Tag: Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

Quotes September 19, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel… is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night
“Sartaj was thinking about how uncanny an animal this life was, that you had to seize it and let go of it at the same time, that you had to enjoy but also plan, live every minute and die every moment.”
Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games
“There are unheralded tipping points, a certain number of times that we will unlock the front door of an apartment. At some point you were closer to the last time than you were to the first time, and you didn’t even know it.”
Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York
“Slowly wheeling, like the rays of a searchlight, the days, the weeks, the years passed one after another across the sky.”
Virginia Woolf, The Years
“Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks.”
G. K. Chesterton, “The Glory of Grey”
“I understand how scarlet can differ from crimson because I know that the smell of an orange is not the smell of a grape-fruit.”
Helen Keller, The World I Live In
“Many of us know the joy and excitement not so much of creating the new as of redeeming what has been neglected, and this excitement is particularly strong when the original condition is seen as holy or beautiful.”
J. B. Jackson, The Necessity for Ruins: and Other Topics
“There have been other suns that set in significance for me, but that sun! It was a book-mark in the pages of a life.”
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road
It’s easier to change our circumstances than to change ourselves.
The most important thing is to know ourselves, and to choose the habit strategies that work for us.

5 things making me happy

As of September 7, the Met is now open again on Tuesdays (visitors must be vaccinated and masked). Wonderful!

I love studying the five senses; I’ve learned so many odd facts. In a minor but amusing example of how others shape what tastes we choose, research shows that in a restaurant, we usually want to order an item different from what others have already ordered—even if that may mean choosing a dish that we don’t particularly want. This phenomenon explains why I feel uncomfortable ordering the salmon after my two friends have already ordered it. Do you feel this way?

I had a terrific time talking to the brilliant Kate Bowler on her Everything Happens podcast. We discuss how our senses anchor us to the present, the difference between happiness and joy, and whether happiness is a selfish endeavor. Listen here.

I was fascinated by this study of emojis. Guess which emoji is the most popular, worldwide? Tears-of-laughter emoji—along with thumbs-up, red heart, blowing-a-kiss, and single-tear in the top five. Ninety percent of global emoji users said that emojis make it easier to express themselves.

The Happiness Museum opens in Denmark! I can’t wait to visit. Another reason to visit Copenhagen, a city that I love.
5 things making me happy

New vocabulary alert! I recently heard myself use a word for the very first time: “zhuzh”—“to make something more interesting or attractive by changing it slightly or adding something to it.” It was strange to hear a new word come out of my mouth, but I did use it properly.

During my daily visits to the Met, when I’m anywhere nearby, I make a point to walk past Fra Fillippo Lippi’s “Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement.” The sight of that man poking his head through the window makes me smile every time. Fun fact: this is the earliest surviving double portrait in Italy.

I’ve always been so curious about whole-body cryotherapy—brief exposure to very cold temperatures—and because I’m writing my book about the five senses, I wanted to push myself to try this extreme sensation. I finally booked an appointment, and I’m very glad I did. It was a sensory adventure! Read more about my experience here.

I love getting a surprise in the mail. In episode 342 of the Happier podcast, Elizabeth and I talked about a listener’s suggestion to use “rubber duck debugging”—when you explain a problem to a rubber duck, and in the process of talking through it, figure out the answer. A few days later, Elizabeth mailed me my very own rubber duck.

Because I love miniatures, a thoughtful reader sent me this 30-second video that shows a tiny room tucked behind an electrical outlet. So fun!
13 Tips for Sticking to Your Resolutions

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a Happiness Project. You can start at any time—the New Year, your birthday, after a big change or revelation, or right now, today—and it can last as long as you want. It’s up to you. But when it comes to being happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative, what we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.

For sticking to your resolutions, consider these strategies:

1. Be specific. Resolutions like “Make more friends” or “Strengthen friendships” are vague, and there’s no way to measure your success. Resolutions that are concrete and measurable might be: “Start a group,” “Say hello,” “Make plans,” “Show up,” and “No gossip.”

