Saturday, January 8, 2011
When I read a book, I really read it. I can read fast but I choose to read slow so as to soak up as much as I can. In fact, sometimes I will read certain passages multiple times to be sure I am getting the full meaning. I did not, however, do this with The Happiness Project. Like most self-help books, it is not necessary to read everything. I skimmed 60% of the book and only read closely when the subject matter related to me.
I found the author, Gretchen Rubin, to be difficult to follow sometimes. Not because she was unclear or all over the place. Nothing like that. I actually found her attention to detail, intense focus, and anal-retentiveness to be kind of oppressive. And perhaps it was hard for me to follow because I can be like that, too.
Probably the biggest lesson I got out of the book is to "Be Denise". (Her #1 Commandment was to "Be Gretchen".) I think a lot of my unhappiness comes from wanting to be someone I am not. I mean, we all have those feelings. I would love to make seven figures but the reality is that nothing I am interested in pursuing earns anywhere near that. I would love to be more outgoing and sociable but that is not who I am. I am naturally shy and always will be. I would love to have figured out what I wanted to be or do before I was 28 but that has not been the case either. I am a late bloomer. I have been trying to be something or someone I am not by placing unrealistic pressures on myself to hurry up and figure it out.
She touches briefly on the importance of growth, which I could also relate to. I think this is a huge reason why I was unhappy in my last workplace. I did not feel that I was growing and in some ways, I was regressing. Now, I am moving in a complete other direction so there is a huge opportunity for growth and learning. I already feel better about myself and my prospects. She also emphasized the importance of on-going projects and having goals. A lot of times it is the work in between, not the finished product, that makes us feel good.
All in all, I am glad I read/skimmed it. I got more out of it than I had expected. I hope to put some of her suggestions to use in the coming year.
I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who is looking for some fresh perspectives on how to improve their state of being.
Posted by Denise at 5:06 PM