Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Can't Get No … Satisfaction — Or Can I?

Gretchen Rubin wanted to discover the secret to happiness, so she spent a year "test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy — from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah."

She began blogging about her experiences and discoveries, convinced no one but herself would ever read it. Famous last words. Four years on, several hundred thousand people look forward to her daily musings, and her book, The Happiness Project, is a #1 New York Times bestseller. One reviewer calls it, "A cross between the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love."

I first wrote about Gretchen's work in March 2008 in my inspirational enewsletter, What Shines. (This article, A Big Tank of Pink Liquid is now part of my eBook, What Shines: Practical Wisdom for Unleashing Your Inner Brilliance/Volume 3). Today I listened to her share some of her wisdom in a telecast:

How can you increase your happiness every day?

#1: Get enough sleep!
#2: Novelty and challenge bring happiness, but not right away. First you'll feel insecure, incompetent, and frustrated — push through to mastery.
#3 Strong relationships. Increase your contacts with others, including social media — but don't overdo it!

Gretchen blogs six days a week, and encourages people who are having trouble blogging regularly to actually increase the amount they blog. It's counterintuitive, yet, she says, when you know you have to do something daily, it becomes part of your routine.

She also recommends adding structure to your blog. She has specific categories: video, tips, quizzes, quotes, interviews — which makes it easier to frame what she wants to share. People learn differently, so offering various formats allows more people to resonate with what you have to offer.

Finally, she says, don't be concerned if some visitors don't agree with what you post. A strong brand will repel as well as attract. While it's painful to have someone attack you in their comments, it also provides an opportunity for you to learn from them, expand your growth by not reacting in kind, and engage more readers through the discussion.

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