Podcast 159: Do Something Badly, Tips for Dealing with Renovation Upheaval, and an Interview about Work Life with Adam Grant.


In episode 155, we talked about “Choosing a signature scent.” Many listeners got in touch to urge people not to wear perfumes and scents. One solution? Choose a signature scent that’s not something that you wear, but a scent that you find out in the world. A reader wrote to us about how the smell of lavender always reminded her of her grandmother, because her grandmother loves that fragrance so much — it was her grandmother’s signature scent. 

Try This at Home

Do something badly. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. (Side note: this quotation is often attributed to G. K. Chesterton, but I couldn’t track down an official citation.) Elizabeth and Sarah talk about the aim to “suck at something” on Happier in Hollywoodepisode 4

Happiness Hack

To fight clutter, Ruth suggests putting everything that’s out of place into a basket and taking the basket into an uncluttered room to sort through its content. Seeing the items in this way makes it much easier to deal with them.


We talk to Wharton professor, organizational psychologist, and bestselling writer Adam Grant about his new podcast with TED about work: WorkLife with Adam Grant. Spoiler alert: Adam is an Upholder. His Try This at Home/Try This at Work: Schedule a weekly meeting with your sweetheart. 

Listener Questioner

Anne, who has just moved into her first house, asks if Elizabeth has any tips for dealing with the upheaval of a renovation. Some strategies we discuss:

  • Throw out the idea of an end date.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  • Embrace the “season of sacrifice.”
  • If it’s possible, consider having one overflow room, so clutter is contained.
  • To make it easier to get rid of trash, schedule a trash pick-up.
  • Use this transition time to deploy the “Strategy of the Clean Slate” to change an important habit — this is a very powerful strategy for habit change, but one that’s rarely available to us.
  • Remember, your renovation will last longer and cost more than you expect.

Demerit: I got crabby and made the (supposedly terrifying) “mean face” when we were traveling to Quebec City. Travel brings out the worst in me. 

Gold Star: Elizabeth gives Adam a gold star for doing all the paperwork necessary to buy her a new used car.


We always ask our listeners to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast, and a listener suggested that I frame these requests in terms that will resonate best with each of the Four Tendencies. Great idea. Upholders, go ahead and put it on calendar and get it done; Questioners, we’re making this request because this kind of feedback really does encourage new listeners to  discover our show; Obligers, we’re counting on you, and we see when people do rate, review, and subscribe; Rebels, do whatever you want to do — we just wanted to let you know that if you did feel like doing it, you’d be a great supporter. 

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