubbornly won’t nap
    Please go to sleep now

    Love the podcast! Thanks for sharing the great idea.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! Love it.

  • Denita

    I posted my haiku (x2!) on instagram. My first Try This At Home I’ve actually tried!! Fun!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific! I’m off to read them now.

      • Denita

        Sorry, I just realized you probably wouldn’t be able to see mine because my account is private. So here are my summer inspired haiku:
        The breath of summer.
        Smelling the sweet floral scent.
        I feel contentment.

        High noon, sticky back.
        Far too hot for comfort, but
        better than too cold.

        • gretchenrubin

          Love it!

  • Sheri

    Hi! Re: extroverted kids. I have one too 🙂 one major extrovert and one major introvert. We started something this school year where we play the game 2 truths and a lie when they come home from school. This keeps the extrovert focused on 2- 3 things that happened during the day and gives the introvert a safe structured chance to share as well.

  • Cindy May

    Have you ever read
    Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence by

    Peyton Price

    I came across it in the new books section of my local library awhile back and really enjoyed it, though it might not mean the same for you as a city dweller.

    Once I started thinking about writing my own Haiku, the ideas really started to flow. Here is what’s been on my mind lately:

    This week so boring

    Just going through the motions

    Want more excitement

    Feeling unfulfilled

    Wanting more challenge at work
    Paycheck is good though

    Hot weather all week

    ​Not sleeping very well now

    Allergies bad too

    Wish I had more time

    So many projects to do

    Frustration abounds

    ​The more chores to do

    The more ideas multiply
    Clean house or do art?

  • Cindy May

    Have you ever read “Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence” by Peyton Price?

    I came across it awhile back in the new books section of my local library and really enjoyed it, though it might not be as meaningful to you as a city dweller.

    Once I started thinking about writing my own Haiku, the ideas really started to flow. Here’s my favorite:

    The more chores I do
    The more I feel inspired
    Clean house, or make art?

  • Sara Harney

    As I was feeding my daughter this morning, I decided to give a haiku a try!

    Love for my baby
    Lily is a gift from God
    Miracles happen

    • gretchenrubin

      Beautiful. So powerful, in just 17 syllables.

  • Nancy Nieberding

    Obliger-concealer here: I like to have what I call “stealth goals”!

  • Judith French

    I’ve decided to start my daily haiku journal today! I immediately pressed pause on the podcast and created my first haiku.

    We will sleep on clouds
    Thanks to my hubby’s surprise
    Lets meet in our dreams <3

    My husband had just text me to tell me he ordered the new mattress I wanted and it was going to arrive TONIGHT! SAME DAY DELIVERY! Whoooo no more aching back!

    Thank you for the wonderful tip! I've been wanting to journal but feel so overwhelmed by that task, even the one-sentence one; but this feels so much more fun and playful!

  • Alaimh Counselling

    This is a great post. Thanks for sharing this.

    Alaimh Counselling

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  • Donna Kostel

    Love, love, love Mozart in the jungle!! Because of it I remembered how much I love classical music. I am now a season ticket holder to the Chicago symphony and even bought an oboe which I haven’t played for 30 years.

  • Minami Tateyama

    Loved the idea of writing haiku! If you want to try creating a bit longer Japanese poem, you can also write tanka, which is form of 5 lines. The first three lines are the same as haiku, one five-syllable line, one seven-syllable line, one five-syllable line. And in tanka, you can just add two more lines of seven syllables. In this way you can put more specific story into a poem!

  • Lauri Wright

    Reading 2016 YA novel by Sarah Dooley “Free Verse.” The main character, who is in 7th grade and faced so much suffering, finds writing haiku is a positive method of releasing her sadness. What a happy coincidence that I am reading this book after listening to the podcast.

  • Melissa Skinnell

    Loved this episode! I read “Quiet” after the interview with Sara Fain in an earlier episode and understanding my introversion has helped me forgive myself for many of my tendencies – parenting and otherwise. I have at least one extraverted child and she is fabulous but exhausting to two introverted parents. She “eats a big lunch” as an old boss used to say, meaning she needs a lot more action than we do. So sometimes we have to take turns to keep up with her activity level. A lot of physical activity works well for her too. For me, quiet time/nap time is a must most weekend days!

  • Kari Lavelle

    Love the idea of the mindful haiku!
    Listener question idea: I’m not an extrovert but found myself more introverted when my kids were younger. I discovered that Hide & Seek is the perfect game- high on connection with my kids, low on actual interaction with them. Find a good closet and enjoy the alone time! 😉

  • Julee Kepley Nunley

    My recommendation for Cara and her extroverted child is to get the child interested in audiobooks. We started listening to audiobooks on car trips a few years ago and they have been a sanity saver. Now my children listen to them at home too. It’s always a good way to get some quiet time and has also contributed their great love of books. The first book we listened to was Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. It’s a great story for young kids and the audiobook was very well done.

  • Anne

    Just caught up on this episode on the way to work… my haiku for today:

    Last week of fourth grade
    Students driving me crazy
    Yet bye makes me cry

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it!

  • Leah S

    I also listen to The Moth Radio Hour podcast, and there was a story this week about a man who wrote haiku to deal with road noise outside of his apartment!


  • Teresa R

    Jaime’s prank “answers”
    My husband does it also
    Makes me feel stabby.

  • Tori

    Listening to the episode about haiku as I was walking my 2 senior dogs…inspired me.
    Old dogs walk slow now
    But we still stick to our route
    All too soon no more

    • gretchenrubin


  • Sherry

    So thrilled to hear the introvert parent/extrovert child question and came to scour the comments for any additional tips. Please do a follow up on the podcast!
    What I am trying to do is if I have any quiet time to not fill it with chores and errands if I can help it. I think I need to drink up the quiet and save the errands for when the kids are with me, needing stimuli. Even though errands are so much easier alone, I think I need the alone, still time more than efficiency at this stage.

  • Yana

    Here goes my very first haiku:

    River’s not moving
    Suddenly, a waterfall
    Nature is mysterious.

  • Rachel Meyer

    My kid is a brat.
    Sometimes want to exchange him.
    Maybe I’ll miss this?

  • Nancy Brownell Loomis

    inspired by my walk today:

    Walking the rail trail
    find berries along the way
    Yum! I’m a bear now