What Started Me Thinking

  • "The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up." Mark Twain
  • “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson
  • "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42
  • “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” Simone Weil
  • “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette
  • “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” G. K. Chesterton
  • “A man’s first care should be to avoid the reproaches of his own heart.” Joseph Addison
  • “Best is good. Better is best.” Lisa Grunwald
  • “Order is Heaven’s first law.” Alexander Pope

Happiness Theories I Reject

  • Flaubert: "To be stupid, and selfish, and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness; though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless."
  • Vauvenargues: “There are men who are happy without knowing it.”
  • Eric Hoffer: “The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.”
  • Sartre: "Hell is other people."
  • Willa Cather: “One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them…”
  • Alexander Smith: “We are never happy; we can only remember that we were so once.”
  • John Stuart Mill: “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.”

This Wednesday: Tips...to make a good first impression.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day. 

This Wednesday:  Tips...to make a good first impression.

n      smile and lean toward others as they talk

n      if standing, keep your body fully facing the people you’re speaking with

n      ask questions and follow up on people’s remarks; and in doing so, focus on opinions and feelings, not just facts

n      don’t interrupt

n      compliment others

n      try to find common experiences or interests

n      mention some vulnerabilities and laugh at yourself

n      draw others out and encourage people to join the conversation

n      put energy in your voice

n      at least at the start, focus on positive comments, not criticisms or complaints

n      offer a variety of topics

n      share observations about everyday life

n      share your passions and interests

n      don’t dwell on the minutiae of your life, especially annoyances

n      remember: people give more weight to their early information (were you engaged, warm, distracted, pompous?) than to later information, so be your most charming at the beginning of the conversation

n      remember: most people are more eager to be found interesting, funny, or insightful than to be interested, amused, or informed by you

For a fascinating, highly practical book on this topic, read Ann Demarais and Valerie White's First Impressions.


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Gretchen RubinGretchen Rubin is the best-selling writer whose book, The Happiness Project, is the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. Here, she shares her insights to help you create your own happiness project.

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