‘The Happiness Project’ is a book by Gretchen Rubin which I received for my birthday in January this year.
If you are looking for a new book to read – I strongly suggest this one (if you generally steer clear of the stereotypical self-help books, don’t worry, this is not one of them).
Since the moment I began to read this book, it motivated me, not only in my personal life, but also in my professional life.
Being happy is something that is really important to me. When we are happy we are better friends, parents, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, teachers and ultimately better people. There are so many quotes about happiness, below is a list of my top five:
- “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” – Dalai Lama.
- “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be” – Abraham Lincoln.
- “ I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our disposition” – Martha Washington
- “The purpose of our lives is to be happy” – Dalai Lama
- “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself” – Alice Walker.
While genetics and life circumstances play a large role in our level of happiness, how a person thinks and acts can make a big difference. So how does this relate to teaching, you might ask? Well, I’d like you to think about how you act and think while you’re at work.
In her book, Gretchen Rubin helps you to achieve the following (and much more):
- Do you greet your work colleagues in a friendly and upbeat manner each morning?
- Do you smile at others as you pass them in the hall?
- Do you act energetic even when you feel exhausted?
- Do you complain a lot?
- Do you expect praise or appreciation?
- Do you ask for help?
- Do you work smart?
- Are you afraid of failure?
- Do you enjoy the moment?
- Do you find time to be silly?
- Do you find time for fun?
- Are you generous?
- Are you grateful?
- Do you laugh out loud?
- Do you use good manners?
- Are you positive?
The list is full of simple ideas. This year, Gretchen Rubin, has inspired me to work on many things, however these are my top three:
- Not expecting praise or appreciation – I have come to the realisation that, like Gretchen Rubin, I like to receive gold stars, a pat on the back, for my good efforts. This year I’m going to try to not rely on or want a gold star, I want to feel the satisfaction from the task itself and not rely on others for my happiness – happiness is going to come from myself!
- Acting more energetic – I am going to strive to act energetic even on those days when I feel as though I don’t have the energy to get out of bed in the morning. ‘We often feel because of the way we act’ – Gretchen Rubin.
- Tackle nagging tasks – We so often put nagging or annoying tasks that need to be done to the side and they then cause us more worry than they actually should. I want to tackle those tasks as soon as I can, instead of putting them in a ‘do later’ pile.
As a new school year is drawing nearer, think about how you can be a happier person, and therefore, the best teacher you can be.
What will you work on in 2014 to be happier?