2. Write it down.

3. Review your resolution constantly. If your resolution is buzzing through your head, it’s easier to stick to it. Keep a resolution chart or write it on a sticky note in a place you’ll see it every day.

4. Hold yourself accountable. Tell other people about your resolution, join or form a like-minded group, use a habit tracker, think about a key identity that you want to cultivate—whatever works for you to make yourself feel accountable for success and failure.

5. Think big. Maybe you need a big change, a big adventure—a trip to a foreign place, a break-up, a move, a new job. Let yourself imagine anything, and plan from there.

6. Think small. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that only radical change can make a difference. Just keeping your fridge cleared out could give you a real boost. Look close to home for ways to improve and grow.

7. Ask for help. This can be hard, but you’ll be amazed at how much easier your task becomes.

If you have an especially tough time keeping resolutions, if you have a pattern of making and breaking them, try these strategies:

8. Consider making only pleasant resolutions. We can make our lives happier in many ways. If you’re struggling to keep your resolutions, try resolving to “Watch a movie every Sunday,” “Read for an hour every day,” or whatever resolutions you’d find fun to keep. Often, having more fun in our lives makes it easier to do tough things. Seeing more movies might make it easier to keep going to the gym.

9. Consider giving up a resolution. If you keep making and breaking a resolution, consider whether you should relinquish it entirely. Put your energy toward changes that are both realistic and helpful. Don’t let an unfulfilled resolution to lose twenty pounds or to overhaul your overgrown yard block you from making other, smaller resolutions that might give you a big happiness boost.

10. Keep your resolution every day. It’s often easier to do something every day (exercise, post to a blog, deal with the mail, do laundry) than every few days.

11. Set a deadline.

12. Don’t give up if something interferes with your deadline.

13. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Thank you, Voltaire. Instead of starting your new exercise routine by training for the marathon, aim for a 20-minute walk each day. Instead of cleaning out the attic, tackle one bureau drawer. If you break your resolution today, try again tomorrow.

But the opposite of a profound truth is also true, and you might succeed by ignoring these tips! You might do better when you don’t feel accountable to anyone, or when you don’t have a deadline, or don’t follow a schedule. If a strategy doesn’t work for you, try something else.

There are many ways for us to achieve our aims, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Do what works for you. When we know ourselves better, we can make aims that we’re more likely to keep.

The 21 Strategies for Habit Change

Do you want to make a significant change in your life? Or help someone else to make an important change?

Often, this means changing a habit (get more sleep, quit sugar, exercise regularly, spend more time in nature, put down devices). Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life—research suggests that about 40% of our existence is shaped by our habits.

In her book Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin identifies the 21 strategies that we can use to make or break our habits.

1. The Four Tendencies

To change your habits, you have to know yourself, and in particular, your Tendency—that is, whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

All of us face both outer expectations (meet a work deadline) and inner expectations (keep a New Year’s resolution). Your Tendency describes how you respond to those expectations.

Upholders respond readily to both outer and inner expectations. They work hard to meet others’ expectations—and their expectations for themselves.
Questioners question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified by reason, logic, and fairness; they follow only inner expectations.
Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. They keep their promises to others, but have difficulty keeping their promises to themselves. They respond to external accountability.
Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They choose to act from a sense of choice, identity, or freedom. They resist being told what to do; often, they don’t even like to tell themselves what to do.

When we try to form a new habit, we set an expectation for ourselves, so understanding our Tendency allows us to choose the strategies that will work for us. For instance, accountability is a crucial strategy for Obligers, but for Rebels, it can be counter-productive.

2. Distinctions

By taking into account various aspects of our nature related to habit formation, we can avoid wasting energy, time, or money. For example, are you a morning person or night person? An over-buyer or under-buyer? Do you prefer familiarity or novelty; competition or collaboration? Considering such distinctions will help you establish habits in the ways that best suit you.

