I Do Love Writing Manifestos. Here’s My 11-Point Manifesto for Podcasting.

As I mention in episode 76 of the Happier podcast, I love writing manifestos — and I think it’s a very valuable exercise. Whenever I try to distill my ideas into a clear, succinct list, I find that my understanding improves, and I have a much better sense of what I’m trying to do.

I’ve done a Happiness Manifesto and a Habits Manifesto. And, of course, when Elizabeth and I started our podcast, I had to write a Podcast Manifesto.

As with all my Manifestos, this one is aspirational. It’s not necessarily what I do, it’s what I try to do.

Here it is:

  1. Be clear about what we’re doing.
  2. Remember the four desires of the listener: hunger for stories; fun of companionship; desire to learn; ease of listening.
  3. Be consistent, and also surprise.
  4. We don’t have conflict, but we do have differences.
  5. The more we reveal ourselves, the more others connect with us.
  6. Beware of banter.
  7. Remember how people listen.
  8. People love to learn, and people love to teach and share.
  9. It’s good to have fans, and it’s great to have a community.
  10. Connect with listeners in as many ways as possible.
  11. A strong voice repels as well as attracts.

I find myself thinking about the points of the Manifesto often, when we’re preparing and recording each episode. Let me know if you think I’ve forgotten something for this manifesto.

Do you find it helpful to write a manifesto — for work, family life, a creative endeavor, life aims?

Podcast 76: Write Your Manifesto, Bring Your Own Condiments, the Challenges of Being Distracted by Your Phone and Picking a Wedding Reading.

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

Update: Elizabeth found a very worthless item in her kitchen. Sorry–she sent me a photo of it, and now I can’t find it anywhere.

Try This at Home: Write your own manifesto. If you want to read my Habits Manifesto or my Happiness Manifesto, just email me at podcast @ gretchenrubin dot com, and I’ll send you a copy.

Happiness Hack: Bring your own condiments. Helen, who inspired Elizabeth with this hack, recommends Yellowbird Sauce and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

Happiness Stumbling Block: Feeling distracted by your phone.

Listener Question: Sarah asks for suggestions for great wedding readings. Do you have a recommendation?

Gretchen’s combo Demerit and Gold Star: On a long car trip, I earned a gold star by doing the research ahead to identify a great podcast for us to listen to, which was Limetown;  I earned a demerit for being very short-tempered while driving (which often happens to me in the car, for reason I explain in my book Happier at Home).

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.

And if you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #76

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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!

Revealed! Book Club Choices for August. Three Terrific Books.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore. Or my favorite, visit the library!

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

Born Standing Up by Steven Martin

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

A Little Happier: Important Lesson from Dr. Seuss–It’s Fun to Have Fun, But You Have to Know How.

The Cat in the Hat said it, and it’s a truth that I feel more deeply with every year that passes: It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how — and that may take some serious reflection.

Research shows that the absence of “feeling bad” doesn’t mean that we “feel good.” We must actually strive to find sources of “feeling good.” Having fun on a regular basis is a pillar of happiness.

As you ask yourself, “How can I have more fun?” keep two things in mind:

1. Be honest about what’s actually fun for you. It’s a Secret of Adulthood: just because something is fun for someone else doesn’t mean it’s fun for you, and vice versa. Wine-tasting, skiing, baking bread, reading mysteries—I personally do not enjoy any of these “fun” activities. They’re fun for some people; not for me. Don’t try to be self-improving, and don’t plan a “fun” event based on what other people would enjoy. Make time for something that’s fun for YOU.

2. Do have real fun. I often feel so overwhelmed by tasks that I think, “The most fun would be to cross some items off my to-do list. I’d feel so much better if I could get something accomplished.” In fact, though, I just make myself feel trapped and drained. If I take time to do something that’s truly fun for me (re-read All the King’s Men for the fourth time, call my sister), I feel better able to tackle that to-do list.

In case Dr. Seuss hasn’t convinced you, I’ll also invoke Samuel Butler:

“One can bring no greater reproach against a man than to say that he does not set sufficient value upon pleasure, and there is no greater sign of a fool than the thinking that he can tell at once and easily what it is that pleases him. To know this is not easy, and how to extend our knowledge of it is the highest and most neglected of all arts and branches of education.”

An example from my own life: I always knew that I found it fun to read children’s and young-adult literature, but I never paid much attention to that passion; when I made this activity a major pastime, by acknowledging what I found fun and starting three kidlit reading groups, instead of pushing it to the corners of my life, I dramatically ramped up the fun I got from it. (Read about these groups in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.)

How about you? Have you ever had trouble finding fun, or making time for fun? It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.

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

 

Happier listening!

Do You Struggle to Give Up an Object that Once Served You Well? For Me, My Laptops.

“We conceive…a sort of gratitude for those inanimated objects, which have been the causes of great or frequent pleasure to us. The sailor, who, as soon as he got ashore, should mend [build] his fire with the plank upon which he had just escaped from a shipwreck, would seem to be guilty of an unnatural action. We should expect that he would rather preserve it with care and affection, as a monument that was, in some measure, dear to him.”

–Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

I love this passage, but the old-fashioned language may make it difficult to understand Smith’s point: when some object has done us great service, we’re reluctant to get rid of it.

Do you feel this way? I sure do.

For instance, as I write about in Happier at Home, I found it hard to say good-bye to my old laptops. We’d been through so much together! They’d worked so hard for me, we’d had so many good times together! But the old laptops were starting to take up a lot of space. I took a photograph of them, as a memento, and then sent them on their way.

On my Facebook Live video yesterday, we talked about the issue of managing mementos. Viewers suggested a lot of great hacks.

Mementos serve as important reminders of the people, places, and activities we love, and dear objects make our homes feel more homey. As long as they don’t get too overwhelming!

Do you have a possession that’s no longer useful, but is hard to relinquish, because of the part is has played? A tennis racquet you enjoyed for many years, a dead cell phone…?

Wow, I’m just realizing that in my life as a writer, I really do burn through laptops.