Happiness. We love it and most of us would do anything to have more of it in our life, but can you actually make yourself happier? One of our favourite Aussies, Turia Pitt, wanted to find out, so she set out to interview high-profile athletes, comedians, scientists and world experts to make them spill their secrets. The result is her new book Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations) and we sat down with Turia to find out how her quest to find the secret to happiness turned out.
So, we’ve got to know, do you really think happiness is a ridiculous aspiration? Yes, we know we need to read your new book to get the answer, but can you give us a hint?
Just read the book yeah? Haha! No, I don’t think happiness is a ridiculous aspiration BUT I do think it’s a wiggle line. Sometimes we feel really happy, other times we don’t. Some days we are full of energy and motivation, other days we are irritated, guilty or resentful. All of these emotions are valid and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with experiencing them from time to time. Indeed, in some circumstances they are the only possible emotions we can feel, so we should let them in and accept them – they are necessary for the human experience.
What was the inspiration for writing this book?
Well, it was really you dear reader! Because for almost a decade, people have asked me a lot of questions about happiness. People want to know how I was so goddamn happy, damn it, and how they could get some of it too! And so, I set out on a dragon-free quest to see whether we could become happier, and if so, what steps we could take to do so. And this book is the result!
Can you tell us something interesting you learnt while doing the interviews and research for this book?
Yes. Making your bed is important. I thought that was pretty interesting. In fact, research shows that making your bed correlates with better productivity and emotional wellbeing. So, make your bed!
What is your favorite thing about reading books?
I love that you enter a world constructed by the author BUT it’s also constructed by you, and your imagination.
I also love that reading can make you see the world differently. Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe did that for me, it was an incredibly illuminating read and so informative.
Which five people would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?
Genghis Khan – I’d want to hear his insights into his battle strategies. And for some reason, I really want to touch his face. (Is that weird? Don’t read into this too much!)
Queen Kaahumanu – She was this epic, fierce wife of the great King Kamehameha. She advised him, helped him unite the Hawaiian Islands and broker peace between tribes, and was appointed Hawaii’s first co-leader when he died. As ruler, she abolished taboos and championed the rights of native Hawaiian women.
William Smith – he created the world’s first geological map, contributing to the theory of evolution and a greater understanding of the age of the earth.
I’d also probably have to invite my mum and Michael my partner.
If you had the power to snap your fingers and change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Not to be super earnest, but it would be that everyone was kinder to themselves!
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Oh! Um, I have lots (haha! I promise I’m not a megalomaniac). But I’m not sure if ‘favourite’ refers to just one thing, or multiple things? I feel like favourite implies most preferred which means there is only one, but now am confused about Julie Andrews’ song My Favourite Things.
Anywayyyyy. Boring answer, but I think my work ethic.
Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations) is available in print, ebook and audiobook, available at all good bookstores.