What a tremendous honor to connect with mega-bestselling author and award-winning podcast host Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen writes about habits, happiness, and human nature. She is the author of The New York Times’ bestsellers The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better Than Before, 4 Tendencies, and her most recent book, Outer Order Inner Calm.
I know there’s no way I am alone when I say I found The Four Tendencies to be a life changing book. A big takeaway is the importance of understanding yourself – understanding what your greatest values are, but also how to understand others and play to them.
First, we talk about Gretchen’s latest book, Outer Order Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make Room for Happiness. Gretchen has found that most people feel that when they have more control over all their possessions, they have more control over their life. Funnily enough, Gretchen’s sister is one of the rarer types who just doesn’t get bothered by clutter. But those who get very stressed out by messiness are often guilty of “procrasticlearing.” Gretchen coined this term to describe the act of procrastination by way of “productivity” – you decide to do a seemingly productive task, like cleaning out your pantry or your closet, vacuuming the floor, organizing your cookbooks in alphabetical order….instead of just doing the real, pressing, important task you’ve just been trying your hardest to avoid. I am sure you can recall a time or two (or ten!) in your past where you’ve chosen to do something that you could justify as “productive” a form of procrastination from the true tasks you’ve had at hand.
Once you become aware of the hidden costs that come with having consistent clutter around, then it’s hard not to wonder how on earth people (including yourself) are ok with living like this. Gretchen’s book will help you decrease the stress in your life by decluttering your home and strictly sorting through your possessions. That might sound scary and overwhelming, especially if you’re a nostalgic person (or just suffering from hoarding tendencies), but Gretchen makes it easy: ask yourself three simple questions as you go through each item:
- Do I need it?
- Do I use it?
- Do I love it?
This will help you quickly and efficiently eliminate the items you do not need (the very same items adding onto your piles of mess, therefore increasing your stress). Most people’s days are jam-packed – work, hobbies, family and friends, and clearing clutter can easily wind up being the last item on your never-ending to-do list. Once you’ve managed to catch up with clearing up, you’ve got to stay consistent with keeping up. It’s so much easier to keep up a clean environment than tackle huge piles that need to be seriously sorted through. It’s the difference between waiting for weeks to do all your laundry versus doing a little bit each week. By doing small things to keep your environment clutter-free, keeping up will become habit: you will find yourself automatically putting books, dishes, shoes, various household items, all back in their rightful place, because you’ve ingrained this habit of keeping up into your daily practice.
At one point I ask Gretchen, ‘what should I do about my tendency?’ only to discover that I am not the first person to ask her about this. Gretchen says a lot of people actually wish they were in another tendency category – obligers wanting to behave more like rebels, upholders dreaming of acting more like a questioner. However, that is what The Four Tendencies is all about. We are all equipped with our own unique gifts – our own style of doing things and communicating ideas, and that is where your strength lies: in the fact that no one is you. Your power is rooted in your unique abilities. A rebel is never going to act like an upholder, but you wouldn’t want them to anyways! A rebel has their own specific gifts to offer, just as an upholder or an obliger does as well. To expect either of them to act like the other would be unrealistic. You can only be yourself, and as Gretchen points out during our discussion about what the key to happiness is, everyone is different.
People are inspired by and satisfied by different things, and the definition of “happiness” depends on the individual defining it. Like Gretchen said, happiness means something different for everyone, and some people (like her sister) don’t get affected the same way other people are by clutter! Reading Outer Order Inner Calm will give you the tools you need to recognize, and then eliminate what is no longer serving you in your life, and The Four Tendencies will help you identify specific elements of your innate personality so you can play to your strengths and learn how to work with your weaknesses. It’s all about empowering yourself through self-awareness of how well you truly understand your innate nature (your tendency). As Gretchen says, “Is it possible to really change your inborn, hardwired genetically programmed personality? I don’t think so, or if it is – it is very, very difficult. But it is very easy to change your circumstances.” Gretchen’s advice for anyone struggling with any aspect of their tendency is not to try to be like another tendency, but to do it things your own way. If you’re a rebel, you’re going to have difficulty following schedules and rules, but if you need to do something that involves some strict limitations, then work with those constraints in your signature, rebel way. We all have our own unique gifts, and Gretchen’s teachings help you thrive and live your best life through empowering self-awareness.
There are disproportionate yields to the art of tidying up. [07:32]
People differ in what their idea of good order is. [10:00]
Is procratic clearing getting in your way to what really needs to be done? [14:53]
Changing venues is a good strategy to avoid procrastination. [17:18]
Is there a key to happiness? [22:28]
The kinds of things that make one person happy might not make another happy. [25:58]
It’s very risky for parents to overly intervene in children’s career choices. [29:31]
The first step to cluttering is getting rid of stuff that really doesn’t need to be there. [33:21]
The one-minute rule is a good one to follow. Can I do this in one minute instead of postponing it? [35:44]
There are some simplifying routines that can help if clutter bothers you. [38:40]
We need to think about whether it is our own problem or someone else’s. If it belongs to you, you take care of it. [40:21]
The four tendencies are upholders, questioners, obligers, and rebels. [45:42]
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high-stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 02:34 Okay. If you’re ready to change your life, please check out the primal blueprint mastery courses of which I am the host. The exercise was to bring our books to life with a comprehensive online multimedia educational experience. We have the primal blueprint 21-day transformation, so you can go primal ditch grains and learn what primal living is all about. We have the Keto recent mastery course. If you’ve built up some good momentum and now you’re ready to try this Keto thing and do it right once and for all and be guided step by step throughout the content in the entire book, the Keto reset diet through video. If you’re too lazy to read, just watch me talk you through the whole thing. We also have the primal endurance mastery course, which is the world’s most comprehensive library of interviews with experts, great athletes, and covering the entire content of the primal endurance book.
Brad: 03:58 Ladies and gentlemen, I present Mega-bestselling author award-winning podcast host, Gretchen Rubin. Ah, how do I land these incredibly popular and important bestselling authors? It’s because people like Gretchen Rubin are cool. They’re receptive to my crazy cold pitches and she likes to give of herself and spread the word. She’s doing a fantastic job. I’m so honored to get a chance to talk with her. I think you’re going to love this show full of life changing insights. If you don’t know Gretchen Rubin, go type her name into Google. You will blow out with all these incredible bestselling books, a string of New York Times, number one bestsellers.
