Hustle Hard Interview Project: Gretchen Rubin

I’m pretty much the most underdeveloped person I know. This makes for a lot of sticky situations and awkward moments that are probably only funny to people who don’t have to live with me or put up with me on a regular basis. To celebrate my 32nd birthday, I’ll be spending the next year on the Hustle Hard Interview Project. Each month, I’ll be interviewing one Hustler who embodies a quality or skill I admire. I hope to uncover some gems that bring me one step closer to being a fully-formed adult.


There was never any question that New York Times bestselling author, Gretchen Rubin, had to be Interview #1 for my Hustle Hard Interview Project. If I’m being honest, I know that so much of the goodness that has come my way since my 30th birthday, September 1, 2010, is because of Gretchen. Her book, The Happiness Project, and her popular blog by the same name, are what inspired me to start Flourish in Progress.

EJL: I can’t help but think that all of the people you’ve inspired to be brave and pursue their own happiness are your Happiness Posse. You are, and I say this as the ultimate compliment, an amazing gang leader. What would be your street name?

GR: I have no idea! What do you suggest?

EJL: (rubs hands silently, giddy with the thought of giving this classy woman a street name)

EJL: While riding a New York city bus, you had the realization that although there were many elements in your life to be happy about, you were so busy with the Daily Hustle, it was hard to make time to appreciate and celebrate these elements. When this propelled you to start The Happiness Project, I’m sure your life became even busier. How do you make time for the things you consider important?
GR: I tell myself, “I have plenty of times for the things that are important to me. I can cram my life with the things I love.” That means that other things have to fall away–so I have to be aware of my real priorities. Now my life feels simpler, but also more rich.

EJL: I especially loved the chapter about Parenthood in your new book, Happier at Home, and the idea of giving warm greetings and farewells. Do you have another suggestion families could implement to increase happiness in life’s most sacred space, our home?

GR: Acknowledge the reality of other people’s feelings. This sounds obvious, but it’s very tempting to say things like, “Of course you’ll have fun,” “You’re not scared,” “You can’t be hungry,” etc. Under-react to a problem. Give gold stars. Make a joke of it. Celebrate holiday breakfasts. Make each of your children helpless with laughter each day. Take photos.

EJL: If someone came up to you right now and said, “I’m very unhappy and feel very lost. I just want one small doable step, something I can do RIGHT NOW,” what would you tell them?

GR: This sounds so basic that it’s almost laughable, but I’d say: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. So many people who feel exhausted, paralyzed, apathetic are chronically sleep-deprived, and would feel a lot better with a regular habit of getting a good night’s sleep. Also, do something simple to connect with someone you love. The key to happiness is to have strong bonds with other people, so any time you spend your time, energy, or money in a way that deepens relationships, you’re likely to make yourself happier.

(EJL Note: This is forrealz a gem. I made a commitment to getting eight hours of sleep for the past three nights, and I didn’t push nobody in the face today. Dope.)

EJL: What do you think your life would have been life today if you hadn’t embarked on The Happiness Project?

GR: I was pretty happy when I started, but I’m a lot happier now. My life reflects my values more. I’m more patient, more tender, more thoughtful, more creative. Not all the time, but more often.

Happier at Home GIVEAWAY!

I am beyond thrilled to be giving away three copies of Gretchen’s new book, Happier at Home.  To enter, just leave a comment below sharing the ways you’ve pursued a deeper sense of happiness in your life. And, I JUST CAN’T RESIST: If you can think of a dope street name for Gretchen, who is truly the best Happiness Hustler I know, please share! ONLY comments left on  THIS blog post will count. No Twitter. No Facebook, yo.

P.S. Over the weekend, I signed up for an Instagram account. My username is flourishinprogress. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still scope the pictures from the web by clicking on the link and “follow”ing along. I’ll be posting personal pictures that aren’t on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page.

first image via

second image via

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