Welcome to the final discussion session for The Happiness Project Read Along! Here are the first three:
This week we’re talking about Chapters 10, 11, and 12, as well as the book as a whole. Join us in the comments or post on your blog and add it to the link list below.
1. Of the three topics covered in 10, 11, and 12 (Mindfulness, Attitude, and Happiness), which area would you like to improve the most in 2014? Why? Would some of the techniques that worked for Gretchen work for your situation?
Reading The Happiness Project was such a great way to start the year. Happiness has been an issue, for me, all month long — whether I’m feeling good or feeling bad. I no longer take the former for granted or the latter as inevitable. In both situations, I ask questions:
- What contributed to this feeling?
- How can I improve things?
- If I’m not feeling good, what’s the problem?
2. What idea from chapters 10, 11, and 12 of The Happiness Project could you use today that would likely make you happier?
It made me happy, just now, to take the Newcastle Personality Assessor test (as presented in The Guardian) that Gretchen mentioned on pages 264 and 265 in the Attitude chapter. I guessed, in advance, that my biggest difference with Gretchen’s results would be in the area of Agreeableness. Otherwise, my results are much the same as hers, which explains why there was so much I got from this book, but some things that didn’t apply at all to me.
Here were my results:
Openness to experience: medium-high
Did you try this test?
3. What idea from chapters 10, 11, and 12 of The Happiness Project are you pretty sure wouldn’t make you happier at all, even if it seems to work for Gretchen?
Since I’m pretty much the epitome of Midwest Nice (see Agreeableness above), the Good Manners section held little for me. My mother would be proud.
4.The last two questions are borrowed from The Happiness Project Reading Guide at HarperCollins. Gretchen writes, “Everyone’s happiness project will be different.” How would your happiness project be different from Gretchen’s? How might it be the same?
I don’t think I could handle a year’s worth of adding resolutions and tracking them, but The Happiness Project influenced how I set up my planning for the year — with an attempt to touch on lots of different areas and to make themes for the different seasons. We’ll see how it works out.
I’m skeptical of long-term plans. The Conscientiousness from the test, above, includes many experiences of making elaborate plans, only to have them disintegrate on the first step. But my scheme just survived its first shock and came through it. I remembered, at an appropriate moment, Gretchen’s advice to Identify the problem. That helped me see that I was making myself miserable by consistently failing to meet a goal. I changed the goal to something attainable and, instantly, I became much happier.
5. What was the one most valuable thing you learned from The Happiness Project about happiness—for yourself?
That happiness is something I can seek and find by increasing my awareness of what makes me happy and what doesn’t. And that this is a worthy goal because being happy makes me more emotionally and physically available to others.
Are you reading The Happiness Project? What would you like to talk about?