Hi! Little over 27 years ago I was born, happy birthday me. Little over 27 months ago I was feeling blue and reached out to one of my wisest friends. Among other things, he suggested me to read the book ”The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin which I did. It’s a great book and since reading it I’ve been eager to create a list similar to Rubin’s Twelve Commandments of Happiness.
In this blog post I will present and explain the items in my own list. It is in no way complete or finished but by releasing early I hope to be able to accelerate its development, very agile. If you have any thoughts on how to improve this list then please go ahead and write a comment or contact me in any other way you find suitable. Without further ado, let’s get going with the list!
1) Be Eric
In Rubin’s list, the first commandment is ”Be Gretchen”. I have decided to put ”Be Eric” at the top spot in the list, but for different reasons. I like to remind myself to be myself. Silly as it sounds, but being me includes a lot of quirkiness which often is something that I might want to restrain to not seem too odd, especially with new acquaintances. All things in moderation of course, but because humour and wit is some of my biggest assets (apart from my impeccable physique) the sooner I can show the funny part of me, the better.
The title of my blog translated to English becomes ”Somewhere between the incomprehensible and unexpected” and I’m slowly coming to terms with that it’s often worth the risk of being incomprehensible to be unexpectedly entertaining.
2) Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
This advice comes from Jordan B Peterson, What are the most valuable things everyone should know. The benefits of this advice might be obvious, because cats are furry and cute. Getting to pet a cat on the street is a huge privilege as cats can be quite picky on whom they allow to get close to them.
I myself are more of a dog person, but I do like and envy cats a lot too. I once wrote a piece about cats called Kattkungen (The Cat king) which in my opinion is one of my best blog posts (and somewhat underrated) so if you want to make me happy then please read that post instead of the remainder of this one. ;) It’s in Swedish but Google Translate does an OK job in translating it to English.
3) Don’t whine.
Another obvious advice, but one that I constantly have to remind myself about. As a student it is all too easy to indulge in complaints about weather, exams and expensive fika but I prefer having a positive atmosphere rather than sulking. At times complaining can be perfectly justifiable but even then they may be voiced with the company of a joke and a laugh. I feel that this one’s especially important when contributing to social media.
4) Don’t give up until you’ve failed.
This one has helped me through many dire situations as a student. Many times, I’ve felt overwhelmed with exams, reports and project deadlines. Many times, things have turned out to be not as impossible as they seemed at first. For me, I often slow down on the pace when my to-do list grows too large but still try to make some progress each day. Do the things that are the most fun to you right now, ask for help from your peers, don’t worry about tomorrow and don’t give up!
5) When you fail, improve and retry.
The good thing with university studies, and often times life in general, is that failure creates an opportunity to improve and retry. The happiness from succeeding in something you’ve previously failed in is often greater than if you would have succeeded on the first try.
6) Always say ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’.
So easy yet so important and impactful. I’m not a particularly chatty person and maybe that’s the reason as to why greetings makes a big difference to me. Now, saying ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ is something most of us say multiple times a day, so what is my point? My point is that you should greet your fellow course mate when he or she sits down next to you, even if the lecture has already started or you’re in the middle of an exciting math problem. Why not say hi to the stranger that you meet in the stairwell on your way to work? And when you’re at work, say tjenixen (hiya) to the new guy at the department that you have no relation to. As for goodbyes, allow some time to make a proper farewell and wish your counterpart good luck on their journey ahead until you meet the next time. This is basic stuff, but there are times when I experience poor greeting protocol and it affects all of the following communication to the worse.
I sometimes struggle with this and apart from the fear of greeting a stranger I also find that eye contact is a key component to whether I take the initiative to greet a person or not. That is, no eye contact creates a mental block that makes it almost impossible for me to greet the person, but that’s something I’m working on.
This advice can easily be misinterpreted as ”only say ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye'” which makes poor conversations, so if you have a better suggestion on the title for this tip I’m all ears.
There are quite a few commands in these tips, ”do this” and ”don’t do that”. I just want to clarify that these tips are for myself to work on and remind me of things that I sometimes have difficulties with. It is not a call to you, the reader, to change your life. This list is just something I wanted to share with the world, and if just so happens to inspire someone else then that’s a great bonus. Thank you!