Brad: 04:43 Her topic is habits, happiness, human nature, helping you understand yourself, do things the right way, do things that work for you. Some of the great books in her library, The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, Better than Before, The Four Tendencies, which was an absolutely transforming book for me to discover my basic nature and how I relate to the world and to other people and how to do things better and to honor those tendencies. And then of course, her newest book, which he’s making the rounds to promote is called Outer Order, Inner Calm, declutter and organize to make room for happiness. So hold on for a very fast paced show, Gretchen Rubin is a one x podcasts, not 1.5 not 1.7 so listen carefully to the insights about the benefits of decluttering.
Brad: 05:37 We get into some parenting observations and please go check out her podcast that she does with her sister. These guys have great banter. Sister’s name is Elizabeth Craft and the podcast is called The Happier Podcast. And if you do nothing else, I know life is busy and things go in one ear and out the are on your to do list and sit there and linger. But please go to her website, Gretchen Rubin.com and take the four tendencies quiz and identify which of the four behavior personality tendencies you have. Oh, it’ll be so much fun. It takes only a few minutes. You get the quiz results and then boom, you are into the mix with Gretchen Rubin. You’ll go pick up some of her books and be happier, be more productive, be more true to yourself and your tendencies. I know you’re going to love this show. Thank you so much Gretchen. Everybody enjoy.
Brad: 06:33 Gretchen. Hi.
Gretchen: 06:35 Hey, how are ya?
Brad: 06:36 I am so excited to talk to you. I can’t believe it.
Gretchen: 06:40 Yeah. Thanks for doing this.
Brad: 06:41 Thanks for taking the time. You’re, you’re, you’re hitting it hard.
Gretchen: 06:45 Yeah.
Brad: 06:46 How’s everything going?
Gretchen: 06:48 Good going well.
Brad: 06:50 How do you do it all Gretchen?
Gretchen: 06:52 Hi. Oh No. Get up on time. I guess.
Brad: 06:57 Um, do you have some like tightly organized a rituals around your day and uh, uh, free from distraction and strategies of that nature?
Gretchen: 07:09 You know what? I don’t really, I love routine and habits, so I just, I inclined that way. So I don’t really need to go out of my way to build that in that sort of, uh, if anything, I have to loosen up
Brad: 07:22 You are the upholder.
Gretchen: 07:23 Yes, I am.
Brad: 07:25 I’m a, I figured where recording already when I asked you how to do it all. Okay. Rolling.
Gretchen: 07:32 Okay, good.
Brad: 07:33 Yeah, that’s my crazy. Get over yourself podcast style where Freewheelin um, but of course we’re here to talk about this fabulous new book, Outer Order, Inner Calm, declutter and organize to make more room for happiness. And My, my sound bite that I pulled out, I listened to you talk to Elle Russ, and uh, you said there’s disproportionate yields to the art of tidying up. And that one really stuck with me and trying to think about what that means. So I’d love for you to expand on that.
Gretchen: 08:02 Well, it’s not true for everyone. There are people who are clutter blind and they don’t get any benefit of clearing clutter that doesn’t drain them. It doesn’t overwhelm them. But for most people, outer order does contribute to inner calm, um, and kind of a sense of focus and self mastery and even a sense of possibility. And like you say, it’s sort of disproportionate because we can all agree that in the context of a happy life, something like a crowded clothes closet or a messy desk is kind of inconsequential and yet over and over, people tell me, and I certainly feel this way myself that, um, would you get more control of your stuff? You kind of feel like you have more control of your life and it’s just easier to, um, achieve your aims for yourself.
Brad: 08:45 Uh, however some people are, are you saying less affected?
Gretchen: 08:49 Absolutely. Like my sister, I have a podcast happier with Gretchen Rubin and like, my sister is my cohost Alyssa, and she just is, I’ve seen it, like she just doesn’t care. I mean, she just doesn’t care. You know, it just, it doesn’t bother her. She wouldn’t close the kitchen cabinet door ever. Um, it just doesn’t bother her. Um, that’s pretty rare. Most people, some people are more willing to put a lot of time and energy into it. Some people have sort of a lower standard. Um, some people feel very comfortable free riding off of other people. It’s sort of like, well, I know that this is, they’re going to get done, so why should I do them? But if no one was doing the dishes, maybe eventually they would do the dishes. But then there’s some people who just, you know, it just, it just, it isn’t really part of, uh, uh, it’s not a significant part of their environment.
Brad: 09:37 Oh, so you’re giving a break to some people, the free writers, because I’m now guessing like they’re not doing it maliciously. They’re just comfortable free riding. They don’t realize that I, I would guess the person doing the extra work to, to, uh, to pick up the slack might even be feeling resentful because they’re the type of person that likes the clean, tidy area.
Gretchen: 10:00 Well, it’s, it’s interesting. I mean, one thing that I write about and think about a lot is the problem of shared work. Um, so shared work is like, we need to keep our house in good order. Now my idea of what good order is could be much higher than your idea of good order. And so you would just be comfortable. It’s everything. We’re a little bit more chaotic. And so I’m really saying I want to enforce my preference. And you’re saying, I don’t want to help you enforce your preference. If you want a clean, fine, clean it up. If you want to do it to my standard, you can let me do it my way. And again, is that the 1%, the largest we want to say, I’m right. You’re wrong. You should do it my way because my way is the better way. And a lot of times it isn’t a matter of somebody being right, somebody being wrong, but people having different preferences.
Gretchen: 10:41 And so I think it’s helpful to think about, well, this is the way I prefer to have it. Can we figure out a way to do that or to figure out how to make it fair? But look, if somebody really wants the bed made every day and somebody else honestly doesn’t care, I don’t really see why that’s the second person’s problem. You know, that’s a preference. Uh, now you could say, I will choose to do it out of love for you. Or You could say, I will do that because there’s something else I really want that isn’t important to you so I will do this because that’s fair. Or there’s a million ways to approach it, but when you’re like, people can’t live like this. Well it’s like, sure they can. They can’t all the time. People just have different preferences on how tidy they, they like things.
Gretchen: 11:21 How, how clutter-free. This also is a problem at work because sometimes the boss will say something like, a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind and we’re going to have a clean desk policy in this office. Well, that works for you. It doesn’t mean that it works for everyone. Some people find that their creativity is, is stimulated by kind of unexpected juxtapositions. I like to have a lot of things at all at once and they work perfectly productively that way. Um, why can’t they work in their own way? There’s no right way or wrong way really.
