Book Review: The Happiness Dare

My favorite things about PodCasts these days is the opportunity to listen to authors I’m not familiar with discussing their books. Getting to know the heart and motivation of an author often increases my desire to read their published works.

The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee falls into that category. The title actually was a turnoff to me when the book was first released. I didn’t like the thought of happiness being something that required focused action. What was once an annoyance became a reality this year, and The Happiness Dare was just what I needed to figure out how to help our boys move forward with joy.

Jennifer Dukes Lee did a lot of research, which she presents throughout this book. Her results lead to the understanding that science is now explaining what Scripture has been saying all along. Our Creator desires for us to be happy, and has given us the tools to achieve not only joy but happiness in our daily lives.

Happiness looks different for everyone, and the first hurdle to being happy is understanding that it’s ok to have happiness look different for you than your best friend. The second obstacle, in my opinion, is realizing that anything that brings us happiness can also bring us sadness if not kept in balance. Thankfully Lee addresses this with explanations for each happiness personality as red flags to watch for.

While reading the descriptions, I was able to guess both my happiness characterization as well as my husbands. We still took the short quiz on Jennifer Dukes Lee’s website (which is also in the back of the book) and had these confirmed.

As I read about the Doer, I discovered that all the things I’ve struggled with in leadership are because of a mold that I couldn’t fit because it’s simply not how I’m wired. I find joy in the organizing and creating a project. The tasks that line up to create a conference or large event don’t bother me. I’ve wrestled with why I find more joy in the process than the actual event. Now, I understand it and embrace it.

Understanding my happiness type is another tool in my belt to further help me discern where I should be focusing my energy. It’s also helping me say no to things that come up outside my sweet spot.

Here are my takeaways and how I’m applying the information I learned in The Happiness Dare in our home:

-My happiness type(s) as well as my husband’s fall directly in line with our love languages. I’m not sure if that will be true for everyone, but my love languages which are almost interchangeable are acts of service and quality time. My Happiness Types scored one point apart were Doer and Relator. The further descriptions reveal that what makes me happy also makes me feel loved.

-My kids were a little harder to figure out. This isn’t really surprising because kids are still figuring out life. BUT, they were able to explain a few things about their likes and dislikes that were new information. For example, they feel happy when they contribute and help.

-We all have a natural negative disposition. This isn’t new information to me, I’m discussed neural pathways here before. This was a great reminder that we need to focus on something positive each day.

-Striving for happiness is something that will need to be concentrated on every day. Actions and thoughts need to be built into daily disciplines. Not so that we can be happy-go-lucky, but so that we can keep our minds focused on thankfulness and positive things.

Application:

I’m spending time each day pausing to remember and list all the things I am thankful for.

I ask my boys individually to tell me one great thing that happened that day. This has become so routine I don’t have to ask, they just tell me upon entering the house from school.

I’m seeking ways to create space for my son’s happiness types to shine. This is an ever-changing process. One example is that I’ve started asking for help cooking dinner. Not because I need it. Not because it makes things easier, but because my sons feel happy when they help.

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