#3. Aim Higher

If you’re new and/or confused about the following post, scroll down to My Happiness Project archive to get caught up!
The subgroups in the Aim Higher topic, from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, are:
* Launch a blog
* Enjoy the fun of failure
* Ask for help
* Work smart
* Enjoy now
[Note: I am citing from Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. The following are my own thoughts based on what I read in her book. I am in no way taking credit for her research, writing, creativity, and opinions.]
The topic Aim Higher was mostly about work. I think we’ll all be able to relate (especially the first subgroup)…
Launch a Blog:
“The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. If you do new things—[for me, it’s a new gym routine, and now sewing]—you’re more apt to feel happy than people who stick to more familiar activities.” How many of us feel like we’re in a “rut” at times? Gretchen talks about her thoughts on starting a blog, which was suggested by a friend. She writes about her reluctances, and the advice she was given.
I first became involved in the blog world back in August 2009, when I googled something like, “medical school significant others.” People’s blogs (some that I’m following now) popped up on my screen. Having just moved away from home to support my boyfriend in his journey through med school, I was looking for advice from other women in how they deal with being away from home, working, and filling their time while their spouse is studying at all hours of the day, etc.
Then, I thought, Maybe I should start a blog? I fiddled with the idea for days, coming up with different titles, asking B, and my best friend Lauren what they thought. B wasn’t took keen on the idea at first, having not known anyone else with a blog. But, I thought, I’ll give it a shot. I know some people back home probably think it’s a silly thing, but you know what? I don’t care! Even before I started reading The Happiness Project, I knew blogging made me happy. Blogging has brought me “into contact with new people and new experiences, which are also powerful sources of happiness,” just like it did for Gretchen. It’s a “way to connect with people who [share] my interest.”
Through blogging, I have found so many people going through the same experiences and emotions as me. They’ve offered knowledgeable and unselfish advice, and I’ve done the same for them. [THANK YOU!!] I’ve even found another blogger whose spouse goes to school with B! I love what Gretchen has to say about spending too much time thinking about what to write: “If I wanted to get anything accomplished, I needed to keep pushing ahead without constantly second-guessing myself.”
Enjoy the Fun of Failure:
Have you ever failed at something? C’mon, of course you have! We all have! It sucks doesn’t it? But, you know, looking back, was it all bad? Probably not. You probably learned a heck of a whole lot along the way. For instance, while I was in my teaching internships, I went in with a lot of confidence. I thought, Yeah, I know what I’m doing. However, I soon found out that what I thought would work, in fact, didn’t! At first, I was pretty bummed because I was so sure of what I was doing, but after I looked back, I realized I learned a lot and just kept moving forward.
Ask for Help:
I can completely relate when Gretchen shares that she “often had the immature and counterproductive impulse to pretend to know things that [she] didn’t.” I’m going to take it one step further though and say I like (or at least think I like) to figure things out for myself. Maybe it’s more of a pride thing? All throughout high school and in the beginning of college I would never really ask teachers for help in school. I always thought to myself, Oh, I don’t want to bother them; I’ll just figure it out on my own. Come to find out, that that’s not really smart. People don’t mind you asking for help. In fact, I’ve found that most people actually love to do so. I didn’t like to study in groups either because I feared people might think I was “dumb” if I didn’t know an answer. Truthfully, the best way to learn is by asking others. Now, I don’t even hesitate to seek people’s help.
Work Smart:
This is a good one! (Well, they all are, but this is what I need to improve on immensely!) Gretchen felt like she “never had enough time for all the work [she] wanted to do.” After reading this chapter, I started paying better attention to how I spend my time throughout the day. I’m over wishing for more hours in a day, and I’m not willing to give up my sleep; so, I need to find ways to squeeze in what I want to do. I’ll be the first to admit I have a guilty pleasure watching shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Desperate Housewives, but I’ve come to realize that sometimes I’m just going to have to give them up. I can’t allow them to take over my life! Now with technology though, we can record or watch them commercial-free on-line. Hallelujah! Instead of stopping to do the dishes to watch Private Practice, I’ll just catch it on-line whenever I have some extra time. And honestly, now that I’ve started doing that, I’ve realized I have less of an urge to watch TV (and sometimes don’t even catch them on-line). [My one exception is Grey’s Anatomy. I’ll throw away whatever I’m doing to watch it!]
Another tip Gretchen gives is waking up earlier each morning to get work done. If y’all are parents, you probably already do this. With me, I just have my furbaby. I T-R-Y to wake up early… honestly! If I don’t have to be at work until eleven, I’ll set my alarm for 6:45A.M. (My intentions are to go to the gym, catch up on e-mails, and/or run errands, etc.) Indy will whine to go out, which I’ll roll out of bed to do, but if the sun isn’t up yet, neither am I! I’ll put Indy back to bed and set my alarm for 9:30 or so. I’m satisfied for the moment because I caught some extra zzzzz’s, but then I’m upset at the end of the day because I feel like didn’t get anything accomplished. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that I need to work on A.S.A.P.!
Any ideas on ways to motivate myself to GET UP IN THE MORNING!? I’m reluctant to become a coffee drinker. I like coffee, but I don’t keep a maker in the house. Would it really make that much of a difference?
Enjoy Now:
“…doing what you love is itself the reward.”
It goes back to Enjoy the Fun of Failure. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing NOW, then failure isn’t so scary. At least in my opinion.
 If you’re still reading this, you’re amazing! I know it was long, but thanks for bearing with me. If you’re reading the book now, which some of you told me you are—or at least bought it—what are your thoughts so far?
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4 Replies to “#3. Aim Higher”

  1. I ordered the book and it came in last week, but I haven't started reading it yet. I am working on three other books at the moment and I am trying to get at least one of them done before I begin another one. 🙂

    But I love reading your thoughts on her ideas. I think it is a wonderful thing that you started a blog 🙂 I love reading your posts and it is nice to know there are other people out there going through a similar situation.

    I hope you have a blessed and wonderful wednesday!


  2. I read the entire post! 🙂 I really liked what you wrote about wanting to wake up early to accomplish tasks, struggling to follow through, and then setting the alarm for 9:30 only to regret it afterwards. I have experienced this so often! It is very rare for me to wake up early, but there have been a few times when I have and I loved it because I got so much done. Here is what I recommend: Go to bed relatively early (for me this would be between 10 and 11). When your alarm goes off, get up right away and don't press snooze. I find if I press snooze, I am likely to sleep in at least an hour longer! I don't drink coffee, so in place of that I find taking a shower first thing wakes me up! After getting out of the shower, I feel refreshed and ready to start the day!

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