New Happy: Getting Happiness Right in a World That’s Got It Wrong, A Book by Stephanie Harrison
Move the Needle
May 16, 2024
A groundbreaking new approach based on a decade’s worth of research and brought to life with beautiful artwork, New Happy shows you the proven path to happiness.

We all want to be happy, but happiness always seems to be out of reach — until now.

In New Happy, happiness expert and social media sensation Stephanie Harrison draws upon hundreds of studies to offer a life-changing guide to finding the happiness you have been looking for.It’s not your fault if you are unhappy. You have been told three lies: you’re not good enough; you need to achieve fame, wealth, and power; and you need to do it all on your own. This is Old Happy, our society’s false definition of happiness, and it’s making us miserable.

In her book, she shares the the truth: you are enough, you have unique and important gifts, and using them to help other people leads to your happiness. Find an excerpt about finding your happy below.

Is there something that other people struggle with that comes easily to you? Is there something that you enjoy doing that most other people dislike doing?

STEP #1:

Julia Child had never cared about food. That all changed when her new gastronome husband, Paul, took her to the oldest restaurant in France, La Couronne (operating since 1345!).

There, she sat down and ate a meal that changed her life: a half dozen oysters on the shell, sole meunière in a brown butter sauce, a lightly dressed crisp green salad, and the creamy cheese known as fromage blanc. She later told The New York Times that this meal was “an opening up of the soul and spirit for me.”

This is how we discover our talents: by paying attention to the feel- ings that our true self gives us. These feelings might be spiritual in nature, like Child’s, or they might be something more subtle, like warmth or calm. They could be a motivation to action, like, “I need to learn more about this,” or “I want to try that!” They might be thoughts like, “I wonder . . .” or “That sounds cool!”

Start making a list (or use our workbook, mentioned in chapter 10) where you note these moments in your daily life. This is your “potential list.”

It’s like you’re panning for gold, with your feelings serving as the alert that you’ve found something worth exploring.

For example, if you’re a college student, look for fragments of gold in your classes. Perhaps it’s when your professor says something that makes you sit up a little straighter or an offhand reference in a text- book that sends you down a research spiral. You might feel it when you’re working with a team on a class project, organizing everyone’s efforts to achieve a goal. Or you could be captivated by a guest speaker sharing their career journey.

If you’re having trouble, here are a few additional strategies that can help.

Go Back in Time

What did your seven-year-old self love? What subject in school, game, book, or movie? Even if it seems impractical, make a note of it.‍

Steal a Schedule

Who has the day-to-day life that excites you the most? This is the per- son you look at and think, “Wow, I can’t believe they get to wake up every morning and do that.”

Look for Ease

Is there something that other people struggle with that comes easily to you? Is there something that you enjoy doing that most other people dislike doing?

Ask for Feedback

Make a list of five to ten people who have witnessed you in action, whether at school, at a job, at home, or with your community. Ask them, “What do you think my unique talents are?” or “When have you seen me most alive?” Try to get them to reflect your gifts to you, the way you have learned to do for others.

Avoid asking questions like, “What job do you think I should pur- sue?” Many people will jump straight to solutions, or how they think you should fulfill your potential. But that’s your job. You need to filter their answers through your own feelings, asking yourself, “Does this feel right to me?”

If you don’t find any gold fragments while panning in your current life, you need to move to a new spot.

Julia Child didn’t discover her love for food until she was nearly forty, simply because she hadn’t been exposed to the right experience. You need something to spark you, the way a match needs a surface to catch alight.

Put yourself in scenarios where you’re exposed to new things. Visit a library or bookstore and explore an aisle you’d normally never walk down. Tinker. Try a new hobby. If you have always been an athlete, go to an art museum; if you’re an artist, go to a sporting event. Bring words like fun, play, explore, adventure, and spontaneity back into your life. Follow people from different fields and backgrounds on social mdia.

Shadow someone from a different department at work.

Set up coffee with someone who inspires you.

This is how Satya Nadella, the celebrated CEO of Microsoft, found his talents. He struggled a lot when he was younger because he didn’t know what he was good at. It wasn’t school, where he got terrible grades. He loved cricket, but he wasn’t good enough to make the playoff team. His dad kept trying to find new things for him to try out, and one day hit gold when he brought home the Sinclair ZX80, one of the first home computers. Nadella got sparked. This eventually led to a whole host of talents, including computer science and product development.

After doing these exercises, you’ll end up with a list full of things that interest, excite, or inspire you—your potential, waiting to be un- folded.

Excerpted from New Happy: Getting Happiness Right in a World That's Got It Wrong by Stephanie Harrison with permission of TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Stephanie Harrison, 2024.

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