Are YOU the one that everyone finds difficult?

porcupine_CCDrew_AveryGretchen Rubin again. This time on the topic of being an a$$…

We all see the world through our own eyes, and it can be hard to recognize how our words and actions appear to other people. One of the challenges of being a difficult person is realizing that you’re a difficult person. I’ve known many difficult people who, I suspect, have no idea that others find them difficult!

In his excellent book The No A****** Rule (I’m omitting the title not from prudery but from fear of spam-blockers), and also on his blog, Work Matters, Bob Sutton has a quiz to help people recognize if they are a*******.

I was inspired to adapt that material for this quiz. As you answer these questions, be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t make excuses for yourself or other people; just try to answer accurately. These questions apply to family members gathering for a holiday, or to co-workers, or to any group of people who are trying to get along with each other.

Source: The Happiness Project: Quiz: Are YOU the One That Everyone Finds Difficult?

Go to the source if you want to read Gretchen’s quiz. Personally I was disappointed that she offers questions but no recommendations. Fortunately, one of her readers suggested this series of posts from writer Annie Zirkel. Annie says…

We come into contact with prickly people all the time. It might be a scowl, a frosty attitude or a touchy disposition. It might be the choice of words as in ‘What do you want?!’

Sometimes they serve us coffee. Sometimes they sit across from us at work or in committee meetings. Sometimes they live in our neighborhood or even worse! in our own homes.

And sometimes – more often then we’d like to admit – they are staring back at us in the mirror.

Source: How Prickly Are You? Part 1

Me? I often ponder why society secretly venerates a**holes like Steve Jobs, Gregory House of House, MD, and Cal Lightman from ‘Lie to me‘ and why they are a source of entertainment for us. Personally I’m a recovering assaholic [got that word from Steve Jobs’ biography] – deep inside I know I am warm, loving and caring but for reasons I often don’t understand even my best intentions are frequently taken the wrong way. And the results are far from entertaining. Because Gretchen’s quiz got me thinking I’ll be digging into Annie’s series for insight. Join me if you’d like. I’ll report back on what I find…

To Be Happier, Write Your Own Set of Personal Commandments

Cover of "The Happiness Project: Or, Why ...

One of my favorite authors is Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. Recently, she shared her thoughts on having your own set of personal commandments…

One of the most challenging—and most helpful and fun—tasks that I’ve done as part of my Happiness Project is to write my Twelve Personal Commandments. These aren’t specific resolutions, like make my bed, but the overarching principles by which I try to live my life.

It took me several months to come up with this list, and it has been very useful for me to have them identified clearly in my mind. It’s a creative way of distilling core values.

To get you started as you think about your own commandments, here are my Twelve Commandments:

1. Be Gretchen.
2. Let it go.
3. Act the way I want to feel.
4. Do it now.
5. Be polite and be fair.
6. Enjoy the process.
7. Spend out. (This is probably the most enigmatic of my commandments.)
8. Identify the problem.
9. Lighten up.
10. Do what ought to be done.
11. No calculation.
12. There is only love.

So how do you come up with your own list?

Consider phrases that have stuck with you. When I look at my Twelve Commandments, I realize that five of them are actually quotations from other people. My father repeatedly reminds me to “Enjoy the process.” A respected boss told me to “Be polite and be fair.” A good friend told me that she’d decided that “There is only love” in her heart for a difficult person. “No calculation” is a paraphrase of my spiritual master St. Therese (“When one loves, one does not calculate”), and “Act the way I want to feel” is a paraphrase of William James.

Aim high and fight the urge to be too comprehensive.I’ve found that my commandments help me most when I review them at least daily, to keep them fresh in my mind, and to do this, it helps to keep the list short and snappy. I suspect that Twelve Commandments is too much. Maybe I only need two, “Be Gretchen” and “There is only love.”

Think about what’s true for you.Each person’s list will differ. One person’s commandment is to “Say yes,” another person’s commandment is to “Say no.” You need to think about yourself, your values, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests.

Source: The Happiness Project: To Be Happier, Write Your Own Set of Personal Commandments.

Is happiness an issue for you? You might benefit from Gretchen’s work. I have!