Brad: 11:47 Well, that’s nice to know. I’m also reflecting on Bruce Lipton biology belief, talking about these, um, these stimuli that were either move toward or a stimulator protection response. So if something’s a stressful, we see a predator rustling through the bushes. We get a protection response in ourselves and the fight or flight hormone spike and then the other things that we enjoy and we’re drawn to have that growth response. So it’s either or, uh, or, or, or, uh, neutral. Like something we don’t care about. We look at it, it doesn’t, it doesn’t charge us. But, uh, going back to the idea of like walking past a pile of clutter and not even realizing, uh, the, the fight or flight impact that has from glancing at it out of the corner of your eye as you proceed to the other room, um, that feels like I can sort of identify with that personality type. Maybe that tendency a, you’re also identifying a group of people who really don’t care and sister doesn’t mind that the closet, the kitchen cabinet open. So do you have any insights about how we might, uh, determine whether we’re getting a hidden stress response from having clutter and we could do something about it and achieve some inner calm?
Gretchen: 13:08 Well, I think one of the ways he’s like, do you feel better when it’s cleaned up? I mean, how much of a boost you get? A lot of people just feel so much better and it’s, it’s just, it’s funny to me, um, like the energy that people give him. One of the things I wanted to do with this book is remind people like, it’s going to feel so good. You’re going to get such a charge. I’m always begging my friends to let me come over and help them clean their clutter because I get such a like a contact high from doing it. Especially when it’s not your stuff. It’s like all the upside and none of the kind of emotional draining that it just don’t worry. How am I going to make you feel so good when you clear that out? And um, and so I think if you don’t really care if you’re like, you know what, I was like one thing, same difference to me then why bother?
Gretchen: 13:50 I mean we’ve all got a lot going on, but for most people they really do feel like kind of like kind of a a strange boost. I mean I just experienced this myself the other night. I um, you know, you’d think I’ve been studying clutter for so long. You think my whole house, it’d be like clutter free. But no, it happens all the time. And I was up in the middle of the night, I couldn’t sleep so I got up the way they tell it, you know, the sleep experts say get up and you know, do something and that’ll help you go back to sleep faster. So I get up and I’m like, I’m going to look at the utility closet. And sure enough there was just all this junk in there. And for the next few days I would just walk by the utility closet, get just by choice because I love looking at it and seeing how clean and how much space had opened up and how organized it was. Um, so he gave me like a, it wasn’t like it was bothering me. I hadn’t even thought about the utility closet. I’m like 10 years. It doesn’t go get what I needed and leave. I didn’t, it wasn’t weighing on me particularly, but then even just releasing all that space and creating that order, um, really gave me weird sense of satisfaction. And so, you know, sometimes when I’m blue I’ll clear clutter cause it just always gives me a lift.
Brad: 14:58 Uh, I, I hear that and I’m, I, I can identify it. It’s just a sense of accomplishment. And then you said, watch out about, uh, procrastic clearing. I’m like, oh no. I mean I’m a writer, I have deadlines and there’s so much aversion to, you know, getting into doing the hard work and we have all these coping mechanisms and wasting time tiding up. So I’m like, oh, so how do I avoid the drawbacks of procrastic clearing or identify when I’m in procrastic clearing mode?
Gretchen: 15:31 Well I think it’s always about, you don’t, well, the first question is, is this related to the task? Because often with necrotic, because there is, there’s definitely helpful preparation and it’s like I’m going to start writing a big report. So I’m going to, you know, put every, all my filing away and I’m going to get the dirty cups off my thing and I’m gonna put the pens and the pen cup and I’m in a plug my phone in and I’m going to close out all that, you know, every full everything that’s open that I don’t need and that’s going to help me focus procrastic clear.ing. It’s often like I need to vacuum every floor of my house, I need to clean out the fridge. It’s like cleaning up the fridge. That’s just procrastination because you don’t need to do that right now. And you probably, it’s been, the fridge has been like that. Why is it that at this specific moment it seems like an urgent pressing need and like nothing else in your house and your life can go forward until you deal with the fridge.
Gretchen: 16:17 That’s procrastic clearing and the thing is a little bit of procrastic clearing as you say, it’s very common. Certainly tons of writers have that. Um, a little bit of it can be fine cause I think it sometimes for people to transition you kind of warm up to it. It’s sort of a peaceful way to kind of get yourself in order. But for some people it can really get in the way of meeting their main priority. And if it’s something where you’re just constantly inserting these big tasks before you could start what you really need to get done, I think you have to recognize that it’s procrastination. One of the most dangerous forms of procrastination is working. Because you think, well, I’m working, I’m being productive, therefore it’s not really procrastination. I’ve heard of this called productive procrastination. If you have something that you need to get done and you’re doing things in order to delay that, that can become very detrimental because you’re really putting hurdles in your own way. Find ways to attack what needs to get done in a, in a timely way. In the end, that’s less stressful.
Brad: 17:18 Listeners, that was Gretchen just talking to me alone. And, uh, now we’re going to get back to the show. Oh, that was part of the show. You’re, you’re hitting me hard there. Oh my gosh. Um, so I imagine you, you, you said you’re, you’re not, um, a huge victim of this, but if you see these things creeping in to Gretchen Rubin’s game, you’re busy, you got projects, you’ve got people counting on you. Do you have some strategies? Would you get up and take a walk for five minutes and go, Hey, I’m, I’m feeling little distractible now. Get the blood flowing with a, a quick, a quick set of pull ups in the background. I don’t know.
Gretchen: 17:58 Uh, well, I’ll often get up and, uh, like go get something to drink. Um, or, uh, I go for a long walk in the morning. So I wouldn’t usually go for a walk, just like to clear my head. One thing I do when I really need to focus on, cause I’m writing a book, which is my most intellectually demanding kind of work. I’ll take my laptop and go, there’s a little library, a little subscription library, just a block from my house. And so I will work there because then I don’t connect to the Internet. And I’ve always, ever since I was in grade school, I’ve always loved to do, uh, and it kind of like academic work or research or writing in a library. Like I just spent hours and hours. I met my husband in the law school library. Um, and so I find that to be an environment that’s very conducive to thinking and kind of blocks out everything else. And in there if I want to, like if I’m feeling distractible, I’ll just go kind of walk around the shelves or I’ll check out a few books. And I find that very, um, like that’s a huge pleasure for me. But it’s also kind of, it’s still in the, in the same,
Gretchen: 18:54 Area of my brain, which is the reading, writing, thinking area. Um, and so, uh, but I think that it’s really, I think your question, the larger point of your question is what works for you? Like doing pull ups without work for me, like I can’t even do one full out. Like I’d be like panting on the floor, but that could work really well for you. I mean I think part of it is like knowing well what kind of thing helps me sort of take a good break and then, and then get back in where I want to go. Um, like have some tricks and tools. 10 jumping jacks is a great thing. If you’re feeling um, like sluggish, you know, your brain isn’t working at three o’clock in the afternoon and you’re like, I can’t take a nap. I can’t go for a run. What can I do? It’s like do 10 jumping jacks, run down a couple of sets of stairs that’ll, I often will do that if I’m feeling kind of just like, like my brain isn’t working.