3. Monitoring

We manage what we monitor. Keeping close track of our actions means we do better in categories such as eating, drinking, exercising, working, TV and Internet use, spending—and just about anything else. A key step for the Strategy of Monitoring is to identify precisely what action is monitored.

4. Foundation

First things first. Certain habits serve as the foundation for other habits, because they keep us from getting too physically taxed or mentally frazzled, and then, because we have more energy and self-control, we follow other healthy habits more easily. We can strengthen our foundation by getting enough sleep; eating and drinking right; exercising; and un-cluttering.

5. Scheduling

For many people, if it’s on the calendar, it happens. Habits grow strongest and fastest when they’re repeated in predictable ways, and for most of us, putting an activity on the schedule tends to lock us into doing it. Scheduling an activity also protects that time from interference.

6. Accountability

Many people do better when they know someone’s watching. For Obligers, most of all, external accountability is absolutely essential.

7. First Steps

It’s enough to begin; if you’re ready, begin now. And while starting is hard, starting over is often harder; once started, try not to stop. Don’t break the chain!

8. Clean Slate

When we go through a big transition, old habits get wiped away, and with that clean slate, new habits form more easily. For this reason, a great time to tackle a new habit is when starting a new job, a new relationship, or a new home. Many people also use the New Year, a birthday, or an important milestone as a clean slate. When facing a clean slate, remember that temporary becomes permanent, so we should start the way we want to continue.

9. Lightning Bolt

Once in a while, we encounter some new idea, new information, or a new role—and suddenly, effortlessly, a new habit replaces a well-established habit. This strategy is enormously powerful, but hard to invoke on command. Examples might include: a documentary or book, a diagnosis, an accident, a conversation with a stranger, parenthood.

10. Abstaining

When facing a strong temptation, “Abstainers” do better when they abstain altogether, while “Moderators” do better when they indulge in temptation sometimes, or a little. For Abstainers, it’s much more difficult to indulge in moderation than to give something up; for Moderators, it’s harder to abstain.

11. Convenience

To a truly remarkable extent, we’re more likely to do something if it’s convenient, and less likely if it’s not. The amount of effort, time, or decision-making required by an action has a huge influence on our habits. Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong. Likewise…

12. Inconvenience

We’re less likely to take an action if it’s inconvenient. The harder it is to indulge in a bad habit, the harder it is to do it impulsively. To weaken a bad habit, make it as inconvenient as possible.

13. Safeguards

Plan to fail. Try to anticipate and minimize temptation, both in your environment and in your own mind. Use “if-then” planning to prepare for challenges that might arise: “If it’s raining, then I will exercise by following an online cardio video.”

14. Loophole-Spotting

We often seek justifications to excuse ourselves from a good habit…just this once. By identifying the loopholes we most often invoke, we can guard against them.

False choice loophole: “I can’t do this, because I’m so busy doing that.”
Moral licensing loophole: “I’ve been so good, it’s okay for me to do this.”
Tomorrow loophole: “It’s okay to skip today, because I’m going to do this tomorrow.”
Lack of control loophole: “I can’t help myself.”
Planning to fail loophole: “I’m doing this for no particular reason, but now that I’m here, I can’t resist.”
“This doesn’t count” loophole: “It’s a holiday!”
Questionable assumption loophole: “I’m so far behind, there’s no point in starting.”
Concern for others loophole: “If I don’t do this, someone will be hurt or inconvenienced”
Fake self-actualization loophole: “You only live once!”
One-coin loophole: “What difference will this one action make?”

15. Distraction

When we’re tempted to break a good habit, we deliberately shift our attention away from unwelcome thoughts by finding healthy distractions.

16. Reward

External rewards can actually undermine habit formation. The best reward for a good habit is the good habit itself.

17. Treats

Unlike a reward, which must be earned or justified, a “treat” is a small pleasure or indulgence that we give to ourselves just because we want it. It’s easier to ask more of ourselves when we’re giving more to ourselves, so so it’s helpful to identify plenty of healthy treats.

