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  • [MUSIC]

  • EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: A lot of people are taking a stronger interest in happiness right

  • now than ever before. EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: Why wouldn't you want

  • to do something to increase your happiness? JENNIFER PELKA: I've decided that I'm actually

  • going to buy all of the women in my life this book.

  • JENNIFER PELKA: I remember hearing about the happiness project and thinking this sounds

  • so incredibly annoying, I'm never going to read it. And I ended up actually really loving

  • this book. EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: I really love the element

  • of the story that Gretchen brought to it. I felt like I was her long lost best friend.

  • Just hanging out with her and getting to know her kids, getting to know her husband.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: I read the book last year and had a chance to meet the author and

  • was really fascinated and captivated by her. And recently I decided to start my own happiness

  • project. ANGRY BOB: Here's the deal. I like this book.

  • You know why? Makes a very weird noise when you throw it against the wall.

  • GRETCHEN RUBIN: I had the idea for "The Happiness Project" when I was on the city bus in the

  • pouring rain and I thought "What do I want from life anyway? I want to be happy." But

  • I realized I had never spent any time thinking about whether I was happy or how I could be

  • happier. GRETCHEN RUBIN: This book is really a memoir

  • of thinking and researching and experimenting. So its one of these "year of" experiments.

  • JENNIFER PELKA: Every month Gretchen creates different happiness resolutions so she can

  • figure out what really makes her happy. EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: Reading "The Happiness

  • Project", the image I sometimes get is like Gretchen trying on all these different outfits.She

  • tries on the "let me clean up the house" project, "let me put on the connect with my friends"

  • one and then at the end of the day she kind of tries to put that outfit together.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: She was doing it almost as a researcher and using herself as the subject.

  • JENNIFER PELKA: I think what's so amazing about her twelve experiments is that many

  • of them..she fails at. She realizes that her happiness is not the same as other people's

  • happiness and that's ok. GRETCHEN RUBIN: Clearly I am way over the

  • top with my happiness project and part of the idea was it was like "I'll do all these

  • things so you don't have to." And my sense of it is that most people read it and they

  • take away a few things that really work for them, but they don't do the whole project

  • as systematically.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: There was lots going on in my life at the time and I could tell

  • that I was ready for a change. There's tons of self-help books out there but I think this

  • seemed very doable, involving every day changes to make a really big impact.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: So what I'm doing with the vision book is, you know, some writings

  • but a lot of visual things as well. Picture and things that inspire me or just little

  • sketches. It not a diary but rather let me start to envision my future and let me start

  • to envision my happiness.

  • EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: If you ask people why do you want to have a successful career? Why

  • do you want to learn more? Why do you want to get healthy? If you keep asking them at

  • the root of it they would say that they want to be happy.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: I can't think of one person who doesn't want to be happy. But they

  • don't pause to sort of say, "What does success look like for me? What does happiness look

  • like for me?" And so they're searching for it but they never stopped to define it for

  • themselves. ANGRY BOB: Happiness is something that doesn't

  • need to be pondered. Just do your life. Go enjoy yourself. Hang out with your friends.

  • Stop thinking about it! Stop writing about it!

  • GRETCHEN RUBIN: There's this idea that the minute that you start asking yourself if you're

  • happy you're gonna kinda trip over own feet and that you're much better off instead of

  • pursuing happiness, pursuing other things and then letting happiness come as a by-product.

  • JENNIFER PELKA: I think there are so many ways that asking yourself if you're happy

  • allows you to be happier. GRETCHEN RUBIN: If you don't remind yourself

  • that you are happy, it can just pass unnoticed right under your feet.

  • ANGRY BOB: We have it too good in this country. If you were in a third world country you're

  • worried about finding food. You're worried about running from animals or political insurgents,

  • you know? We have too much free time on our hands to engage in this asinine introspection.

  • GRETCHEN RUBIN: We really live in a very prosperous time relative to all of history and I think

  • that it's just natural when people feel safe and secure that they turn their minds to higher

  • things like happiness. ANGRY BOB: There's been a thousand books written

  • all on the same subject lines is "I have almost everything I want in my life, I need a little

  • more." JENNIFER PELKA: It is a little bit frustrating

  • that the narrator of this book truely is like pretty in control of her life and now she

  • has created this, you know, daily document to make her life incrementally that much more

  • perfect. GRETCHEN RUBIN: A lot of people felt like

  • well it was very sort of self indulgent for a person who wasn't deeply unhappy to be spending

  • time thinking about how to be happier. EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: I think the fact that

  • Gretchen comes from a slightly happy state to begin with is actually one of the biggest

  • strengths of this book. Because most people are actually in the same boat.

  • GRETCHEN RUBIN: Happiness has this really bad reputation. And a lot of people say like

  • oh well happy people are smug and self-centered, but research shows that it's when we're happier

  • ourselves that we have the emotional wherewithal to turn outward and think about other people.

  • EMILIYA ZHIVOTOVSKAYA: When you are authentically happier yourself, that resonates. That's an

  • energy that people pick up on. JENNIFER PELKA: As somebody who rides the

  • subway everyday I can say that when people around me are unhappy, I am also unhappy.

  • GRETCHEN RUBIN: It turns out that unhappy people are more likely to be defensive, isolated,

  • and preoccupied with their own problems. ANGRY BOB: So Gretchen's argument about that

  • unhappy people make other people unhappy, well my feeling is everyone needs a hobby.

  • EBONY STATON WEIDMAN: Happiness is contagious. I think the negative can be contagious too

  • and so people have to be responsible with how they treat other people. So I hope that

  • everything that comes out of this project for me, you know, making me happier but also

  • kind of sending that out and paying that forward and then other people, you know, being happier

  • as well. GRETCHEN RUBIN: Really I feel like all the

  • things that I was working on, I'm going to be working on for the rest of my life. I'm

  • more interested in happiness than ever. I feel like the deeper that I go, the bigger

  • it gets.

  • [MUSIC]

[MUSIC]

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A2 gretchen happiness ebony happier jennifer unhappy

THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

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    Aj Lee posted on 2013/01/01
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