Brad: 19:40 Well that change of venue tip is huge. I know not everybody has that logistically, but I’m turning off the internet or not having access to the Internet is like my bread and butter and I’ll sit in a parking lot waiting for my fiance to finish work and that’s when I get my best writing done cause I’m in a fricking car in the passenger seat doing my thing instead of having the ability to putz around and distract and float over to to Internet. So the library down the street, when you’re reading these beautiful books from Gretchen, you can know that it was mostly done away from home. I love it. Yup.
Gretchen: 20:15 Yeah. Um, sometimes people will have two computers, like a work computer and a play computer. Sometimes people will even like commute to their own house, like get out, like get dressed, walk around their house or walk around the block to be like, now I’m going to work. I have a friend who lives in a studio apartment and he has a rule that he can never get in bed. He can’t like lie on his bed and read an article. It’s like when I’m up, I’m up. And like I just pretend like this part of the studio apartment doesn’t exist. I’m like, I’m in the kitchen and our at my dad’s car, I’m like standing by the window cause he’s just, cause I’m, oh well you could just, you could read an article just as well in bed. He’s like, yeah, you don’t just like I gotta I can’t get into that bed.
Gretchen: 20:53 Um, so I think again, it’s mindfully thinking, well, what works for you? Like I couldn’t stand to work in a car. Like that would not be an environment that would, would be helpful to me. But for you it’s incredibly fruitful. And so again, it’s like figure out yourself. Um, some people do really good work in airports. Um, bizarrely a friend of mine is like, I did my best work in an airport. There’s something about that environment that’s really helpful. Um, so you never know. I mean, I think part of it is when people are like, there’s a one size fits all solution, I’m going to tell you the best, most efficient way to work and this is going to make you creative and this is going to make you effective. It’s like, I dunno, sometimes people like to be in big, crowded environment. Sometimes people like, like to be in quiet places in solitude. Some people like to work early in the morning, sometimes people like to work late in the day. Some people drink a lot of coffee, some people are like drinking booze. You know, it’s like
Brad: 21:41 Daily ritual. Yeah,
Gretchen: 21:42 I mean, well, yeah, you’re mentioned daily ritual. Mason Currey wrote a fascinating book called Daily Rituals and it looks at to have the daily work habits of more than a hundred highly successful creative people of all walks of life, scientists, painters, choreographers, writers. Um, and what you see is there’s just tremendous range in the kind of environments in which people do their best work. And the key is to figure out, well, what do I need and how do I get myself what I need? And maybe I need tremendous order. Maybe I’m a simplicity lover who needs tremendous order in my environment and maybe I liked some buzz and some profusion and a little bit of chaos and that works better for me. Um, so rather than trying to jam yourself into someone else’s model, it’s like, okay, what do I need it and how do I get the environment that works best for me?
Brad: 22:28 So, uh, blowing that up to a bigger perspective, I’m wondering, we have, and you’re a parent. I’m a parent. We want the best for our kids and for them to be the best they can be. And then you sit back and reflect and you know, we have these tendencies and these desires to pursue and achieve goals, but there seems to be a whole spectrum of, uh, of society now, especially where you can just indulge in digital entertainment for hours on end. Uh, they’d talk about the video game addiction, the porn addictions and things where people are just engaged and getting dopamine hits or whatever they need. And then you go to the central park on Sunday and you see people sitting on a blanket, a throwing a Frisbee, having a hot dog and walking over to watch the baseball game for four more hours. Something that maybe one category of person who would never do because it’s such a waste of time and it’s ridiculous. And it’s not using your brain and you’re not making money doing it. But are there different paths to happiness or is there, yeah. You know, how do you find out what to honor or whether you’re falling short of your best self and you deserve to go read a book, like the happiness project or uh, Outer Order, Inner Calm?
Gretchen: 23:48 Uh, if you’re going to say withGretchen Rubin here, with my brand, my question, I think you’re saying, is there a key to happiness? What is the key to happiness? So I think, I think if you, I think it’s the question is, is there a key to happiness? There’s two ways to answer that question depending on kind of what framework you’re, you’re, you’re in. One is relationships. Um, so ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree that the key, a key, and maybe the key to happiness is relationships. We have to have enduring intimate bonds. We have to be able to give and get support. We need to be able to confide, we need to feel like we belong. And so anything that we do that, um, the tendsto deepen or expand our relationships tends to make us happier. Now, one way to have a relationship is to go have a picnic with somebody and go watch a baseball game.
Gretchen: 24:38 On the other hand is also true that there, there’s many ways that technology can help us deepen and expand our relationships. So technology is, it’s an amplifier of human nature. You know, every medicine can become poison. And I think we want to be this, you know, we want to be in control of it and use it to our benefit. I’m a big believer in the benefits that technology can bring. That’s not the same thing as I’m playing video games 14 hours a day and like, uh, you know, uh, to the, to the, to the exclusion of everything else. Um, but so anything that deepens and broadens relationships tends to make us happier. Or You could say what’s another key to happiness? The key to happiness is self knowledge because we can build a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own interests, our own values, our own temperament.
Gretchen: 25:21 Now going into the bay, going to a baseball game on a sunny day is something that would lead me utterly bored and cold. I don’t want to go to a baseball game. I don’t want to watch it on TV. I don’t want to watch it live. Like I might go to hang out with my friends, but I’m like, we could be at a baseball game, we could be in a football game, give you a basketball game. We could be at a soccer game, we can be at a tennis match. I don’t know because I don’t care because I’m not interested in sports and I don’t even really like games. So is that a secret to happiness? No. The secret to happiness is what do I like? What do I enjoy? How can I hang out with people that I love? Um, and so everybody kind of has to figure out their own way because it’s going to look different.
Gretchen: 25:58 The kinds of things that make one person happy might not make another happ. Some people travel’s really important. For some people, music’s really important. For some people, food is very important. For some people, uh, you know, games are very important. Eh, there’s, there’s so many different, um, ways that we can approach it. But the secret is to know ourselves and to think about, well, how do I build a life that reflects what’s true about me, not what other people expect from me, or what I assume is true about me or what I wish were true about me. Um, but really what is true for me.
Brad: 26:28 So if you’re a surf bum and you’re totally congruent with that, you’re not really making an economic contribution to society. You might not be, uh, taking best care of even the relationships around you, but you’re, you, you appear be, uh, a chill person enjoying your, your beers and street tacos and a random binges to Baja for catching the waves. Um, is it possible that person’s access something that they might have the secret to the tightly wound, a helicopter over-stressed parent that’s trying to do too much and be too much and ascribe to all these ideals of society?
