Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"The Happiness Equation"/ "Afraid of happiness? You're not alone"

Mar. 6, 2016 Neil Parischa "The Happiness Equation":  He had the book called The Book of Awesome:

1. Rethink about happiness. 

Be happy first, then do great work.  You are more productive.

Journaling, meditating, 3 20min brisk walks.

The happiness cup is refillable.

Work- it builds structure.

What do you love to do, to find authenticity.

Mar. 28, 2016 "Afraid of happiness? You're not alone": I cut out this article by Sarah Hampson in the Globe and Mail on Jul. 11, 2011:

Do you deserve to be happy?

It’s not a question the modern prophets of positive psychology would ever ask. According to their pop-scripture, happiness is something you can help yourself to, train yourself for (in an easy 10-step program!) and have every day like ice cream, if you so desire.

Still, do you sometimes get that niggling feeling, as you set off on holiday or treat yourself to some indulgence, that maybe you haven’t done enough to earn the blissful reward? When you feel joy, are you sometimes uncomfortable with it?
The flip side of the ubiquitous get-happy edicts is our fear of being happy.

“There’s such a thing as happiness anxiety,” says Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. “It’s when you’re happy currently and worried that you will be unhappy in the future. You don’t want to have that crash. Things are going great right now, and you get attached to that.” Robert Holden, a positive psychology expert in England, calls it “happy-chrondia,” a mindset based on the belief, subconscious or not, that any happiness comes with an eventual fall and price.

Sounds Garden of Eden-ish to me.

Could it be that some of the fear or discomfort we can feel about happiness is also some kind of Puritan-esque hangover? After all, the imperative of modern society upends many of western culture’s socio-religious narratives about when and how and if you can achieve joy.

As the product of a WASPy, stiff-upper-lip upbringing in which manners and propriety were everything (one didn’t make a spectacle of oneself with money or vanity or success – a value of self-abnegation, really), I can relate. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that part of my cultural/social heritage is that I had to work hard, be nice and behave well, and suffer a little bit in order to earn something good.

I couldn’t order up happiness on a take-out menu. It wasn’t a consumer product. If I wanted it, I had to sweat a bit in the kitchen of life.

Suggesting that you can help yourself to happiness, just like that, is a bit like thinking you could expect to get a well-paying job without working your way up from the mailroom. (Not that I ever worked in a mailroom, but you get my point. It’s about not thinking you’re entitled to the best of things, including top-drawer emotions, just because you have a heart, a brain and a pair of lungs.)

Some of it, I grant you, is the lasting result of tried-and-true child-rearing techniques. You have to be good, and then you will get your lollipop (read pleasure). The other day, I overhead a mother tell her toddler that he “deserved” to go to the park because he had been such a good, quiet boy in his stroller while she shopped. I used the same reward strategy to discipline my boys when they were small. Hey, it works.

But even that parenting style could be interpreted as having its roots in Puritan beliefs, which were some of the founding tenets of North American culture. The height of the Puritan movement came in the mid-17th century, when a group of English Protestants took over the state in the First English Civil War, “removing the cavaliers who had an aristocratic sense of flair and gaiety,” explains David Neelands, Dean of Divinity at University of Toronto’s Trinity College. It wasn’t that they were opposed to joy and bliss. It’s just that they wanted to tell people how to get it. It was a long-term project, to be found through devotion to God.

“They thought that to try to achieve joy through sensual pleasures was improper,” says Dr. Neelands. So they shut down theatres, emphasized literacy so people could read the Bible, frowned upon drunkenness, disapproved of recreation and overt sexuality, and eliminated the use of musical instruments from their religious services. “The idea that someone would enjoy the feast of Christmas was appalling,” says Dr. Neelands. In the 17th century, the Puritans came to New England by the boatload to set up the New World according to their design. It was not until the 19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in Boston.

Of course, we’re a long way from that now. In fact, the current consumer culture is like a “a rejection of Puritanism,” Dr. Neelands acknowledges. But it wasn’t so long ago here in Canada that curtains were drawn on the shop windows of Eaton’s on a Sunday. Dr. Neelands recalls that “in my grandparents’ age, the assumption that people live for pleasure would be improper and distasteful.”

Still, there are echoes of it, and maybe that’s why we’re in the midst of a happiness revolution. We’re in the process of throwing out Judeo/Christian notions of how to be happy.

“While the notion of fallen-ness and sinfulness are swirling in us, there’s a positive in Judeo-Christian tradition in the sense of service to the needs of the poor,” Stephen Scharper, a religious anthropologist at the University of Toronto, explains. “It’s the idea that you’re never going to be fully happy as long as so many of your brothers and sisters are poor. It’s the difference between true happiness and an elite kind of Epicureanism or hedonism, a narcissistic pursuit, and it is that line that the Judeo-Christian tradition is always pointing us to.”

