Have you heard of Gretchen Rubin? She is the author of The Happiness Project, one woman’s experience (hers) of trying different positive interventions in her life, one at a time, over the course of a year. Some things she tried were from positive psychology, some were from the ancient wisdom of various cultures and religions, some were from self-help gurus and some were things she made up and discovered along the way. Some worked, some didn’t – she wrote honestly about her experience with all of them – and the book went to #1 on the New York Times best sellers list.
One of the many things that Gretchen developed was her list of “splendid truths”. She has four of them. Here’s the quote from her website:
- First: To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
- Second: One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
- Third: The days are long, but the years are short. (click the link to see my one-minute movie)
- Fourth: You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
I’m quite taken by this phrase “splendid truth” and have been considering it in my own work. People who follow me on Facebook and Twitter might know that I have two very different interests when it comes to the application of positive psychology: parenting and organizations.
On one hand, I am naturally drawn to positive psychology in professional settings – with leaders, teams, departments and so on. Yet on the other, I chose to do my Capstone for my MAPP (Master of Applied Positive Psychology) program on positive parenting – and I still have aspirations to write a book on the topic. Both of these areas have one other thing in common: how we relate to others, be it our children, our co-workers, our partners, whoever.
So for me, “splendid truths” are about positive psychology research that transcends these areas – parenting, partners and professions.
Here are a few examples:
- care for others and demonstrate empathy
- give your attention
- show gratitude
And there are a few other examples that I feel are still “true” but may not be directly based in positive psychology. Examples include:
- consider your own contribution when things go wrong
- know thyself
- consider the “and”
What else would you add to this list? What life lessons, if you will, transcend being a parent, having a good relationship with your partner, and contributing in a meaningful way in your profession?
Please share your own “splendid truths” in the comments section below – thank you!