I have just finished reading 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin.
In her book she chooses to focus on one area of her life each month to reflect on and make changes, originally in blog form.
I didn't love the book.
I did like parts of it.
One disappointment for me was that the author chose not to explore meditation. I personally felt like she was kinda taking the long way round by omitting this :-)
She also didn't want to spend more time in nature, as some of her friends suggested, which for me is a core contributor to feeling good.
However, she did explore mindfulness and gratitude which encouraged me to engage with the book, plus she cited some of my favourite parenting books and strategies which helped me to feel rapport.
It was up and down for me. We have some values and interests in common but some just didn't resonate at all.
Despite my less than raving review, I figure that the purpose of the book is to prompt me to make up my own mind; it is the author Gretchen Rubin's journey, I can choose to agree or disagree :-)
So, what were my memorable takeaways from this bestseller?
There are two that stand out.
1. Shield the joyous. You can find the blog entry here, it's a little different in the book but still the same message... do-you-shield-your-joyous-ones.
2. Pursue a passion. In this chapter Gretchen explored making more time for books in her life. She also recognised that some people don't know how to answer this question in the first place...
"It seems too large and unanswerable that they feel paralyzed. If so, a useful clue to finding a passion to pursue, whether for work or play, is to "Do what you do."
What you enjoyed doing as a ten year old, or choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon, is a strong indicator of your passion.
One blog reader pointed to an even more basic indicator of your passion: "Actually very similar advice from a physics professor of mine, who said, "What do you think about when you're sitting on the toilet? Because that's what you want to think about.'"
Do what you do is helpful because it points you to examining your behavior rather than you self conception and therefore may be a clearer guide to your preferences."
I like this.
I think there is a time for goals and creativity and progress and there is a also a time to just "Do what you do".
One thing that I do is listen to music. Lots and lots of music! I've been posting one song a day since I realised how much joy it gives me to share one of the many songs I'm listening to daily.
I actually do have a Sound Track to My Life....I can't not do it :-) I live it!
So...shield the joyous and do what you do.
And borrow The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin if you feel like a good, wordy dose of self reflection haha.