Interestingly, it is that very tenet that positive-psychology experts are addressing as they try to shift the culture’s thinking to allow for take-out happiness.

Mr. Achor, who helped teach and design the famed happiness course at Harvard, acknowledges that many people feel they don’t deserve to be happy when there’s so much suffering in the world. But shrewdly, he changes the logic. It’s not that you have to serve the poor to be happy. It’s that you have to allow yourself to be happy first, because that’s how you can be of most help. “You’re not making their lives any better by being unhappy,” he explains in an interview.

“In fact, you’re decreasing your ability to create a more positive world, which would help them as well. It actually dishonours other people’s suffering when we don’t celebrate the meaningful and happy parts of our lives, because that’s the part that gives us hope – that, in the midst of suffering, we can make a better world. But if the people experiencing a better world are not cognizant of it, then it eliminates hope.”

Welcome to the revolution.

Apr. 25, 2016 Author Neil Pasricha’s five tips for leading a fulfilling life: This is in the Globe and Mail on Apr. 25, 2016: 

In 2010, Neil Pasricha became an overnight sensation when his blog 1000 Awesome Things became the international bestseller The Book of Awesome. Since then the Toronto-based former Wal-Mart executive has become the poster boy for positive thinking. His latest book, The Happiness Equation, examines how to turn life’s little slices of awesome into sustained contentment. Here, he shares some of the secrets to his success, including why it’s easier to take on life’s big questions in a uniform.

Happy is the goal, not the byproduct

My parents are immigrants – my mom’s from Africa, my dad’s from India. When I was a kid they said to me: Work hard, then you’ll have big success, then be happy. It’s the model so many of us were brought up with – that these accomplishments are going to make us happy, but truth is that if you’re happy at the onset, your productivity goes up, your creativity goes up. We want to be successful, but we don’t get happy from success. So we need to be happy, then do great work and have great success. I learned this with the big success of my first book. It was on bestseller lists and I thought that would make me happy. But then I wanted it to be No. 1 and then I wanted it to stay there for a hundred weeks. The things that really make us happy are behaviours like taking walks, meditating, journaling, random acts of kindness. I really do believe that we’re on the brink of a happiness revolution.

Forever in blue jeans (and black blazer)

If you see me giving a talk, I’m probably wearing a black blazer, white shirt, blue jeans. Wearing the same thing is a habit I have taken up. Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama do the same thing, and the idea is that by eliminating the hundreds of tiny decisions each of us make every day – what route to take to work, what to have for lunch, who to have lunch with, whether to go to the gym – we reserve decision-making energy, which is finite in a given day until we get either more glucose or more sleep. I want to use this energy for the choices that matter: Where do you want to live? Who do you want to live with? What do you want to do? We don’t wrestle with these questions enough because we waste so much fuel on the small and inconsequential. We spend time deciding what to have for lunch every day instead of deciding if should we stay at that job.

To open your schedule, lock up your e-mail

We all want more time, but in some ways we have too much of it. Parkinson’s law is that work rises to fill the time available for its completion. The example I share in the book is about a technology executive who ignores the standard six-month website development cycle and instead books secret offsites for his entire 60-person team for a full day. Nobody knows in advance and in the morning he says: Today we’re going to build an entire website. Everyone we need to do it is in this room and we’re not going home until it’s done. And they get it done. In my own life, one of the habits I have developed is to respond to e-mail in one hour – once a day, from 4 to 5. Anyone who writes to me in the morning – they’ll get a response, it’s still the same day. And for anyone who e-mails me later in the day, they aren’t expecting a response until the next day. By eliminating the time I have for e-mail, e-mail takes less time. Of course it’s easier said than done – you have to have a system in place. I have my wife change my password and she won’t give it to me until 4 p.m.

The permutations of a happy family

I’m still pretty new at this dad thing, so I’m kind of figuring it out as I go along. But one of the things that’s working for me so far is to think about spending time with my family – my wife and my two sons – in terms of permutations. Every week I try to spend some quality time with each permutation – time for just my wife and myself together, time with all four of us, some time with each of my sons individually and then with the boys together. It’s a good way of making sure you are not falling into patterns and maybe not spending enough time on one relationship. And of course one of the permutations is just me alone. That can be hard with two young kids, but I try to make the time.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Feb. 5, 2016 Job interview: I went to one last week.  It was for a personal assistant job.  It was kind of vague in the duties, but the woman who interviewed said the job is new and still trying to form it together.

