Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits


How I Used Lessons from Happiness and Habits to Help Me Buy a Backpack.

June 25th, 2015

Episode 81 of 540 episodes

I carry a backpack with me everywhere. I practically never use a purse, just my backpack. Recently, the zipper on my backpack broke, so this afternoon I bought a new one (see photo). It got me thinking about some lessons that I’ve learned about happiness, habits — and myself. Lesson 1: Why did I find it strangely satisfying that the zipper broke? Because I’m a finisher. Some people love finishing, and some people love opening—both literally and figuratively. Finishers love the feeling of bringing a project to completion, and they’re determined to use the last drop in the shampoo bottle; openers thrill to the excitement of launching a new project, and find pleasure in opening a fresh tube of toothpaste. When something breaks, like a zipper, that’s a clear sign that a thing is finished — and as a finisher, I find that very gratifying. Lesson 2: Why didn’t I feel bad about going to just one store to choose a backpack? Because I’m a satisficer. Satisficers make a decision or take action once their criteria are met. That doesn’t mean they’ll settle for mediocrity; their criteria can be very high; but as soon as they find the ...

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