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116: Choose the Bigger Life with Gretchen Rubin

Happiness guru Gretchen Rubin shares insightful tips about living your biggest life! Learn how the apply the Four Tendencies to make your family life happier, how to allow your own values and nature to lead your journey of happiness, and how failure can be the best thing that can happen to you.

What You'll Learn in this Episode:

  • Why staying true to your own nature, your own values, and your own interests is a critical piece to your happiness puzzle.
  • The reason understanding the Four Tendencies can help you dissolve the confusion of why your spouse and kids act “that way” and help make your relationships at home much more peaceful.
  • How applying the motto, “Choose the Bigger Life” has made Gretchen’s life more fulfilling.
  • The nickname Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth gave her.
  • And much more!

Nuggets of Wisdom from Gretchen:

“My favorite quote is, ‘Be Gretchen.' To me that is a succinct summary of everything that I want to remember, that I am going to be happier if I stay true to my own nature, my own values, my own interests. I just need to remember to be Gretchen, which is harder than it sounds. I am not a very visual person, so I don’t really have a visual. It’s more of this idea like taking it back to the center, of not getting pulled back at what I think should be true or what I wish were true, or what other people expect, but really just what’s true for me. On the one hand, I want to accept myself. On the other hand, I want to expect more from myself. Sometimes I have to do things that are uncomfortable or feel outside my comfort zone or out of my range. Are those things the right things for me? Or somehow, have I tried to do something for other reasons, not because it’s Gretchen but because I feel like I should try to be something that I’m not?”

“I decided I would rather fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer. This was the moment when I needed to take my shot. I needed to really try. Yeah, I might fail, but I was more worried about another major law job that I would never really try writing. It was the logical time to make a jump. I needed to take my chance. That was the right time to take a risk.”

“Another motto I have for myself is, ‘Choose the bigger life!' Different people have different ideas about what the bigger life would be. For my family, in truth, the bigger life was to get a dog. That would be the bigger life for us. I also thought about the research, ancient philosophers, what contemporary scientists say… and the most important thing for happiness is relationships. A relationship with a dog is very valuable relationship – a relationship that my daughters yearned for. It’s going to be a relationship, and relationships make people happier. And I also learned that novelty and challenge make people happier. This is something new, something we haven’t done. It will be a whole family adventure. So we did get a dog, Burnaby, and it’s been great! I think if I had not done all this research about happiness, I might have stood my ground and said, ‘No, it is just not worth the effort.'”

What does it mean to be a Vibrant Happy Woman?

“When my life is a reflection of my interests, my values and my temperament, that’s when I feel energetic; that’s when I feel vibrant.”

“When I feel out of sorts, I spend a day in the library. That brings me back to myself and restores my energy.”

A Challenge from Gretchen:

“Get enough sleep. It’s so simple. It gives you more energy and you're more able to do all the things that make you happier.”



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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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