I recently chanced upon a book by Gretchen Rubin, in which she documents a project of self-discovery undertaken by her called, you guessed it, The Happiness Project.
Now anyone who knows me even half-decently, would pretty much know I’m one crib-pot of a human being. It isn’t something I’m proud of, but the simple fact is, shit happens, and my life seems to be a bit full of it. Given this awesome nature of mine (Oh, and sarcasm seems to totally flourish in my head), I was naturally intrigued by the topic of this experiment. The simple thought that happiness could be turned into a controllable year-long project with actual results seemed a bit laughable. But intriguing, nonetheless.
So I spent an entire day pouring over her book, and was pleasantly surprised. And a bit inspired.
This isn’t necessarily just a project for people who are miserable, looking to be happy. In fact, her research revealed that majority of people claim to be happy. And I’m sure, so are most of you. In fact, despite all my cribbing, so am I. After all, I have a good life, a happy marriage, a decent job, a loving family and good health, all basic markers of happiness.
But do I think I’m as happy as I have the potential to be? Definitely not. There’s always a happier image in mind, of how life should be, rather than is.
And what do we have to do to be as happy as possible?
The truth of the matter is, while grand gestures like quitting your job to travel, moving cities or countries, taking a sabbatical are often on our minds (well, at least on mine), they’re tough to accomplish and usually far off. So it’s a little sad to stay sad in lieu of them, isn’t it?
The Happiness Project is actually about identifying tiny deeds to be done every day that could increase your happiness. And I don’t mean like tiny deeds of kindness and selflessness (though if that’s what makes you happy, sure, go ahead!). I mean absolutely selfish things, done purely after introspecting what you’d like to do, or not do, that could contribute that tiny marginal amount of happiness in your day. It could take some time to identify these deeds (or resolutions as Gretchen called them), or they could pop up in your mind as the most obvious thing ever.
And unlike New Year’s resolutions, which are literally meant to be broken, these deeds are divided across the months. Start with a few small changes, track them on a daily basis, and next month add a few more!
You’re reading this because either I tagged you, or you somehow managed to tumble upon my blog. Either way, as it’s quite obvious by now, I’m embarking on a Happiness Project of my own, and I’d really like to encourage you all to do the same.
It will require some introspection, some nerdy tracking and quite some bit of will power. But isn’t it all totally worth it if at the end of it all, you feel better… happier?
Thousands of people across the world claim their projects worked.
So, what’s the harm in trying?
I’ll put up further details about exactly how to go about this project, and my own project resolutions soon (since this post has already become a bit too long). I hope some of you find it in you to take this up, because I’d love to see how it’s helping, and how different it can be for each person, and share our progress and experiences. Either way, I’m going to be boring the crap out of you with my own experience here, so, oh well!