7 Tips for Making Other People Feel Smart and Insightful

We all want to get along well with other people, and one way to do this is to help people feel good about themselves. If you make a person feel smart and insightful, that person will enjoy your company. The point is not to be manipulative, but to help other people feel good about their contributions to a conversation.

Does Announcing a Resolution Make You More Likely to Keep It

My recent post, Beware of “decoy habits,” spurred a lot of conversation, and it’s clear to me that the subject is much more complex, and interesting, than I initially realized.

The 10 Inalienable Rights of the Reader

A thoughtful reader pointed out a wonderful list written by French author Daniel Pennac, in The Rights of the Reader.

Now I Stop Reading a Book If I Don’t Enjoy It—Do You?

One of the most important elements of my identity is my identity as a reader. I love to read–really, if I’m honest with myself, it’s practically the only activity that I truly love to do.

Happiness Becomes More and More About Being Content

For a long time, I’ve been fascinated by Heidi Grant Halvorson’s work: she studies the science of motivation.

Paralyzed? When Two of Your Values Are in Conflict

I spend a lot of time thinking about questions such as, “How do we change?” “Why is it so hard to make ourselves do things that we want to do?” ( for instance, why is it so hard to make myself go to bed?) and “How can we stick to our resolutions?“

My Imagination and My Reality Don’t Match Up

Recently, I had a very strong yet puzzling emotional experience, and I realized that I’ve felt before. I wish there were some wonderful term for this (perhaps there is, in German or Japanese).

If Blueness Threatens, I Look for the Humor in Any Situation

I’ve long been an admirer of Trish McEvoy — both for her beautiful products and for her entrepreneurial acumen in establishing her cosmetics company and her brand. So I was thrilled to hear that she was a fan of my writing.

Are You a Tortoise or a Hare? About Work

I love paradoxes, parables, koans, aphorisms, fables, and teaching stories of all kinds. Lately I’ve been thinking of the Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.

I Have Two Comfort Activities

The brilliant (and gorgeous, not that it matters) Hilary Reyl has been a friend of mine since college, and I’m thrilled that her fabulous debut novel, Lessons in French, has just hit the shelves.

Do You Agree About These Motivations?

With all modesty, I do think my Four Categories of Personality may be one of my finest contributions to the study of human nature. Right up there with my abstainer/moderator split and under-buyer/over-buyer distinction.

The Things That Have Made Me Most Happy

It’s a great guide for anyone who wants to have a happy home life, by keeping things simple, calm, and in tune with family values.

Try These 6 Quick Story Exercises to Spark Your Creativity

At the recommendation of a friend, I read Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need.

Want a Simple Way To Calm Yourself?

Over the weekend, I read David Rock’s very interesting book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.

Don’t Wait, Start Stuff, Live Now, Be Present

I heard about Richie Norton’s new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid when a friend told me about it — and what a great title, right? It reminds me of my resolution to Enjoy the fun of failure.

7 Tips To Fight the Deadly Feeling of Boredom

One of the patron saints of my Happier at Home project, Samuel Johnson, wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.”

Do You Make Excuses For Yourself?

I love paradoxes, parables, koans, aphorisms, fables, Secrets of Adulthood, and teaching stories of all kinds.

72 Proverbs From Hell (Not the Usual Hell)

Blake’s “Hell,” by the way, is not the traditional Hell, but a place of “unrepressed, somewhat Dionysian energy” (at least that’s what Wikipedia says).

Do You Agree With These Four Levels of Mental Energy?

What do you think of these four levels–did I get it right?

Embrace Good Smells—In a Museum

One of my very favorite resolutions is my resolution to Cultivate good smells. I’m obsessed with the delights of the sense of smell.

What Are Your “Broken Windows?" Here’s a List of Mine

The “broken windows theory” of policing holds that when a community tolerates minor examples of disorder and petty crime, such as broken windows, graffiti, turnstile-jumping, or drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes.

Are You Oblivious to Clutter, Or Know Someone Who Is?

One of the things that surprises me most about happiness is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should.

I Think It’s Important to Say ‘No’ a Lot More Often

This is a subject with a lot of relevance for happiness, so I was interested to hear what Mike had to say.

7 Tips For Bringing the Pleasure of Art Into Everyday Life

An appreciation for art is one of the transcendent values of life, and a great source of happiness, but like many transcendent values, it can sometimes be hard to wedge into your ordinary day.

Have You Ever Been Stuck Between Two Options?

I love teaching stories–parables from the Bible, Zen stories, paradoxes, Aesop’s fables, koans. That’s one reason that I now use my weekly video to tell a story.

I Have Faith That I’m Not So Different From Everyone Else

I first heard about journalist and author Pamela Druckerman when her book Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting came out–it really struck a chord with many parents.

Do You Find Yourself Falling For These 12 Familiar Myths?

One of my Secrets of Adulthood (and a point oddly under-emphasized by positive psychologists) is: Outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should. Why does making your bed make such a difference?

Do You Have the Most Vivid Memories from Your Life?

I don’t have much time to write, because I’m leaving for L.A. in an hour–I’m going to be on The Talk on Tuesday, which will be a lot of fun. Tune in! I’ll also get to see my sister and her family, which will be a real treat.

Want an Exercise Routine You’ll Stick To?

When I ask people what they’d like to do for their own happiness projects, they often say something like, “Exercise more regularly.” Exercise is very important for health and mood, and everyone knows this–and yet it’s often tough for people to stick to an exercise routine.

Want to Be Free From French Fries?

I’ve written a lot about abstainers vs. moderators. In a nutshell, the difference is: abstainers find it easier to resist temptation by giving up something altogether, while moderators find it easier to indulge in moderation.