Monday, January 18, 2010

Happiness Day 9: The Rules

One of the things that surprised me in THE HAPPINESS PROJECT was Gretchen's assertion that deep inside, we each have something called Heuristics we use to navigate daily life. Heuristics, she explains, are mental rules of thumb--the quick, common sense principles we develop & use to make decisions. She goes on to point out how highly personalized our individual heuristics are. Hers, for example, included things like, "Never eat hors d'oeuvres" and "I'm in a hurry." So as a general rule, she'll pass on the scallops wrapped in bacon at a cocktail party, and move quickly through her daily tasks to get to the next thing on her list. Time has shown that she's happier with her life when she follows these simple principles, rather than making in-the-moment decisions each time a choice is called for.

This got me thinking: what are my rules? It took me awhile, but I came up with three:

1. Smile at people.
2. Never get on a subway or an elevator if I have to go to the bathroom.
3. If I see plain white t-shirts in my size, buy them.

There you have it, my hard-won rules for better living. They're rather self-explanatory, so I won't elaborate :) But I'd love to add to the list. Suggestions?

What rules do you have for everyday life?


Marie said...

those are great rules! I love the subway one- so true! And you can never smile too much, or have too many white tshirts. I saw Gretchen on TV the other day and her book looks great.

Julia said...

Always be friendly to people who are serving you (waiters, cashiers, etc.), and one from my mom, which has probably served me the best: If you doubt it, don't.

Erica said...

1) Always say please and thank you. Be quick with excuse me's, sorry's, and random sincere compliments (ie if I like a stranger's shoes on the T, I tell them).

2) Only use coupons or pursue sales if you were going to buy it anyway.

3) Never drink alone, unless you're in the bathtub

4) Laugh often, mostly at yourself.

There are probably more, but that's all I got for now. :)

Sarakastic said...

My rule is: take a bigger bag to the library.

kim said...

1) When my gut senses something, make sure I check out what I'm sensing.

2) When I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, to just get up and go and not waste more time hoping I can just get back to sleep.

3) More than 2 glasses of wine is never a good thing.

kim said...

Oh yeah, one more: Never give up sugar because I eat twice as much of everything else trying to satisfy the craving and end up gaining weight.

Anonymous said...