Happiness month

As part of my challenge to make myself a better person, I’m calling April “Happiness month”. For one month, my focus will be on making myself a happier and more positive person. I don’t expect this to be easy, but I believe it is most important step I can take right now.

Be happy and positive

It’s the first of my ten values for good reason, happiness is everything. If you’re not happy, what’s the point? You could have everything except happiness and you’d know it. So where better to start? Plus, I figure that if I am to hit those nine other goals it would be a lot easier if I was happy first.

Measurement and analysis

I’ll write a separate post about how I’m going to be tracking my self improvement, but I know the basics. I need a baseline measure of happiness to start the month with and something to compare it to in around 30 days. Quantifying happiness seems like bottling the sun, so I decided to do a little research.

The first thing I found was that happiness was not easy to condense into something easily trackable. For example, Buster Benson suggests wording your goals in ways that can be judged as true or false. So “be happier” and “be more positive” aren’t nearly as good as “smile 10 times a day” or “tell one joke a day”.

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Life, perfect

So many times, I have tried to push a boulder up a mountain and given up. This time, I’m going to carry a grain of rice over a single step – and you can watch.

Does that sound familiar to you? You want to change something about your life, or start doing something new, and you burn out after a few days? I’ve done it time and time again. The reason? I put too much pressure on myself. This time I taking small steps in public to help me reach my audacious goals.

That’s right, the end goals haven’t changed – just the way I’m going to reach them. I’ve been reading a lot about habits and productivity lately (often on the Buffer blog or stuff by Buster Benson and I’m determined to start something.

There are three parts to this post, three sections that are all important to understanding and reaching my goals.

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My desk

I watched and reviewed all 23 James Bond films over two years

23 films, 2 years and a wedding

It was January 2011 and the days were cold, freezing cold. It had been over two years since Quantum of Solace failed to set James Bond fans’ hearts alight in the same way as Casino Royale . Not much was happening in the world of James Bond, nor was much happening in the life of this Newcastle-based writer.

My twenty-fifth birthday passed with the usual fanfare and trip to Mr. Lynch and I settled in to my mid-twenties with ease. Barely a week later, my world was turned upside down: Bond 23 was announced for 9 November 2012 – a mere 667 days into the future. That future had brightened considerably from the depths of my post-25th birthday slumbers.

Though the release date was marked in my brain, I thought little of it at the time. Little did I know how important that date would become. Meanwhile, over in wherever he lives, The Incredible Suit was formulating an unnamed master plan. There were exactly twenty-two months until Bond 23′s release and exactly 22 official James Bond films already available (if Moonraker counts as a whole film, which is dubious).

After some debate over the name of the project, including a constant rejection of Blogtopussy, Suit settled on the more descriptive (of what we were doing) BlogalongaBondThough Maud Adams was said to be incandescent, the merry band of Suit followers were sated. We could describe our efforts without the unfortunate image of a dead clown hovering around our collective subconsciousness.

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Best selling books – 6 novels with sales over 100 million

Where better to start a new blog off than by looking at some of the best selling books of all time. These are the time-tested books that it is impossible to deny are anything but legendary. You can no more judge the artistry of a book by it sales that you can its cover (and these have had many of both), but it says something that over 100 million people have felt compelled to read these novels.

Is there an element of self-fulfilling prophecy here? Almost definitely. The best selling books of all time are listed all over the place, especially in places where readers go to find new material. On a smaller scale it is why we have the ‘Best sellers’ section in bookshops, not to showcase the best books but the ones that people are most likely to buy. It’s social proof at work, we read what others are reading so we don’t feel stupid.

Two of the best selling books have felt significant boosts from film adaptations, but the rest are conspicuous in their absence from the silver screen in any meaningful sense. The rise of ebooks has no-doubt served to solidify the list, by presenting books in sales order to most people by default.

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