Friday, November 2, 2012

Gold Star Seeker

This summer, when I was on vacation, I picked up the 'Happiness Project'  by Gretchen Rubin in the local bookstore. The book, according to Amazon's book description "chronicles (author's) adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier". Have you read it?

I am not usually into self help genre and most of the time I find those books preachy and annoying but as I flipped through the pages, I came across some passages that got my attention. One was when Gretchen describes how her husband made seemingly innocent remark about her snoring at night and how that provoked the out of proportion reaction from her. You see, apparently I also snore (although I am in denial about it) and when my hubby joked about it, it annoyed me beyond belief. It just seems like such an unsexy trait. I could totally understand how Gretchen quickly blurted out something unpleasant in response.


But the section that made me purchase the book was when she realizes that she is a Gold Star Seeker. She describes how they were mailing out the greeting cards to friends and family and how her husband did not want to participate in sealing and stuffing of the envelopes. She had designed the cards and took pictures of the kids and put a lot of energy into it. But aside from help, she realized, that what she wanted the most, was her husband acknowledging what a wonderful job she did and how great the cards came out.

This is me, I thought. I am happy to do the work, as long as somebody notices and acknowledge it. I guess, in many ways it is only natural and maybe obvious but it was a aha moment for me. Gretchen then proceeds with trying to change her thought process to be more in the lines of  'I want to do it for me. I wanted the cards to look great and this should give me enough satisfaction'.


When I read that chapter I realized that even blogging is part of it. I always liked fashion and putting together outfits and many times I received compliments from coworkers and strangers alike, but posting an outfit definitely gives me a chance to get an instant reaction, especially that it is coming from people that also care about fashion and styling. But in fact, this may apply to blogging about anything, since it is a format that usually invites comments and feedback and provides you with statistics on pageviews.

Here is where I am trying to change my mindset, thinking that whether writing a post like this one, styling an OOTD or writing a review, it is just something I wanted to share and not to focus on how many pageviews it generates, how many followers I get and how much praise I get in comments. This is not to say that I don't value what my readers think, of course I do! I just try to focus on 'I am doing it because I like it' part.

I also try to keep that in mind in my relationships and domestic and professional life. When I cook a good dinner or throw a great party I should be happy because I wanted it to turn out well. Any praise from others is just the icing on the cake.

Although... I do like the icing.



Wearing Academy Blazer by Madewell (review here), Doily Lace skirt by Anthropologie (review here), Pia  top (review here) by Banana Republic, J.Crew Nottingham boots (old) and Kate Spade purse.


***
That's all folks!

Have you read 'Happiness Project'?
Are you a 'gold star seeker'?
Do you think blogging feeds the beast?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

27 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, so much depth here. I wish I was a gold star seeker, my husband is, but I'm a lone wolf, I do things for myself and my own satisfaction.

    I loathed that book! My best friend bought it for me, we both threw it in the bin, I just wanted to slap her!

    Blogging yes, it's pathetic but when I lose followers I always get a " ooh, really, why?" moment.

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    1. Thank you Tabs! I actually did not finish the book because I left it at the apartment I was renting but I got some good bits out of it. For some reason the author did not annoy me too much, which is better that I can say of most from that genre.

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  2. I read that book, well half of it. I could only take so much of Gretchen's happiness ideas. I wouldn't say I'm really a gold star seeker, my husband is definitely one of those so Tabs we have that in common! If my hubs is doing a chore around the house he loves the constant praise, sometimes I have to admit I use this as an opportunity for teasing, how evil of me.
    I, however, am definitely very picky and things need to be a certain way but that's for my own benefit.
    Funny though I do so enjoy blogging and I love the comments, although followers and page views I don't care about and I rarely check that stuff. Maybe I am a bit of a loner, which may be why I like blogging, I can choose my interactions! The people I've met through blogging are my Ideal Friends.
    Great post ajc.

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    1. Dani : mine too, and I'm also very picky, he always asks me to come and check what he's done and I always do the "hmm, well, that bit could be better"

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    2. Oh this is funny, I think men are notorious for this, my husband also makes public service announcements when he does something around the house.

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  3. I haven't read the book but I'm definitely not a gold star seeker. It's all about me and sometimes it takes me days to put together a post with all kinds of detail and hardly anyone clicks or comments but I will go back and enjoy reading it again myself - is that weird? I do like comments, even the negative or "constructive criticism" ones. I was the youngest of six children so I'm used to a dig here or there, I have a thick skin. I'm a "continuous improver" according to my sister the psychiatrist, no surprise that I am in a job that demands that those skills.

    Like Dani I feel that blogging affords a lot of control over who, as well as what and when. I like control. LOL

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    1. No that's not weird. I reread my posts and laugh at myself like an inside joke.

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    2. Not weird and I do read my posts too. I love every comment and I am not very sensitive to criticism in general. I'd rather get critical comments than no comments at all. I am not concerned with numbers of followers but I love having regular readers and I do miss them when I don't hear from them and sometimes I worry that I said something that offended someone or that I am just plain boring, that's probably the worst :)

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  4. let me get this out of the way first...you look fab as always my dear!

    i attempted the book also. i thought that someone who really needed help would find the advice silly. i never finished the book.
    i never got to the gold star seeker part.

    as far as blogging goes...my blog has turned into a personal diary of sorts for me. i just chronicle my life through pictures and a few words. comments are nice but i don't take them to heart, the good or the bad. i just got a bad one and i don't let it bother me. it took me awhile to get this part of blogging. if i believe the great comments then i also have to believe the bad ones.

    i have enjoyed meeting all the wonderful like-minded people too. even if our lifestyles are different there is a common thread running through all of us. i just think we happen to all be a nice bunch of people! xoxo have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thank for the gold star! I sometimes wonder how do those books make money, most of them are just fluff that anybody could come up with. And yet, I bought one..
      You are right, while blogging is great for getting gold stars it also gets you comments that most people would never hear irl. Also, having trust in kindness of strangers one must estimate that there are more of those negative comments that did not get expressed. Blogging definitely leaves us vulnerable but I believe a degree of vulnerability is necessary for any meaningful human interaction.