18. Pairing

Only do X when you’re doing Y. Pair two activities: one that you need to or want to do, and one that you don’t particularly want to do, and always do them together.

19. Clarity

The more clearly we identify the habit we intend to follow, the more likely we are to stick to it. Frame a habit to be concrete, manageable, and measurable.

20. Identity

Our habits reflect your identity, so if you struggle to change a particular habit, re-think your identity. Every identity—athlete, artist, environmentalist, reliable parent, strong leader—carries certain habits with it.

21. Other People

Your habits rub off on other people, and their habits rub off on you. Associate with people who follow the habits you want to adopt.

Some strategies work very well for some people, and not for others, and some strategies are available to us at some times in our lives, but not at other times. There is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution to changing habits. It turns out that it’s not that hard to change your habits—when you do it in the way that’s right for you.

Quotes September 07, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness


A house has a physical definition; a home has a spiritual one.”
Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden (Book)
“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor
“Every man’s spice-box seasons his own food.”
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road
“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.”
John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” In the Catskills
“We read books to find out who we are.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night
“Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.”
Wislawa Szymborska, “Love at First Sight”
“In Paris a scrap of garden is more ravishing than a whole park in the country.”
Marcel Proust, Time Regained
“As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.”
Octavia Butler, “Furor Scribendi,” Bloodchild and Other Stories
“One’s life begins on so many occasions, constructing itself out of accident derived from coincidence compounded by character.”
Donald Hall, Unpacking the Boxes
“Nothing is so simultaneously familiar and alien as that which has been present all along.”
Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing
Happy people make me happy, but I can’t make someone be happy, and no one else can make me happy.
By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
Gretchen Rubin

Quotes August 24, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice
“I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.”
Wallace Stevens, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” The Palm at the End of the Mind
“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves.”
Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
“The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”
Abraham Lincoln, “Notes for a Law Lecture”
“There is no single face in nature, because every eye that looks upon it, sees it from its own angle.”
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road (
“We can only know others by ourselves.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays
“Color exists in itself, has its own beauty.”
Henri Matisse, “The Path of Color”
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Leo Tolstoy, “Three Methods Of Reform,” Pamphlets: Translated from the Russian

Quotes August 16, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

Your good deeds matter! “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
William Shakespeare
What if we start cutting each other more slack? “(T)he nature of speech is first draft, and tired or preoccupied people don’t always communicate effectively. So be willing to at least ask if that’s what they meant to say.”
Light Watkins
“The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary things.”
Hans Christian Anderson
“To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.”
Mandy Hale
What do YOU need — just for you — today?

Give yourself the luxury of your own attention.

Find out what you need. And, make a plan to care for yourself.
We are in the middle of a plague that has killed over 4 million people worldwide. How can you not be kind?
Butterflies? Inside? What a mess! — OR — How magical! You choose. But choose well. We are now caught between what’s called a mess but can be magical. What will you choose? Kindness always wins.
The world is older and more beautiful than we can understand. And YOU are a vital part of the magic. Be magical. Your joyous magic will make an enormous difference in this time of chaos and uncertainly.
There is so much in this world that you’ve never seen, never experienced. You must be HERE to experience them. Be kind to yourself and your world. Stay alive. Be kind.
The path is clear. The destination is unclear. You can make your future kind.
There is sooo much going on right now. Surround yourself with what brings you joy! Let the joy seep into your soul.
Close your eyes. Turn your nose to the wind. And, breathe.

Let the wind blow through you, around you, within you.

