Gretchen Rubin dedicated a year of her life searching for satisfaction. One day she realized that "time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." Her journey and conclusions are summarised in her inspiring book "The Happiness Project" - the story of her approach to changing your life.
While Gretchen Rubin, a former lawyer and the author of New York Times Bestsellers, started her research she focused on three questions:
1. Is it possible to make myself happier?
According to current research in the determination of a person’s level of happiness, genetics counts for about 50 percent, life circumstances such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, health, occupation, and religious affiliation, account for about 10 to 20 percent; and the remainder is a product of how a person thinks and acts.
My conclusion: yes, it is possible. The decision how to live my life affects my happiness.
2. What is happiness?
Aristotle declared happiness to be the summer bonus, the chief good; people desire other things, such as power or wealth or losing ten pounds, because they believe they will lead to happiness, but their real goal is happiness. One study showed that, all over the world, when asked what they want most from life - and what they want most for their children - people answered that they want happiness. Another important conclusion is:
The opposite of happiness is unhappiness, not depression.
Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likeable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens. I wanted to be one of those people.
3. How exactly, can I make myself happier?
Could I discover a startling new secret about happiness? Probably not. People have been thinking about happiness for thousands of years, and the great truths about happiness have already been laid out by the most brilliant minds in history. Everything important has been said before. The laws of happiness are as fixed as the laws of chemistry. But even though I wasn't making up these laws, I needed to grapple with them for myself.
It's like dieting. We all know the secret of dieting - eat better, eat less, exercise more - it's the application that's challenging.
I had to create a scheme to put happiness ideas into practice in my life.
Gretchen Rubin, "The Happiness Project", 2015, HarperCollinsPublishers, USA, 1 pp.