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  5. I would echo all comments:

    You are looking especially lovely today - for some reason with the skirt it seems very Daisy Buchanon-esque to me!

    2nd I read the book. What I took away, and which has helped me as a mother, was the phrase "The days are long but the years are short." The rest I could take or leave.

    I am a bit of a gold star seeker, but truthfully, I am really a plodder (the capricorn in me I guess!) and a worker. WHat I love about blogging is that my job is so stressful and politically correct. With my blogger friends I am actually really me - warts and all. It isn't even voyeuristic - I just can't find many people who I can say some of the weird things that pop into my mind (low-brow, high brown, atavistic brow) and not worry about judgement.

    You are always so positive and fun to read. you get a gold star from me, not because you seek it, but because you are just so positive and you give such great advice and support!

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    1. Well, I am so glad you have found your way to blogging, I so enjoy your bubbly personality, wit and comedic streak, I want to hug you after every post :)

      Somehow every year does seem to be shorter than the previous one, I wonder where it stops? Oh no, I think I do know, oh $#!+

      Anyway, Daisy Buchanon? Gold star or not, I am framing this!

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  6. Ouch!
    You hit a tender spot over here.
    I thought it was just me. I will be mulling this over and then come out of the closet and start commented more often. It's want I want!

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    1. Sewfrench, thank you! Glad you de-lurked :) Please, do share!

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  7. Never been in to self help books and when Oprah was on during her last two years I remember she was spending so much time on it that I eventually turn it off.
    I love how you share your thoughts and style with us. You are a shining star in my universe. So positive and very funny too.
    Outfit looks great on you.
    Hopefully soccer on this weekend for your daughter.

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    1. No soccer this weekend, everything was cancelled, she was very disappointed but hopefully by next week we will be back to normal. I actually lost power this weekend (hence my delay in responding) due to repairs.
      For some reason I am really happy when people think I am funny, I was a class clown when young so I guess I still have that in me...

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  8. I used to read everything in sight and now I don't read at all except for work and visiting blogs and ... well, shopping online.

    I can't tell if I seek gold stars or whether I'm more me or not on my blog. I'm truthfully confused right now, maybe too tired.

    But it's wonderful to have blog friends who seem to be OK with pearls of wisdom or random ramble.

    I too love the comments. You get a gold star. ;)

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    1. I also read less now and partly because of blogging. I am trying to find a balance and it is not easy. I know I am happier when I read a little more...
      You are right, I am very grateful for my blog friends, thank you all!

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  9. I love the posts where you're You best, and I've often thought that with many of us, say, for example, me, it's not really about he clothes, it's about making connections in a world where it's too easy to become isolated.

    The days are long, the years are short, my mom used to say that. So now I don't have to read the book.

    And you just keep doing what you're doing, I love your blog.

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    1. Oh Fred, I am basking in the glow of your comment, thank you! I think I will just sit here for a while ;)

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  10. Great post, it gives me a lot to think about. I don't know if I'm a gold star seeker. I don't like attention from people (positive or negative) but it matters to me how I'm presenting myself. I'm not sure where that leaves me! I have not read the Happiness Project. I browsed through it one day but I have a track record of not finishing non-fiction books so I left it on the shelf.

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    1. Funny, I actually also don;t like the attention, for example I never looked forward to my own b-day parties, but I enjoyed throwing them for hubs (who has absolutely no problem with attention, the more the better). But maybe deep inside I wanted to be be appreciated as non-attention seeker?

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Hi AJC. Nice post. I used to buy a lot of self help books if they looked interesting during a skim and/or got good reviews because I am always, ALWAYS, in need of self help! But I realized that I have yet to get through a single one, and what I am really in search of is a book that tells me exactly how to make MY life better, and nothing else. Obviously, that is not to be found. So I stick to story books, fiction or non.

    But I wanted to give you an update on my search for the perfect denim jacket, and I agree wholeheartedly with your endorsement of the JC stretch denim jacket. There really is no other that even compares in comfort or fit. (And it's in stock now, with 25% off!!) The non cotton stretch materials make it fit perfectly while feeling almost like a knit. LOVE it; should've just gone with your recommendation to begin with, but the comparisons are actually sort of fun. I almost kept the Gap 1969 jacket, because it is a very different and dark wash compared to the JC, but so much less comfy that I know I would never wear it. The other jacket I am keeping is Nordstrom's KUT denim jacket in charcoal -- http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/kut-from-the-kloth-denim-jacket/3317091?origin=keywordsearch. The KUT regular denim jacket was stiff, but this jacket, as its description says, is truly a soft, stretchy denim jacket, with much the same feel as the JC. Love the color, and I'm sure I will get a lot of use from it.

    Thanks again for your great reviews, and interesting comments!!!

    Have a great week; hope you were not affected by Sandy...

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    1. Thanks for the update Audreys! I think this denim jacket is one of the better items from J.Crew, I really like the fabric and fit. The charcoal jacket from Nordstrom looks great too, I am surprised that I wore the denim jacket multiple times already and I thought these are not for me. This also made me think I may like moto leather jacket which I thought I'd never get.
      But I like being proven wrong in fashion, I think that's the fun of it. I would never be one of those people keeping the same style for decades.

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