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30 Days Of Genius Blog: Gretchen Rubin

Our greatness is predicated on many things, but getting out of your own way may be the biggest. Gretchen Rubin offers insights and exercises to help you do just that, and create a life for yourself that is meaningful, exciting, and made just for you. An expert in happiness and habits, she will give everyone who reads this something to take with them to improve themselves. She is incredible.

I have taken her interview on 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis, extracted the information, and used it to answer common questions by readers just like you, who are looking to take their lives to the next level, or at least a different level than the one there are on.

Please enjoy.

How Can I Be The Best Version Of Me?

I know what you want to hear, “just do what feels natural,” or “go with the flow,” and “let loose.”

Those sound great, but those will most likely cause you to drift. That may be good or bad, but I would bet that it ends up bad more than good.

So, what the heck is drifting?

Exactly what it sounds like, you drift. The path of least resistance. Swept away with the tide. You don’t want to ask yourself hard questions, or you don’t want to risk conflict with someone you care about.

Drifting means you are not making choices. You really are just going with the flow. When you do that, you are taking the chance that you end up somewhere you do not want to be.

This can come in the form of school, majors, minors, dating, marriage, minor purchases, major purchases, etc.

You need to ask yourself, why are you doing it?

You HAVE to know yourself. You HAVE to constantly ask questions, figure out how you are different from other people. What do YOU want? What makes YOU happy? Not what someone else wants, not what you THINK someone else wants. You, you, you.

Where Do I Start?

I think these three questions will get you on the right track.

1. Whom do you envy? When you make your list, realize that envy is wanting something someone else has. What do they have that you want?

2. What do you try to hide? If you are hiding something, then your life is not reflecting your values, or the values of those around you. It could be a good or bad, but things are not lining up. You need to figure out why.

3. Are you a marathoner or a sprinter? This is exactly what it sounds like. Do you function better with slow and steady, or are you better with adrenaline and deadlines? This question will allow you to set up your work/creative life to fit YOU, not those around you, not what you think you should be. It’s all about you.

After that, you can start digging deeper in to yourself. Asking yourself questions like: when have I succeeded in the past? When do I feel my best? Then you can distinguish your strengths and weaknesses and harness both. Build up your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. This will allow you to make better choices, and put yourself in a position to win.

People are in denial. They don’t look at who they are. They don’t look at why they are doing things. They just drift.

How Do I Keep From Drifting?


Not someone else’s habits, your own habits. As in, you have goals, what things can you do every day that will help you reach those goals? Actually, let’s use milestones instead. Goals are great for reaching goals, but not so good for creating habits. Want to lose 20 lbs? Great. What happens once you have lost the 20 lbs? Exactly.

How do you get habits? Well, work. There is no magic list. Everyone is different. Can you try someone else’s to get started? Of course, but remember to ask yourself the tough questions. Is this me? Does this work for me? When you create your habits you need to know what is true about you and what kind of a person you are. You can’t prescribe a solution until you know who you are. When do you do your best work? What attracts you? When have you been successful in the past? It is about setting yourself up for action, not reaction. Success and productivity shouldn’t be hit and miss. It should at least be a lot more hit than miss.

No matter what your goals are, you need to remember that there is nothing keeping you from doing what you want. There are eyes and ears everywhere. You can build an audience anywhere. You can figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it with very low stakes investments.

Find your perfect day, then figure out how to have that day every day, and you will have habits that allow you to live the life you say you want. Habits are freeing and energizing because they make the decisions for you. You are free. Your days are frictionless.

As you get going, start looking for your loopholes. What keeps you from accomplishing your habits? Once you figure those out, you avoid them so they don’t sabotage your habits. Before you know it you will be a machine!

Knowing yourself is the key to everything: your interests, values, tastes, temperament. You can expand but you can’t move the center of yourself. “People do best what comes naturally” — JFK. Your best work should come form that central place.

What is your center?

What do you do in your spare time?

When are you at your best?

When are you at your worst?

When are you happiest?

When are you sad?

What are your goals? Your milestones?

Answer those, then focus on the next step, not the last. Take it a day at a time, piece by piece.


Goals are a good way to reach a goal, not a way to create a habit.

“People do best what comes naturally” — JFK

Knowing yourself is the key to everything.

Gretchen Rubin Links

Chase Jarvis Links

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