Be kind.
In this time of deep grief and desperate loss, make sure to tell everyone that you love them. I love you. Pass it on.
Kindness is… beauty in the dark, silence in the noise, peace in the middle of rage, and love in action. Be kind to you. Be kind to everyone. You need your own kindness — but so do they.
No matter what life throws at you today, you’ve totally got this!
Our world is a little like an old barn right now. At one point, it was new, shiny, and did everything we needed it to do. After all of the lockdowns and illness, our barn is weathered. Maybe it’s time to take it down. Maybe it’s time to paint it and carry on. Only you know what to do. Whatever you decide, make sure to be kind.
If you see someone wearing a mask, be kind. They may be wearing it for your protection.
I don’t know why people feed pigeons. It seems to bring this man so much joy — and, I imagine, it brings the pigeons quite a bit of joy. So I drop my judgments and work on being kind. This is the work of kindness.
We have reached another moment of retreat, “lockdown”, “safe at home” or whatever it is called where you are. Staying safe is no reason to stop shining. Shine ever the brighter in place.

Quotes August 12, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.”
Soren Kierkegaard, letter, 1847 (italics in the original)
“People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves.”
William Maxwell, Time Will Darken It
“Looser types—people who are not busy weighing and measuring every little thing—are used to accidents, coincidences, chance, things getting out of hand, things sneaking up on them. They are the happy children of life, to whom life happens for better or worse.”
Laurie Colwin, “A Mythological Subject,” The Lone Pilgrim
“Beauty is as much about how and whether you look as what you see.”
John Green, The Anthropocene Reviewed
“The way in which people miss their opportunities is melancholy.”
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Solitary Summer
“One does not play Bach without having done scales. But neither does one play a scale merely for the sake of the scale.”
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
“Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. …Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.”
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings

Quotes August 03, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“One day when I was studying with Schoenberg, he pointed out the eraser on his pencil and said, ‘This end is more important than the other.’”
John Cage, Silence
“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them!”
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack
“The world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.”
Toni Morrison, Tar Baby
“Early in his career, artist Alberto Giacometti moved into a Paris studio that measured only about sixteen feet square… ‘The longer I stayed,’ he said, ‘the larger it grew.’”
James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography
“I am glad to the brink of fear.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
“Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.”
Bernard Malamud, “A Conversation with Bernard Malamud,” in First Person Singular: Writers on Their Craft
“We lived our lives as if life was forever. To live one’s life without a sense of time is to squander it.”
Diana Trilling, The Beginning of the Journey
“When I think about what sort of person I would most like to have on a retainer, I think it would be a boss. A boss who could tell me what to do, because that makes everything easy when you’re working.”
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to Be and Back Again)
When it comes to habits, make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
It’s easier to demand a lot from yourself when you’re giving a lot to yourself.
Gretchen Rubin

Quotes July 22, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“Being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing.”
Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
“Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.”
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (
“Some beautiful things are more dazzling when they are still imperfect than when they have been too perfectly crafted.”
François de La Rochefoucauld, Collected Maxims and Other Reflections
“What a lark! What a plunge!”
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
“That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!”
Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself XXIV”
“I am a great believer in the seasons. Even here in my own world, I have no relish for sweet corn in January or strawberries in November.”
Pearl S. Buck, My Several Worlds
“What is far off may be more familiar to us than what is quite near.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way

Quotes July 13, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road
“It is all a question of weeding out what you yourself like best to do, so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.”
M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf
“Our duties and our needs, in all the fundamental thing for which we were created, come down in practice to the same thing.”
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
“This is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“A desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.”
James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson
“You know that book; you forget the title after you’ve returned it and over the years you try to look it up a few times, but you never find it again.”
Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird
“There is in the soul a taste for the good, just as there is in the body an appetite for enjoyment.”
Joseph Joubert, Pensées
“In 1970 I felt so lonely that I could not give; now I feel so joyful that giving seems easy. I hope that the day will come when the memory of my present joy will give me the strength to keep giving even when loneliness gnaws at my heart.”
Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary
“Her green mind made the world around her green.”
Wallace Stevens, “Description Without Place”
“I thought there was great honor in doing journalism that was in direct service to people.”
Ron Lieber
“I have a strong sense of self—what I want to do, what I don’t want to do.”
Carla Hall
“I take a lot of pride in my routines.”
Ramit Sethi
“When you’re little they don’t want to hear from you, but when you’re a lawyer they want you to question everything.”
Jordan Harbinger
I am a great believer in the seasons. Even here in my own world, I have no relish for sweet corn in January or strawberries in November.
“The mind…is rarely so disturbed, but that the company of a friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Fail small, not big.
Gretchen Rubin

