Book Reads: The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin) [☝]

January 03, 2016

I remember I bought this book during the 2015 Manila Book Fair last year in September. It was the same day of the concert of Maroon 5 and since I arrived early in the arena, I still had time to wander around, and that's when I went to the book fair which was held at the SMX Convention Center nearby.

This book has long been part of my to-read list. I've seen it in bookstores several times before but I didn't pick it yet. But during that time at the book fair, when I saw the book in one of the shelves, I felt that it's time to finally read it because well, I was kinda feeling down that day. To think that I was going to a concert later that night, I should have been excited, right? I badly needed a change in mindset and that exactly is what I got from this book.

Below are some of the statements from the book that moved me. Those words hit home, and I'm writing it here in case I needed reminding:

"What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while."

I believe everyone would agree with this one. This passage made me want to push more with things that I want to accomplish in life. There goes the saying 'Practice makes perfect', but I believe it's more accurate to say that 'Constant practice makes perfect'.

"I wasn't unrealistic enough to expect to be able to keep every resolution, every day, but I wanted to aim higher than I had."

Thank you thank you Gretchen for introducing this idea to me. For the longest time, I am so hard with myself in setting my goals. Creating a to-do list has been ingrained in my system since my early years in school. I  always expected myself to be able to accomplish each item that I put in that list, but of course that is just not possible. Now, I know better. It's now acceptable for me to put a cross mark for those items that I thought are not relevant anymore. I still accomplish something out of that list of course.

"Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability, it turns out, because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice."

This is another eye-opener to me. This further emphasizes the importance of practice which goes hand-in-hand with having the right attitude.

"If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to keep pushing ahead without constantly second-guessing myself."

"It was thrilling to see what I could accomplish in a short time if I put my mind to it."

"80% of success is showing up."

The book is truly filled with lots of these valuable statements with golden lessons because the author learned these herself from her own experiences. With all the lessons that this book thought me, my favorite, which will always stick with me from now on, is her thoughts about fighting sadness:

"The other strategy that certainly works for me although it can be difficult to implement, is to become aware of your interior monologue and start arguing with it if it gets too negative."

I always have moments when I feel down with no apparent reason at all. I just have this general feeling of sadness, even during moments when I should be having fun (during an out-of-town vacation, while having lunch, on my birthday, during new year's eve... omg this list would go on and on). I cannot share here the thoughts that I have during those times, but well you have the general idea. I believe Gretchen has experienced the same thing because she perfectly described the flow of  those thoughts as "downward spiral". According to her, when her thoughts sway that way, she does something that would distract her from thinking like reading a book or watching a film.

I realized that I was also doing the same technique, but with me it's music. It's my greatest distraction. This is the main reason I always listen to music to fall asleep. I don't want my thoughts to linger anywhere that's too negative. Most of the time while trying to fall asleep, my train of thoughts become too stressful for me. That's when I listen to music. This technique has been proved effective to me, because once I start my playlist, I get sleepy. I don't even get to hearing the ending of the song because I have began snoozing peacefully to dreamland.

They say depression comes in waves (though I am still not sure if I do have that). Whenever I'm beginning to feel that a new "wave" is coming, I try to think of positive things to counter it. It's like fighting dementors actually (if you know Harry Potter, you'll understand) and actually it works. :)

While reading the book, I realized that I have been already implementing a Happiness Project for myself in the past four years. This blog is my happiness project! :D There are just some parts of the book that I still could not relate to (regarding marriage, taking care of kids) but for most of it, I got ideas to further improve the way I handle my goals and my general happiness in life.

A photo posted by Kathleen R (@katalinarosario) on

Picking up this book in that book fair is apparently a great decision I've made for myself. ;)

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