Are you happy?
If not, how do you get happy?
That’s what our latest Deutsch Commons Live speaker, Gretchen Rubin, attempted to find out in her book, The Happiness Project.
“Happy people are more altruistic, they give away more money, they volunteer more, and are generally more outward turning,” says Gretchen. “For everyone to be as happy as they can be is a very worthy goal… and I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t want to be.”
Inspiration for the book came to Gretchen while stuck in traffic on the cross-town bus, as most epiphanies do. She decided she wanted to be truly happy, and needed to know how to go about it. She dove into researching happiness with the skills of a former Supreme Court law clerk (for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, if you’re curious). The book is her journey of exploring happiness across a range of topics from energy to friendship to parenting over the course of one full year, and discovering the real-world applications of happiness.
Deutsch NY EVP, Group Creative Director Liz Gumbinner interviewed Gretchen about happiness, asking her about the role of cynicism in achieving happiness and the innate cynicism of advertising. In the work environment, Gretchen recommends the simple energy test. Does talking to a person make you more or less energized? The cynic strips us of our energy, which can be draining. Don’t we all want to be the Energizer Bunny? (See? Ad people do occasionally like other agency’s campaigns.)
Gretchen said that happiness has been made uncool. She cited Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” as the great indictment of happiness. (Maybe, but watching clips of that movie makes me happy.)
The message for the day: Think of our personal happiness as the greatest act of selflessness we can commit. Happy people are more generous, more altruistic and more socially engaged; they (we?) have the emotional wherewithal to help others. How can we be happier? Avoid that cubicle in your pocket, sleep, and keep an empty shelf. If that doesn’t make sense to you, listen to the Deutsch Commons Live interview and learn.
Let’s get happier!