What’s Your Six-Word Secret of Happiness?

six words

(Originally posted on: http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2010/12/whats-your-six-word-secret-of-happiness/)

Since I started my happiness project, I’ve found that when I distill an idea into a short, memorable phrase, I do a better job of remembering and following it. For that reason, I work hard to capture my ideas succinctly. Examples:

  • The days are long, but the years are short.
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • Happy people make people happy — but you can’t make someone be happy.
  • Accept myself, and expect more from myself.
  • Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.
  • Flawed can be more perfect than perfection.
  • Be selfless, if only for selfish reasons.
  • Make people happier by acknowledging that they’re not feeling happy.
  • Succeed by failing.
  • Be serious about play.

Along these lines, I’m teaming up with Smith Magazine, home of the fabulous Six Word Memoir. Now you can Share your six words on the secrets to happiness. How would you sum up what you’ve learned about happiness in six words (or less)? It’s a fascinating, thought-provoking exercise. I just checked out the site (again), and some recent additions include:

  • Worrying does not change a thing.
  • The cool side of the pillow.
  • Life is my canvas. I create.
  • Patronize only Mom and Pop establishments.
  • Justice, mercy, humility. Oh, and booze.
  • Plagiarize Shakespeare. Write yourself a sonnet.
  • Simple happiness growing complicated every day.
  • Be completely, absolutely, positively, totally unsure.
  • Tea, chocolate and a good book.

Lytton Strachey observed, “Perhaps the best test of a man’s intelligence is his capacity for making a summary.” The discipline of using six words helps make ideas stand out more starkly. Also, this kind of exercise is a terrific way to end the year and to head into 2011. It’s a creative, fresh way to think about yourself, your nature, and what’s important to you.


This site reserves no rights over the article. All credits go to The Happiness Project.

Share your happiness with the world today!

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One thought on “What’s Your Six-Word Secret of Happiness?

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