Podcast 248: Write an Aphorism, Use an App to Find Out the UV Index, and a Deep Dive into “Food Pushing.”

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Write some aphorisms.

As with just about everything, people argue about definitions. Here’s how I define itAn aphorism is a concise, powerful, general observation attributed to a particular person. Because they’re sharp and short, they’re grand generalizations, and by saying little, they manage to suggest a lot.

Elizabeth recently came up with a good one the other day: “It’s not what you do, it’s what you offer.”

Listen to yourself, you may have honed a big idea over time—challenge yourself to think, “How can I convey this idea in the fewest possible words?”

For me, it’s an exciting intellectual challenge to try to distill a big thought into one sentence. Here are a few that I’ve written recently:

  • The body can be denied, but it won’t be ignored.
  • You can’t gorge on perfume.
  • No garden, no weeds.
  • Red is the salt of color.

I’m collecting proverbs, and in particular, “proverbs of the professions.” Please send these to me if you know some good examples!

Happiness Hack

In episode 244, we talked about the benefits and risks of sunshine. Many listeners pointed out that if you want to check the UV index where you are, most weather apps nowadays have that information—also listeners mentioned the Dark Sky app and the UV Lens app.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, when reviewing the current UV index:

  • 0-2, you can safely be outside with minimal sun protection.
  • 3-7, protection needed. Seek shade during late morning through mid-afternoon. Use SPF and protective clothing, broad-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • 8+,  extra protection. Do all of the above, even more. Be very careful.

Food Pushing Deep Dive

In episode 243, I asked, “If you press people to eat and drink when they say they don’t want to, what’s in your mind, what’s your experience?”

We heard from many people who explained their perspective when they press others to take food.

Seems like pressure comes in a few flavors:

  • “I want you to enjoy yourself and know that you’re wonderful just the way you are, even if you say you’re trying to change.”
  • “I want you to participate for this moment to feel complete and special.”
  • “I’m a moderator who feels uncomfortable when others deny themselves or declare certain things off limits, because to me, that seems rigid and unhealthy.”
  • “I want to indulge myself, and I’ll feel more comfortable doing that if you indulge too.”

I quote from Oscar Wilde: Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live. It is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”

Many people said, “I’m not a food pusher, but others may perceive it that way.” The fact is, if they perceive it that way, you are a food pusher.

I also quote from Joseph Addison: “The important question is not, what will yield to man a few scattered pleasures, but what will render his life happy on the whole amount.”

Elizabeth’s Demerit

RSVP wishful thinking.” She wants to go to an event, so she says she’ll go, even when she knows she’s not being realistic and she can’t do it.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

I give myself a gold star for thinking of sending a little update to two friends who had to miss our law school reunion.


  • Are you thinking ahead to holiday gift-giving? Most of my books make great gifts for friends, family members, students, teachers, coworkers, and more. If you want to request a free, signed bookplate, request now by clicking this link to make sure you receive it before the holidays. 
  • If you’d like to present an in-person workshop with a group of adults to teach them about my Four Tendencies framework, learn more at workshop.gretchenrubin.com.




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