Episode #17 | Gretchen Rubin: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify – Outer Order, Inner Calm
September 11, 2019
"Do I love it? Do I use it? Do I need it?"
- Gretchen Rubin
If you are among the ever-growing crowd of folks responding to the question, “How are you?” with a pained expression and the phrase "Crazy busy," Gretchen Rubin is here to help. On the surface, this episode may sound like a conversation about organizational tips, but it goes much deeper. Gretchen has created a manifesto rooted in five pillars that serves as the modern version of Henry David Thoreau’s classic, Walden, helping us curate our habitats to support our essential selves.
About Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. Her work draws from cutting-edge science, the wisdom of the ages, lessons from popular culture, and her own experiences to explore how we can make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and creative. A prolific author, she has penned four New York Times best-sellers. Her books have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. Gretchen is also the host of the top-ranking, award-winning podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin,” which she co-hosts with her sister Elizabeth Craft. A graduate of Yale Law School who clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Gretchen now lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Gretchen is from Kansas. I grew up in Indiana. What I so enjoy about Gretchen is her profound intellect and what some may call humility, but what we’d both probably deem Midwestern sensibility. There’s something consistent in every conversation I have with Gretchen: the sparkle in her eyes when her brain shifts into what I call “curious mode.” The sheer joy derived from observing, learning, synthesizing—you can almost see the brainwaves dancing to “Mambo Number 5.” Between the questions she poses from threads I would not have thought to connect to her genuine, earnest thirst to listen, Gretchen is no average woman.
Gretchen talks about topics such as happiness, habits, and creating order on both highly practical and deeply philosophical levels. You get to choose. It’s like a yoga class where the instructor demonstrates a pose with two different options. Not better or worse, just different. That’s what I love about Gretchen’s writing. You take what you need depending on where you are in your life. For those of you who like to read in a philosophical pose from time to time, I strongly encourage you to read Gretchen’s pre-Happiness Project books, linked below in the resources section. The series would make for a great book club reading list!
Manisha’s Top Takeaways
Gretchen mentioned that many people use Outer Order, Inner Calm as an idea generator, and I can see why. When I read a book, I like to make notes of my major takeaways on the inside cover for easy reference.
- Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.
- One of the biggest wastes of time is doing something well that didn’t need to be done at all.
- What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
Were there any tips from this episode with Gretchen Rubin or Outer Order, Inner Calm that resonated with you? If so, we’d love to hear about it! You can contact the team below.
Other Major Topics
- What most people don’t know, and how Outer Order, Inner Calm can change that [2:00]
- “Procrasticlearing”: What it is and how to avoid it [11:30]
- The “One Minute Rule” and how it can improve your life [12:30]
Resources Cited in the Episode
- Gretchen Rubin’s website, gretchenrubin.com
- Gretchen’s New York Times best-selling books: The Happiness Project, Better Than Before, The Four Tendencies, and Outer Order, Inner Calm
- Gretchen’s earlier books: Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide, Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, and Forty Ways to Look at JFK
- “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast, co-hosted with her sister Elizabeth Craft
- Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work by Mason Currey
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau
If you enjoyed this episode of true WELLth, be sure to check out these three on related topics!
- Jonathan Fields: Self-Inquiry – The Ultimate Life Hack?
- Mary LoVerde: Connection – The Organic Path to Work/Life Harmony
- Carl Honoré: Slower – Human Beings vs. Human Doings
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