Tag Archives: A Little Happier

A Little Happier: My Former Roommate’s Ex-Boyfriend’s Lesson in How to Be Successful.

As I think back on the great advice I’ve received over the years, I’m surprised to realize that some of the best advice came from very random sources — books I skimmed, people I hardly knew.

Like my former law-school roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s advice. It has guided me for years — and I never even met the guy! And yet I’ve thought about his advice so many times: “Successful people are willing to do things that unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

What do you think of that advice — do you agree?

And have you ever picked up important advice from an unlikely source?

I mention the “Happiness Newsletter,” my free email newsletter. Every few weeks, I’ll send you highlights from my blog, Facebook Page, podcast, and great articles that caught my attention.
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A Little Happier: Sometimes, We Can Be Generous by Taking.

You never know what you’ll remember…sometimes, the smallest incidences stand out in our memories forever.

I’ve never forgotten this brief encounter with a woman on an airplane, back from when my older daughter Eliza was a new baby.

With greater age and experience, I now know that feeling of just wanting to hold a baby. I wish I’d say “yes” when that nice woman offered to hold Eliza for me.

Agree? Sometimes, we can be generous by taking.

I mention Better Than Before, my book about habit change. You can find more information here.

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A Little Happier: A Happiness Lesson from the Classic Picture Book “A Bargain for Frances.”

I love teaching stories of all kinds, and I find them in all sorts of places. For instance, picture books.

In Russell Hoban’s brilliant picture book A Bargain for Frances, Frances the badger get tricked by her friend Thelma into making a bad bargain — skullduggery involving a “real china tea set with pictures on it in blue.”

In a thrilling moment of vindication, Frances tricks Thelma right back.

When Thelma complains that she will have to be careful when she plays with Frances, Frances observes, “Being careful is not as much fun as being friends. Do you want to be careful, or do you want to be friends?

An important question for adults as well as children. Sometimes, it’s not worth being friends if we have to be careful.

My close friend experienced this — have you?

Do you remember reading the Frances books? As much as I love A Bargain for Frances, I think Bread and Jam for Frances is my favorite.

I mentioned my list of my 81 favorite works of children’s and young-adult literature. It’s here — alas, it doesn’t include picture books. I should write a separate list for those!

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A Little Happier: A Tough Happiness Lesson from Hollywood’s Judd Apatow.

Ever since I read Sick in the Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy, by Hollywood producer, writer, director, and actor Judd Apatow (This is 40, Knocked Up, Freaks and Geeks, Girls, etc.), I’ve been haunted by this story.

During the course of his interview with the legendary James L. Brooks, Judd Apatow mentions how tough it was for him when his parents split up in 1984, when he was 13. His mother moved out.

He says, “She had a bit of a mental break after the divorce. She claimed that she thought she was going to leave and come right back, and my dad immediately moved his girlfriend in. Right before she died, she told me, ‘I always thought I was going to come right back. I always thought it was going to be a couple of weeks.’”

This strikes me as a great happiness reminder: we have to be very careful not to assume that we can predict how other people will react, especially to big dramatic gestures. We may have to deal with consequences that we didn’t predict.

Have you ever made a big gesture — with unexpected consequences?

 

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.

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A Little Happier: Sometimes, the Best Solution Is To Do Nothing at All.

My mother made this observation about an air-conditioner vent, but I’ve found that it’s widely applicable: Sometimes, the best solution is to do nothing at all.

In the photo, you can see the vent. What do you think — were we right not to worry about a vent cover? I never notice the vent, but then again, it’s true that I almost never notice that kind of thing.

Have you ever realized that instead of coming up with some complex solution, you could just…do nothing? It’s astonishing to me how often this works.

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.

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

 

 Happier listening!