Quotes June 29, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings
“The best way out is always through.”
Robert Frost, “A Servant to Servants”
“The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.”
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, or Meditation on Transcendent Gastronomy
“A house has a physical definition; a home has a spiritual one.”
Jamaica Kincaid, My Garden
“I love a broad margin to my life.”
“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.”
Henry Matisse with Pierre Courthion, Chatting with Matisse: The Lost 1941 Interview
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“The brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy.”
Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul
“Sartaj was thinking about how uncanny an animal this life was, that you had to seize it and let go of it at the same time, that you had to enjoy but also plan, live every minute and die every moment.”
Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games
“If you loved anybody that long, first as an infant, then as a child, then as a man, you gain a strange perspective on time and human pain and effort. Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father’s face, for behind your father’s face as it is today are all those other faces that were his.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
“If you know what somebody wants, you know what he is like.”
W. H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays
“One’s life begins on so many occasions, constructing itself out of accident derived from coincidence compounded by character.”
Donald Hall, Unpacking the Boxes
“I believe in the miracles of art, but what
prodigy will keep you safe beside me…”
Jane Kenyon, “Afternoon at MacDowell”
“Nobody really looks at anything; it’s too hard.”
Andy Warhol, “Warhol Interviews Bourdon”
“But real flowers can never be dispensed with. If they could, human life would be a different affair altogether.”
Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room
“Strangers have a reality for me on the bus that they cannot have on the freeway, simply because we’ve agreed to be in an enclosed space in which we are subject to each other’s actions.”
Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing
“As a parent, at some point, you have to switch from being an advisor to cheerleader.” (If you want to hear me talk about this advice, you can listen to this short episode of A Little Happier.)
“Alas, there are no wizards.” My father reminded me that it can be tempting to believe that if I could just find the right helper, the right adviser, the right person to do a job, all my problems would magically be solved, and I wouldn’t have to be worried or involved with a project any more. But while there are smart and capable people, if something’s important to me, I have to stay involved. I can’t just delegate to some wizard.
“Enjoy the process.” My father always emphasizes that if we can enjoy the process, we’re less concerned about outcomes, and we’re less disappointed if our efforts end in failure or frustration. That’s a big help in the world.
“All you have to do is put on your running shoes and let the front door shut behind you.” Back in high school, when I was first trying to get myself in the habit of daily exercise, he gave me this advice. It’s an excellent mantra for all couch potatoes trying to pick up an exercise habit. Just put on your shoes and step outside!
“If you’re willing to take the blame when you deserve it, people will give you the responsibility.”
Gretchen Rubin

Quotes June 06, 2021

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin Moment of Happiness

“Touch has its ecstasies.”
Helen Keller, The World I Live In
“There are unheralded tipping points, a certain number of times that we will unlock the front door of an apartment. At some point you were closer to the last time than you were to the first time, and you didn’t even know it. You didn’t know that each time you passed the threshold you were saying good-bye.”
Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York
“I know that the writer does call up the general and maybe the essential through the particular, but this general and essential is still deeply embedded in mystery. It is not answerable to any of our formulas.”
Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor
“What we perceive as limitations have the potential to become strengths greater than what we had when we were ‘normal’ or unbroken…when something breaks, something greater often emerges from the cracks.”
Nnedi Okorafor, Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected
“Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.”
Paul Klee
“If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.”
Heraclitus, Fragments
“It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security.”
Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
“Every man carries with him through life a mirror, as unique and impossible to get rid of as his shadow.”
W. H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays
“The best way out is always through.”
Robert Frost, “A Servant to Servants”
“By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.”
“The days are long, but the summer is short.”
Gretchen Rubin