Gretchen: 27:05 Well, I think you’re describing people with very different values and saying, well, because one person could say my value was autonomy, independence, choice, spontaneity. I’m not that interested in deep relationships. I don’t want to have children. I like being in nature. I like extreme sports. I’m another person is like, I’m very deeply engaged with the people around me. It’s important to me to have roots. A lot of people depend on me and I depend on others. Um, I’m very ambitious in my career. I want to make, I want to have power, I want to have influence. I want to make things happen in the world. I want people to listen to me. And I want to be able to execute big, big dreams and big visions. These are people who have different values. And to say that the person who’s really happy being the head of an emergency, you know, an emergency room in a big urban hospital as a head of surgery would be happy as a beach bum.
Gretchen: 27:48 It’s like not, I wouldn’t cause those are totally different people with totally different values and totally different interests. The beach bum is like, okay, I’m a beach bum, I like to be independent, but like do I have relationships? Because if I don’t have relationships I’m probably not going to be happy. And to the emergency er, prison, it’s like, do you have time to just do what you want and to relax because probably that would make you happier. But to sort of say like one, one is preferable than the other or like that one has elements. I mean I just, I think people can be happy in such different ways. Um, and so I think, I think rather than saying what is, what should it, it’s, it’s very helpful to think like, well what are the elements? And given everything about me, how would I incorporate those elements?
Gretchen: 28:27 I mean just the say way extroverted and introverted. Some people want to have coffee with two best friends and some people want to walk into a credit cocktail party is one. Right? And one wrong is when the best way, I mean both have advantages and disadvantages. We both were probably all happier. If we can enjoy a little bit of both, maybe we have to kind of push ourselves in certain kinds of environments to get the benefit of them. Um, but I’m not like, but when people say something like, well, I could have three real friends or I can have 30 Facebook fake friends, I’m like, that’s a false choice. There’s lots of different kinds of friends. Um, and you could have many kinds of relationships that can enrich your life. Not everyone is going to be in your wedding party, um, but they can still have a place in your life if you can handle that. Some people like having lots of relationships. Some people get overwhelmed when they feel like they’re sort of too many people to have in their heads. Again, that’s a, that’s a difference. Um, so there’s a real range. We’re in a lot of ways, people are very much alike, but then the, the differences are important. I think, uh, help us understand ourselves and how other people might be different from us.
Brad: 29:31 So to throw this into parenting for a moment, I know that’s off your book topic, but, uh, where do you stand on the spectrum of wanting the best for your kids? Opening doors, given them opportunities, helping them believe in their potential. But let’s say for example, a kid is looking at a destiny of becoming a surf bum rather than a college student. Uh, is there a way to come to acceptance to realize that the, the self determinism determinism is there and you, you offer choices and then see what happens? Or can we orchestrate things? Is there a certain level that we need to participate in?
Gretchen: 30:08 Well, that is one of the most profound questions in parenting, which is, but you know, what is your role? Um, my own father said to me, um, uh, about my granddaughter, about his granddaughter, my daughter. He said, well, you know, he said, you know, Gretchen, at some point you have to switch from being an advisor to being a cheerleader. And he’s like, and I think you’ve already reached that point with your older, you know, with Eliza. Um, and I think I personally just in my own experience of life think that it’s very risky for parents to overly intervene in children’s career choices. I think you really, really, that’s a big risk because often parents out of the deepest love want us to do things that seem safe. They don’t want us to risk failure. They don’t want us to risk, um, having our feelings hurt or being rejected.
Gretchen: 30:56 But the problem is, as we all know, there is no safety and you could tell your child, you can’t become a beach bum. You can’t become a beach bum. That’s totally irresponsible. You should be coming account and you’ve always been good at numbers. And then they go into an accounting firm, they burn out, they get it, they, you know, they have all kinds of bad behavior or the accounting firm goes bankrupt and now they’ve got like a terrible stain. And they’re doing something that they never even loved or that you know, and it’s like if they become a beach bum, it would’ve been like, oh, they were there. They saw this investment opportunity, they got involved with a partner. Now they have this great flourishing business and they live in Hawaii and their life is great. Like we don’t know, um, we don’t know how things are going to turn out.
Gretchen: 31:32 We don’t know what is the safe choice now. I think children don’t always know the consequences of their action. And so I think you want to say things like people who go to college, I have a lot more choices. That’s just the way of the world. That’s not my opinion. That is like literally a fact. You can look that up. Now if you have a college education, you just have many more choices of, of, of a career. If you’re a person who likes to have choices, you might not, might be something that’s really important to you. Um, do you want it, I mean, do you want to take a gap year? Like a lot of times parents can see options or like nuances that children just don’t have enough experience in the world to be able to spot. They don’t know about. I mean, I remember coming out of college, like people had jobs.
Gretchen: 32:12 I never, I didn’t even know that was a job. Like I didn’t, I was like, I didn’t even know that was a thing. Like people, we came, management consultants, I was like, what is that? I had never heard of that. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. It like, I’m sure there were management consultants was like, what is that even a job? Uh, my sister works in Hollywood and she’s like, people don’t know that. They’re like all these crazy cool jobs and Hollywood. Um, if people were like, you can do that as a profession. It’s like they just don’t have the sophistication to realize that the possibilities. So I think there’s absolutely a role for a parent to play. Um, but a lot of it is, you know, it’s not something you could do at the last minute. It’s like something that you’ve been trying to do all along in terms of helping them have self mastery and planning and thinking ahead and self examination. What am I like, what do I, what am I good at? What interests me? Um, do you know these are kind of that this is the long game,
Brad: 33:07 Right. And doing so without a injecting that a judgment or manipulation. Oh, for example, like bribing for a college admission spot on a fake athletic team or what have you.
Gretchen: 33:20 Yeah.
Brad: 33:21 So when we’re desiring to declutter, uh, what I liked about your, uh, your presentation was it can be looking different for anyone. It’s not the first step is to go into your fridge and get rid of the spoiled food. Yeah. Uh, what are some ways that we can personalize that experience at first step that we can take?
