Over one calendar year, Rubin tries dozens of techniques and tactics to boost her own happiness — everything from starting a collection of bluebirds to cleaning up her apartment each night before bed.
“… I grasped two things: I wasn’t as happy as I could be, and my life wasn’t going to change unless I made it change. In that single moment, with that realization, I decided to dedicate a year to trying to be happier.”
What you need to know
If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all guide to “happy,” this isn’t it. The Happiness Project doesn’t pretend to be a definitive guide. Instead, it is one woman’s series of experiments to boost her own happiness. Some of these seem quite logical; others feel totally random.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to follow along with Rubin’s experiment and as she finds out what works and what doesn’t. The book also has some profound insights into happiness and the human condition. I found a bunch of things I wanted to try like purposefully trying to make new friends.
Borrowing from the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, Rubin comes up with four happiness theories of her own.
- To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
- One of the best ways to make myself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself.
- The days are long, but the years are short.
- If I think I’m happier, I am happier.
I read this book while I was planning to launch My Instruction Manual. As a result, Rubin’s ideas have influenced a few of my posts over the past week. I was also motivated by Rubin’s decision to post almost every day when she launched a new blog. I was originally planning to write a couple times a week, but Rubin inspired me to aim for the everyday habit.