From time to time, I post short interviews with interesting people about their insights on happiness. During my study of happiness, I’ve noticed that I often learn more from one person’s highly idiosyncratic experiences than I do from sources that detail universal principles or cite up-to-date studies.
I read William Arruda’s fascinating book, Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand, at the suggestion of Marci Alboher (I always do anything that Marci suggests.)
I got a chance to talk to William Arruda when he asked me to do a teleseminar with him about happiness and work for his Reach Branding Club. It was both fun and illuminating to talk to him for an hour. He has obviously given a lot of thought to the subject of happiness.
Gretchen: What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
William: You can’t get happiness from others. It comes from within and is often connected to confidence. When you are very self-aware and comfortable in your own shoes, it’s easy to be happy.
Gretchen: Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
William: Procrastinating. When there is something I just don’t want to do, it impacts my mood until I get it behind me. Knowing this, you would think I would just do these things first, yet I do find myself continuing to procrastinate with the same types of activities – opening mail, for example.
Gretchen: Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve find very helpful?
William: If you can’t get out of it, get into it. It is something my friend Todd Wetmore told me once when we were at Club Med Gym in Paris and it has always stuck with me. It really makes you find the good in every situation and activity – and there is always something positive on which to focus.
Gretchen: If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?
William: For me it always involves people – either calling a friend, meeting someone for coffee, looking through photos of people who are important to me, etc. I have always been a people-person so my happiness quotient increases when I get to interact with others.
Gretchen: Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
William: Yes. I work to stay focused on the big picture. I think people are often unhappy because they turn little aggravations into giant problems. I see this a lot when I travel. For example, if I’m waiting at the luggage carousel at the airport and my bag doesn’t arrive – I focus on the fact that the plane landed safely and not on the fact that I might be wearing the same clothes for a couple of days.
There’s a great list about 100 Blogs That Will Inspire You To Be a Better Person. I see a lot of my favorites on the list, and a lot of blogs that I want to check out.
Interested in starting your own Happiness Project? If you’d like to take a look at my Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. No need to write anything more than “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.