Speaker 7: 33:47 Well, I would say the first step I would say is don’t, don’t do this. Don’t say I’m going to get it organized. Because a lot of times when people decide they’re going to get organized, they had this impulse to like run out to the container store or Staples or wherever and buy hangers and folders, binders. I don’t know what it is about people and their binders, um, fancy containers. Um, but really what we should start is by clearing out everything that’s sort of clogging the system. Because if you get rid of everything that’s sort of, does it need to be there? You may not need to get organized at all. You just, you just have a room on a shelf and you just put that thing on the shelf. It doesn’t need to be like contained and some, you know, elaborate way. Like a guy who said he needed to, he thought he had to organize all his paperwork and then he realized his paperwork was all about pet insurance and his account was online anyway, so he could just recycle all this paper.
Gretchen: 34:34 He didn’t need to do anything with it. Um, and then, but that leads to the question of like, okay, well how do you decide what’s clogging the system at? Like, what do you relinquish them? What do you hang on to? I think a really useful tip test for just about anyone is do I need it? Do I use it? Do I love it? Because obviously for everyone, what do I need, use, and love would be very, very different. Um, but that can, that’s a question that can get, can really help it get easier. Like let’s say you have a broken umbrella. Do you need it? Do you use it to you love it? No. So why do you have it? So either like get it fixed or get rid of it because you don’t need to use your living the bread maker. That seems like a great idea for a birthday gift for your spouse five years ago.
Gretchen: 35:11 You don’t need it. Use it. Love it. The cord. You don’t even know what that cord goes to. Um, or you know, like in my, when I cleaned out the utility closet, we had to vacuum cleaners. We had the vacuum cleaner that we use. And then we had like our backend backup backup vacuum cleaner, which was like our old vacuum cleaner that we didn’t like, why am I hanging on to that? Let’s give that, you know, give that away. Somebody else might, it might be just the perfect vacuum cleaner for them. Um, cause we only need one vacuum. We only use one vacuum cleaner, you know. Um, so I think that’s a really good test for just about everyone.
Gretchen: 35:44 And a really funny little thing that works for people is the one minute rule. And this is the rule that anything you can do in less than a minute, you do without delay. So if you can hang up your coat instead of throwing it on a chair, if you can, uh, you know, print out a document and put it in the right folder, um, that just gets rid of that kind of scum of clutter on the surface of everyday life. And it makes us feel less burdened because it’s easier to like get through your day.
Brad: 36:09 Can we put a limit on that so we don’t go into procrastic clearing like the one minute rule times 12, and then you got to get, get stuff going?
Gretchen: 36:16 Uh, well usually the one minute rule is like as you go, it’s like, could I just put this away right now instead of leaving it here and doing it later? It’s not like sit down and do you know, it’s a, it’s an as you go kind of thing. What are the things that’s very striking about clutter is that it’s much easier to keep up than to catch up. And what happens to a lot of people is they live in clutter because maybe something happened, like they had a baby and started a new job and the same six months or they moved and they started a new job and they never really unpacked. Like they never can get caught up. And so they just, it’s this sort of like build and build, um, or it’s like you have a big mess and then you just, it’s like, it just doesn’t, you’re like, when am I going to tackle this huge pile?
Gretchen: 36:53 But what you don’t want to do is to tackle the huge pile and then a week later it’s like nothing ever changed. You know, once you can catch up you want to have these little habits that will help you keep up. And the one minute rule is great for keeping up because it just means like, oh this book is out. Let me put this book back. I’m not going to leave it there for a month and I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna I don’t need to take a half an hour to do like a whole spree of cleaning cause maybe I, maybe I’m just walking out the door to go to work. I’m just going to do this one thing cause I know we can get it done in a minute. Okay.
Brad: 37:21 Now assume once you build that momentum from your initial efforts, it’s gotta be easier to keep up.
Gretchen: 37:29 I think it’s much easier to keep up. And then also one thing that I noticed and I think many people have experienced this, is that messy areas tend to get messier and tidy areas tend to stay cleaner. And you can see what this is like. Let’s say you have a counter and like 15 things on it. Well if you dump your bag there at the end of the day and you’re just like, oh yeah, I don’t know what to do with this thing. It just, there it is. It doesn’t, it doesn’t call out to you to figure out what to do with it. Whereas if you have a bare counter or like a bare chest of drawers in your front hallway or something and there’s like one thing sitting there, well first of all it’s easier to find it. You’re like, oh they’re my airpods. Cause they’re just sitting there by themselves instead of part of a big mess.
Gretchen: 38:05 But also I think just kind of, temperamentally, people are more inclined to put something away when it says clearly one thing that is in the wrong place. You’re like, why is this doggy bag holder sitting here? It should be on the leash. Why don’t I just go ahead and put it on the lead so that I don’t leave the house without doggy bags. But if it’s part of the whole mess, it’s like your eye doesn’t even locate it. So I do think that once you clear things and then also other people, if there’s a big notice, people tend to dump their mess on it. If it’s pretty clear, um, then they’re much more aware of like, I don’t, why is my stuff there? My stuff doesn’t belong there. It belongs someplace else.
Brad: 38:40 Um, I, I bought into that and hoping that my, my teenagers would follow suit when doing all these wonderful tightening, tightening drills and techniques. Sometimes that doesn’t fly. So if you’re seeing like in congruence, in buy in and in a common living situation, what do you, what do you think we got to do here?
Gretchen: 39:02 Uh, well that’s a very, very common conflict. Obviously. It’s like a lot of times people have different tolerances for clutter and so that creates a disagreement. I mean, for what? For children. I mean it’s always, I think the question is always like, is this where you, is this the hill on which you want to make her stand? Is this really, what is this so important to you that you really want to nag on it? Um, if it’s something like you’re putting your shoes, you’re just kicking off your shoes instead of putting them in the right place, it’s like, at a certain point I think I would not fight that fight. Um, now for somebody else that could be so important that they would just want that they would want to make that their fights. So in that case, um, there’s a lot of strategies in the books where you can, like, is it easy to put it away?
Gretchen: 39:44 How convenient is it to put it away? Go. Can you set things up in a better way? Um, like for example, in my house, nobody ever hung up their coat. I never hung up my coat either. So we were all, we were all doing this and then I thought hooks. So I put it in all these hooks and it turns out with my family, if there are hooks, people will put their coats on hooks. So sometimes it’s sort of like, well, can we do this another way? Or like, let’s say the shoes are driving you crazy. Could you have a basket? A lot of times something that’s on a tray or in a basket feels more orderly, even if they’re just sort of tossed in there. So could you put a basket by the front door and you’re like, could you just put your shoes in the basket and like, okay, maybe they can do that.
