Gretchen Rubin

More Paradoxes of a Happiness Project: I Desire to Not Want.

More Paradoxes of a Happiness Project: I Desire to Not Want.

One of my Secrets of Adulthood (cribbed from Niels Bohr) is "The opposite of a great truth is also true." As I’ve worked on my happiness project, I’ve recognized many paradoxes.

In Marc Lesser’s book Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, I read a fascinating list of such paradoxes by Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer whose title is “Jolly Good Fellow.”

I was quite struck by his list – and also by the number of times that my resolutions and paradoxes overlapped with his.

His list, with my comments:

I strive hard to be lazy. I resolve to Force myself to wander.
I’m selfishly compassionate. This reminds me of the Second Splendid Truth!
I desire to not want. Oh, I recognize that one.
Sometimes, I’m not myself.
Often, I’m not here, where I am. I have a big problem with this one, mindfulness.
I actively engage in nonactivity. I resolve to Schedule time to play.
I feel spiritual about my earthly desires. I loooove this one.
I sometimes fail at failing. I have to remind myself to Enjoy the fun of failure.
I make careless mistakes carefully.
Sometimes, my mind is full of nothing.
My own arrogance humbles me.
I’ve become a famous unknown.
I sometimes pity the more fortunate.

Have you found any paradoxes in your happiness project?

* I get a big kick out of the Art of Manliness blog, especially because I don't actually worry about my manliness. (When I read a site like How Not to Act Old, I end up thinking about my wardrobe, my slang, my music, etc.)


* Seems like I had something I wanted to mention...hmmm, what was it? Oh, right, MY BOOK IS COMING OUT IN A WEEK! Yipes. As a thank-you, if you pre-order, I'll send you a pack of bonus materials -- just email me at gretchenrubin1[at], and I'll send it to you. More info here.


icon emailNewsletterLight

Get monthly newsletter updates from Gretchen.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Monthly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free monthly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.