I recently finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This had been on my list of books to read (which is a long list), and was happy when it was suggested by someone in a book group I belong to as our next book to read. I was extra happy when my library had a copy, and even more happy when I was able to check it out electronically on my Kindle.
Which means I was off to a good start, because I was happy to read the happiness book! I like working on being a better person. I think it’s important, and something not enough people do. Working on being happier means that we are more pleasant to other people – something I think is very important. Rubin asks this early on, whether it was selfish for her to take on a personal happiness proejct, but I agree with her, it’s not. We all know a negative person who complains frequently and goes on and on about different problems or issues in their life. (My favorite negative person actually thinks they are super positive!) These people drain us, so happiness seems like a good goal to me.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit through the first 2/3 but then it lost steam for me. I felt like the last few months (chapters) added little, but I appreciate her wanting to do a 12 month project. Also, there were a LOT of quotes, and I love quotes, but it was a little overwhelming. That being said, I DO recommend reading this book if happiness is something you are interested in. She does a great job of thinking of the different sources of happiness in our life, and addressing each.
If I was going to choose my favorite insight from this book it would be the concept of “under -buying” – delaying purchases, buying the minimum, etc. (Click here to read Rubin’s definition) I am an under-buyer and I had never thought about how this could lead to decreased happiness. Over the last year I had started a habit of stocking up on certain groceries when they were on sale. I attributed the happiness this brought me to the money savings (which does make me happy), but then I realized how happy it makes me to see the extra groceries in the garage that are there if we need them. No stress or worry about running out during the week! My under-buying also leads me to not use items. For example, I almost never use my favorite blush because then I would run out and need to buy more – this is so silly because then I’m not getting the joy of having my favorite blush!
I think doing a happiness project myself is a great idea. I don’t have the time to spend on it that Rubin does (and most of us don’t), but that doesn’t mean we can’t all take on our own version of a happiness project. The biggest challenge will be identifying WHAT our happiness project would entail. I’m still thinking about mine, which I think would involve, at the very least, making more time for friends, more meditation, reducing my underbuying, and organization of those messy spots in my house.
What makes you happy? What would you include in your own happiness project?