Gretchen: 40:21 Cause it’s not like, oh, take them up to your room and put them in your closet. Don’t put them away. Just put them in this basket. Or at least for you, it’s easier. You just put them in the basket. I feel like I spend a half my day putting up, putting dog toys back in the basket. Um, it’s not that hard though, you know? But if I was actually like putting them away in a specific place, it might get annoying. But if you’re just dumping them in a basket, so they, part of it is just a step back, I think. What is the problem? Identify the problem. Um, I think if you can, it’s great for children to have their own space that they can handled in their own way. And maybe it’s super messy, but you can be like, well, your space, you can do what you want but in, but in these shared spaces, I really want you to do it a different way.
Gretchen: 40:56 I think children often respond to that. Um, and uh, and, and to try to make it easy. I mean, I’ve seen pictures of people show me pictures of their children’s rooms and they’re like, my kid won’t put anything away. I’m like, that room is like, there’s no warm to put anything away. You can’t expect your five year old to figure out how to get rid of 80 stuffed animals. Like you kind of need to help. Like if it’s really hard to jam a coat into a coat closet, people are going to be less likely to hang up their coats. So maybe you need to say like, what’s, what’s getting in the way? Um, uh, you know, and then I would say the final thing is, um, and I’ve experienced this as a parent is the days are long but the years are short and right now it’s driving you crazy to have all those tennis shoes by the front door.
Gretchen: 41:39 But the day will come when there are no shoes by the front door and everything will be neatly put away exactly where you left it. And you will think back with great fondness on a day when there was a huge pile of tennis shoes by your front door every day. I’m just saying enjoy the season of life and try to understand these are all phases and they will pass and you want to manage it completely. I understand, I do the same thing but I, but I now often I’m like, oh, remember the giant plastic slide that drove me crazy while, you know, that was, that was just a season of life and I probably should have just been more chill about it.
Brad: 42:14 I think we also want to get away from thinking if you model this beautiful behavior that you think is so awesome that it’s going to absorb into others, it might might, they might not care, and then you can kind of build resentment, frustration because you’re so decluttered and then the, the piles buildup around you, whether it’s your mate at work or at home or what have you.
Gretchen: 42:39 Well that’s interesting. I mean one of the things I always do because I’m a huge scorekeeper, I’m a real bean catcher, it’s like was really an aspect of my personality. One of the things I’ll tell him myself as I’m doing it for myself, I’m doing because this is the way I like to have it because, because in a way that sounds selfish, but to your point about resentment, it’s like I don’t resent doing this. This is what I want. I’m cleaning this up. I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this for me. And I think a lot of times I am doing it for me. And so just to be honest about it, like if somebody else really doesn’t care, it’s like, well you are doing it for you and just and, and, and that there’s a pleasure in that and just being like, well I can have, I want it the way I want it so I’m going to make it the way I want it.
Gretchen: 43:14 And then it’s knowing of other people don’t cooperate but you can, you can see why you’re doing it yourself. I will say this thing about children too is I think sometimes parents feel like they have a real duty to train their children because they don’t want them to be an inconsiderate spouse or like a horrible roommate because they’re so messy. And one of the, I always think of my husband, I mean my husband, it’s notorious how messy his college dorm room was and now he is Mr hamper and Mr make your bed. I think sometimes it’s just like people go through a phase and they have to grow into it. Or maybe it’s a, it’s a sign of trying to show autonomy or whatever, but I don’t think that your child is, we’ll be that way necessarily forever. Now, my sister, who I mentioned earlier with my cohost for the happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, she was incredibly messy as a child and she’s been incredibly messy all the way through.
Gretchen: 44:01 I’ve been there the whole way. She’s better than she was. She’s still by anyone’s standard who’s pretty tidy, very messy. So not everybody outgrows it, but some people do. And I think that, you know, a lot of it is just like, this is who the person is. Like, I don’t know that you can also have the backlash for like, you make your kid make their bed every day. And so then when they grow up, they’re like, I’m never making my bed again. I’m a grownup. You can’t make me. So you never know how these things play out. So, um, I think it’s really about peace and like an environment where everybody feels comfortable. Because if you feel overwhelmed and just sort of stifled by all the junk in your environment, that’s not good for you. Um, on the other hand, if you’re just like, I like to have the dishwasher loaded a certain way, it’s like, okay, well other people may disagree and how important is it, you know, and then talk that through.
Brad: 44:52 I guess this would transition. I, I know you’re busy gala, but I wanted to talk a little bit about the four tendencies and wondering, it sounds like these are pretty innate. You’re talking about you and Elizabeth grew up in the same house. You got your thing going. She’s, you’re describing the disparity there. Um, if you could just go through with the, the 30 second definition of each one and, okay. Um, how, uh, Nate are they and if so, should we spend effort changing trying to, you know, I’m, I’m rebel tendency. I’m a 99% rebel tendency. I’m like, oh my gosh, what an eye opening a insight that, yeah,
Gretchen: 45:30 yeah.
Brad: 45:31 Operate In my own world rather than trying to, you know, uh, but, uh, should I waste time and energy, spend time and energy trying to be more upholding? Or is it just like work with your strengths, work with your tendency?
Gretchen: 45:42 Yeah. Well, so I’ll just briefly describe the four tendencies so people know what we’re talking about. Um, and we’re opposites in a way. Like I’m an upholder and you’re a rebel, so that’s good. Um, but there isn’t work,
Brad: 45:53 There was pairs that can work, right?
Gretchen: 45:56 Rebel and upholder is the most difficult tendency. Oh, that’s right.
Brad: 45:58 That’s the most difficult. Right?
Gretchen: 46:00 It’s difficult.
Brad: 46:01 I don’t want oblige more of a partner.
Gretchen: 46:03 I’m guessing that your partner is an obliger.
Brad: 46:05 Yes.
Gretchen: 46:06 Yeah, that’s old because that’s overwhelmingly the case. If one person has rumbled, the other person is an obliger, that’s overwhelmingly the case. And except for certain, uh, very predictable exceptions to that. Um, that’s almost always true. Um, so there’s upholders, questioners, obligers and rebels. This is my four tendencies, personality framework. Um, I wrote a book about it and there’s a quiz. If you want to take a quiz that tells you what you are, you could take it a quiz. Dot Gretchen Rubin.com. Um, but most people don’t even like just in the brief discussion that we’ll have. Um, most people know can figure out their tendencies. So it has to do with how you respond to expectations, outer expectations, like a work deadline and inner expectations like a request from our friend.
Gretchen: 46:50 And so depending on how you respond to outer and inner expectations, you’re either an upholder questioner, obliger or rebel. So appalled is readily meet outer and inner expectations. They meet the work deadline, they keep the new year’s resolution without much fuss. They want to know what other, uh, they want to know what others expect for them, but their expectations for themselves are just as important. Then there are questioners, questioners question all expectations. They’ll do something if they think it makes sense. So they’re making everything an inner expectation. They resist anything arbitrary, ineffective, irrational. They need to know why before they’ll comply. Then there are obligers obligers readily meet outer expectations, but they struggle to meet inner expectations. So I got my insight into this. When a friend said, I don’t understand it when I was in high school, I was on the track team and I never missed track practice.