The interview was average.  I will give her points that she called to say that I didn't get hired.

Financial Strategies: I saw this company when I was on the bus.  The website looks good.  I see if they're hiring and they aren't.

Feb. 10, 2016 Administrative assistant: I did a job interview for an architect. I talked to him on the phone and then I did an interview with him on the same day.  He was an East Indian man and the office was small.  He seemed to be a nice guy and all.  I guess he was looking for someone who had a driver's license and a car.  It wasn't a requirement, but an asset.

The office did seem like a good place to work.

Mar. 7, 2016 Office interview: I did a job interview today.  I had to take 2 busses to get there, but they were on frequent routes.

I liked the office and the manager who interviewed me.  The highlight of the interview was where he says: "Even if you don't get hired, I have to congratulate you for knowing what the word posterity means.  You are the first one to know what that means."

Manager: So what would you do in the office for posterity?
Tracy: You mean like for the future?
Manager: Yeah.

I went on and the definition was:

"succeeding or future generations collectively:"

I would want to work there.

However, he seemed to be looking for someone with lots of accounting experience.

Mar. 9, 2016:


1. It was easy to get to.
2. The pay is good.
3. I can do the job.
4. The company seems to be a good fit for me because I like what the services it provides.


1. It seems kind of challenging and may be too hard for me.

Small office interview: I did another job interview today.  It was for a small office.  I went there after work.

The interview was short, but it seemed like a good place to work.


1. It was easy to get to.
2. The pay is good.
3. I can see myself being able to do the job. 


The only thing I can think of, is that it would be boring.  But that's fine.

My week:

May 12, 2016 Reality show internship: I was rereading my teen magazines before I donate them.  There was an Seventeen article about a young woman who was an intern on the reality show Jersey Shore.  One of her duties is to type out what's happening in a scene and transcribe everything the cast say.  There is so many hours of tape and she says she has to take some work home to finish it. 

May 16, 2016 Job articles: I have been putting up these job articles I cut out from the newspaper since Jan. 2015.  Those news articles go as far back as 2007.  You don't know this, but I am getting close to 100 job articles posts.

Prison Break revival: I have heard about this coming out, and it will be on next year.  I saw the trailer on Facebook and shared it.  I watched every episode when it came out.  The trailer looks pretty good and I'll watch it.

The series finale was really good with happy endings for the good guys and bad endings for the bad guys.  I see there is still another story to be told.

The X- Files revival: I watched this revival that came out earlier this year for mid-season.  It was average.  I only saw a few episodes in summer 2000 when I was 14 yrs old.  The show came out when I was 8 in 1993, and I wasn't old enough to watch it.  It was on really late a night.

Alias: I was rereading this Alias magazine (Mar. 2004) issue.  It was the only fan magazine I really bought.  If I remember correctly, it was like $9.99 for this issue that was like 66 pages.  I bought it because there was a poster of David Anders who played the bad guy Sark on the show.  I then had that poster up in my room until this year.  It was on my closet door for 12 yrs. 

I have the first 2 seasons on DVD.  I watched all of season 3, but didn't really like it.  I saw some of season 4 and 5.  I did watch the series finale.  I thought it was a good and strong ending.  I guess it would be cool if they decide to bring the show back.

You guys should all at least watch the pilot to see if you would like it or not.

May 17, 2016 The Exorcist: I found this show on Facebook.  I saw the trailer.  It's going to be on Fox on Fri.  I will watch the pilot.

Job security: I have said this before about call centres: The job security is not good.  Here are all the call centres in Edmonton that has closed down since 2006 to 2009.

Ipsos, Leger, Quintin Marcus, and 2 Covergys locations.

I want to add that clothing stores don't have good job security.  Ever since 2014, a lot of them have been closing down like Mexx, Jacob, Danier.

Blog: I posted 2 job blog posts on my blog today.  They are job articles.  They are to help motivate and make me stay focused on my job search.  I reread them before I posted them like I always do.

The Office Job: I put them up this morning.  Later I thought about the article "How to break out of your comfort zone" and how you can become stagnant.  It reminds me of the Office Job in 2013.  After 2 months, I really got into the flow of the job.  I know how to do it, I can do the job, and I would say I did it well.  Or at the very least, average.

I was kind of bored of the job, but I would never quit.  It was like a call centre, good pay and benefits, and it was easy to get to.  All of 2011-2012, I was constantly looking for an office job and going to interviews, and reading the business section of the newspaper.  I finally landed this job and it lasted 5 months.

Now I'm posting some old job articles up now.  I need to get myself going because I feel stuck in my job search.


At December 22, 2016 at 2:01 AM , Blogger Blogger said...

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