RADICAL SOLUTION: DON’T ASSIGN.

I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin –

“I also tried to be more observant and appreciative of all the tasks that Jamie did. I was certainly guilty of “unconscious overclaiming,”the phenomenon in which we unconsciously overestimate our contributions or skills relative to other people. (It’s related to the Garrison Keillor–named “Lake Wobegon fallacy,”which describes the fact that we all fancy ourselves to be above average.) In one study, when students in a work group each estimated their contribution to the team, the total was 139 percent. This makes sense, because we’re far more aware of what we do than what other people do: I complain about the time I spend paying bills, but I overlook the time Jamie spends dealing with our car. 

I have a friend who has a radical solution. She and her husband don’t assign. Even though they have four children, they have a tacit agreement never to say things such as “You need to take the kids to the birthday party”or “Fix the toilet, it’s running again.”Their system works because they both pitch in, but even so, I can’t imagine living that way. It’s an impossible ideal, yet inspiring.”

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