Gretchen: 47:34 Why can’t I go running now? Well, when you had a team and a coach expecting you to show up, no problem, but we need to just try to go on your own. You struggle. And then finally, rebels, rebels resist outer and inner expectations. They want to do what they want to do in their own way, in their own time. They can do anything they want to do, they can do anything they choose to do. But if you ask or tell them to do something, they’re very likely to resist. And typically they don’t like to tell themselves what to do. Like they often wouldn’t do something like sign up for a 10:00 AM spin class on Saturdays because they’re like, I don’t know what I’m going to want to do on Saturday. And just the fact that somebody is expecting me to show up is just annoying. Um, so those are the four tendencies.
Brad: 48:13 Oh, it was life changing book. Just to first identify yourself and then I don’t know about you if you start going through your day, uh, uh, getting everyone’s tendencies dialed in and then, uh, I think benefiting from the insight to treat people in the way that, uh, might get the most cooperation, the most, um, most joy in, in a relationship setting.
Gretchen: 48:38 Yeah. Well you asked before about like, should you, what should you do with your tendency? And I think that what I think about the tendency is sometimes people do want to be a different tendency. Like they’re like, I don’t want to be an obliger, I want to be an upholder, whatever. And I think, you know, is it possible to really change your inborn, hardwired, genetically programmed personality? I don’t think so. Or if it is, it’s very, very difficult. But it’s very easy to change your circumstances. And so what I would say is like if you’re a rebel and you’re having trouble doing something because it’s like you can’t use to do list, you don’t like having things on the schedule. Like it’s like you don’t like to give yourself rules. So, you know, like, okay, what do you do with that? To me, it’s like, don’t try to make yourself a different kind of person.
Gretchen: 49:18 It’s like, how can I do this in a rebel way? And so for rebel, like let’s say you wanted to quit sugar, well you’re not going to do it because the doctor said so. You’re not going to do it because you said you would. You’re not going to do it because your partner is asking you to. You’re going to do, cause you’re, you’re going to say things to yourself like the, about your identity and what you want. My, I’m a strong, healthy person. I’m not controlled by big food companies. They can’t addict me and chain me with their fake ingredients. I love exotic, fresh foods. I love going to the farmer’s market. I love buying things and putting together new, new flavors. Um, I could people say, I can’t quit sugar. Watch me. I’m not going to eat sugar again for the rest of the year.
Gretchen: 49:55 I mean, these are all things that appeal to rebels because its identity. Uh, and, and, and what the kind of person they want to be. But you can imagine that to someone else. Um, like do an obliger, they need outer accountability to meet inner expectations. Obligers need outer accountability. See, outer accountability can be counterproductive for rebels because they don’t like people looking over their shoulders and telling him what to do for obligers. It’s necessary. So if you’re an obliger when you want to quit sugar, you might like, you know, pay for a nutritionist or have an accountability group. I have an app called the better app where people form accountability groups. You could think of your duty to be a role model for someone else. You can think about your duty to be healthy because you’ve got people who are depending on you. Um, you could say that you, you know, like say that you’ll donate a certain amount of money to an important charity. If you go sugar free for a year, there’s a million ways to create outer accountability once you realize that that’s what you need. Um, and that’s what the tendencies helps you figure out is like how do you work within your own strengths, um, to get where you want to go. We can all achieve our aims but we might need to take different paths to get there.
Brad: 50:57 I love that stuff. I actually, this is a question. Okay, my last question. Uh, but it’s how to get more people to buy your book. The, the full back story. The actual question is it seems like sometimes the people who are pre qualified, the ones most likely to go and embark upon a happiness project or to declutter, they’re already pre qualified. They’re already in pursuit of happiness. Then they’re going to do a happiness project. They already know. It’s funny.
Gretchen: 51:31 It’s funny that you said that because research shows like if you look at people who buy self improvement books, there are already people who are highly functioning and they know that like even a little bit of boost would help. So it’s the people, the people who you think most need it aren’t the or not the audience. You’re exactly right. Like research has actually shown that that is the case.
Brad: 51:49 So what do we do?
Gretchen: 51:52 Um, well, uh, you mean like should you give it to somebody? A lot of times we’ll buy books or gift. It’s funny, like I will personalize books and a lot of times people ask me to personalize. You got this or you can do it. So clearly it’s like meant to be, I don’t like, you’re like, I’m not going to buy this book. I know you’re not going to buy this book for yourself, so I’ll go to buy it for you. You know? Um, uh, I mean one thing is you can sort of like leave it out and see if somebody wants to do it. But I mean all like all change, it has to, with the only person we can change is ourselves. We can’t make other people change or force, you know, or, or, or, or nag other people into changing. Um, but sometimes we can put ideas or thoughts in their way so that can help. And sometimes, you know, there’s the, I love the saying when the teachers, when the student is ready, the teacher appears, and so sometimes you can kind of play that role. It’s sort of like when somebody seems like they’re casting about, you can offer tools and resources and ideas for them. Um, yeah, I know people have to be ready to listen.
Brad: 52:49 You’re cranking out books, you’re recording the podcast. We can push that button and start listening and maybe that’s going too, uh, for the uh, uh, the questionnaire. It might take a few episodes or whatever, but I appreciate what you’re doing so much, Gretchen Rubin. We’ve dropped a few suggestions through the thing, but you want to summarize by telling us the best way to connect with you and
Gretchen: 53:12 absolutely. Yes, you can. Listen, we talked about my podcast happier with Gretchen Rubin where I talk every week about how to be happier. I’m with my sister Elizabeth Craft, the messy one. She’s also an obliger, um, and uh, on my website, Gretchen Rubin.com. I like post regularly about my adventures and sort of happiness and good habits and human nature. I read a lot about habit formation as well. Um, and there’s tons of stuff there and resources and if you want to read the sample chapters or listen to samples of the audio books, it’s all there. Um, I’m on social media under the name Gretchen Rubin. Um, I love to connect with readers and listeners and viewers. Um, so with insights, observations, questions, anything. Um, I’m all over the place and I love to connect. So, um, I look forward to hearing from people.
Brad: 53:53 Gretchen Rubin, keep it going. Thank you so much for the show. I really appreciate it.
Gretchen: 53:58 Thank you. It’s so fun to talk to you.
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