383: Reflect on Your One-Word Theme, Talk to a Rebel Who Wants to Switch Jobs, and a “Cool” Hack

Congratulations to the brilliant Chris Guillebeau! He will release his 2,000th consecutive episode of his terrific podcast Side Hustle School on June 23! What a milestone. He’s a Rebel, by the way.

Try This at Home

Reflect on your one-word theme for the year. Some of our previous choices of one-word themes:

  • Elizabeth: “Free Time,” “Style,” “Hot Wheels,” “Novel,” “Home,” “Control,” “#6,” “Lighter,” and last year, Butterfly.”
  • Gretchen: “Upgrade,” “Bigger,” “Lighten Up,” “Re-purpose,” “Delegate,” “Infrastructure,” “Growth,” and last year, “Open.”

In episode 358, we talked about our choices for this year. Being halfway through the year is a good reminder to review. I mention the Calendar of Catalysts.

Photo of Gretchen wearing her "salt" t-shirt

Gretchen’s one-word themeSalt.I mention the book Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky (AmazonBookshop). I read a few quotations:

Do you know of a cure for me?”“Why yes,” he said, “I know of a cure for everything: salt water.””Salt water?” I asked him.”Yes,” he said, “in one way or another. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea.”
—”The Deluge at Norderney” in Isak Dinesen,’s Seven Gothic Tales (AmazonBookshop)

“Sugar cares only about itself, salt brings out the best in others.”
—“Salt” in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Summer (AmazonBookshop)

Elizabeth’s one-word theme: Step. Ever forward! Step into the future! For her, getting two dogs was a major step.

Happiness Hack

Keep a cold pack handy. I mention what we call the “Boo Boo Bear” or the more-adult version, the FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack

Elizabeth talks about using a baby bottle drying rack to dry water bottles. I also mention my book Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness.

Four Tendencies Tip

An Obliger asks how to speak to a Rebel spouse in a way that doesn’t ignite a spirit of resistance. Don’t know if you’re an Obliger, Rebel, Upholder, or Questioner? Take the free, quick quiz here (more than 3 million people have taken the quiz) or learn more here.

Listener Question

I ask listeners: “Are you a professional smeller of some kind? Do you work in perfume, food, wine, personal products, or other kinds of products? How do you think that your work has affected your sense of smell, and vice versa?”

Demerits & Gold Stars

  • Gretchen’s Demerit: I give myself a repeat demerit for using an annoyed tone when talking to my husband Jamie.
  • Elizabeth’s Gold Star: She gives her son Jack a gold star for finishing elementary school and for thinking hard about how he wants to tackle seventh grade.


  • Try the Happier app for free—begin by tracking one aim to find the tool that works best for you or get the most out of the Happier app with a subscription. Head to thehappierapp.com to learn more.
  • Join Elizabeth and me next Wednesday, June 29th at 6 pm ET for a YouTube Live event. We’ll be talking about how we use many of the habit-change strategies covered in my book Better Than Beforethe Four Tendencies, and more. Tune in or subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/gretchenrubin.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather by Mark Seal (AmazonBookshop)
  • Gretchen: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (AmazonBookshop)




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