Gretchen Rubin, whose "The Happiness Project" is both a bestselling book and a popular blog, concedes that the title may be something of a misnomer. "Happiness," she says, has a way of turning into a mythical destination that taunts us with our inability to reach it. Better to make "happier" the goal, and to improve your life through a series of manageable, concrete steps. Like...making your bed?
OK, so there's a bit more to it than that, as Rubin acknowledges in her Big Think interview. There's a "transcendent" aspect to true bliss that ultimately can't be ignored. Still, starting out a personal quest for happiness with ambitious, yet vague resolutions is often a recipe for failure. So is taking the tack once recommended by John Stuart Mill: dismissing all doubts as to whether you are, in fact, happy. The American emphasis on chasing personal happiness, Rubin believes, is overall a healthy and natural thing.
So what makes Rubin herself happy? Well, many of the usual things: family, fulfilling career, and so on. But in the end, it's about refusing to be anything less than yourself)—which, in her case, means owning up to a continuing obsession with "Anne of Green Gables."
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A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
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