A few years ago, I was on a panel with Russell Bishop, and we’ve crossed path with a few times since, so I was very interested to see that he has a new book coming out: Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work.
One of the main happiness challenges I face is how to work more productively, more creatively, and more harmoniously. So this book certainly caught my eye. Because happiness and work are so closely linked for so many people, I wanted to ask Russell about his views about happiness.
Gretchen: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Russell: Whenever I take the time to meditate and reconnect with Spirit.
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
You can never get enough of what you don’t really need to make you happy (Eric Hoffer). I later turned that into “you can never get enough of what you don’t really want.” And then I learned that it’s not whether the ends justify the means; instead, it’s that the means are the ends! In other words, if you’re after peace, love and joy, how about being peaceful, loving and joyous right now, doing whatever happens to be in front of you!
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Whenever I focus into what I’m NOT doing and fret about it – moving away from being present, moving instead into either regret (the past) or fear (the future). Otherwise, right now is just great!
Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful? (e.g., I remind myself to “Be Gretchen.”)
Not one soul will be lost!
Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy – if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
Sure, the happiness quotient varies considerably, depending on where I place my focus. The closer I can stay to the present, the happier I am. Happiness can’t be found in the past or the future. Like peace, it’s always present. The real question: am I present with the peace? Am I present with the happiness?
Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t – or vice versa?
Kind of the story of life. I like to say when asked what I do for a living: I help people get what they think they want as fast as possible so I can ask them, “Is that it?” Rarely is what we focus on what we really want, and that is something I have found over and over again. The new car, the trip to Hawaii, the things in life fade quickly – they are merely symbols of the experiences I truly seek.
* Lots of interesting material on The 99 Percent — “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”
* Sign up for the Moment of Happiness, and each weekday morning, you’ll get a happiness quotation in your email in-box. Sign up here or email me at gretchenrubin1 at gmail dot com (don’t forget the “1″). I’m thrilled by the response to this — I started it just a few weeks ago, and more than thirteen thousand people have signed up already.