mber’s Women in Business Alliance is one that might just bring a smile to your face. Gretchen Rubin (pictured at right), best-selling author of “The Happiness Project,” will speak Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village.
A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, Rubin started her career clerking for Judge Pierre Leval. Later, clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, she realized she really wanted to be a writer. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies in 30 languages.
Rubin lives in New York City with her husband, a senior partner at a hedge fund, and two daughters. Her books do not deal only with happiness. She also addresses the habits and the mindset that can lead to more productive lives. Rubin was one of 20 writers included in a book titled “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.”
Her advice focuses on frequency and repetition as important elements of the creative accomplishment:
“We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently. Anthony Trollope, the 19th-century writer who managed to be a prolific novelist while also revolutionizing the British postal system, observed, ‘A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.’ Over the long run, the unglamorous habit of frequency fosters both productivity and creativity.
“You’re much more likely to spot surprising relationships and to see fresh connections among ideas, if your mind is constantly humming with issues related to your work. When I’m deep in a project, everything I experience seems to relate to it in a way that’s absolutely exhilarating. The entire world becomes more interesting. That’s critical, because I have a voracious need for material, and as I become hyper-aware of potential fodder, ideas pour in. By contrast, working sporadically makes it hard to keep your focus. It’s easy to become blocked, confused, or distracted, or to forget what you were aiming to accomplish.
“Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project. When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.
“Step by step, you make your way forward. That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful. You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work. Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day. One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.
“I have a long list of ‘Secrets of Adulthood,’ the lessons I’ve learned as I’ve grown up. One of my most helpful secrets is, ‘What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while.’
“Day by day, we build our lives, and day by day, we can take steps toward making real the magnificent creations of our imaginations.”
For information or to register for the March 30 event visit www.princetonchamber.org.