Friday, March 9, 2012

Guest post: Happiness

Today's post features a visit from Bryan Cohen, who has just written a nonfiction book about the quest for happiness.

Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post.

"Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone."
- Sigmund Freud

All the Eggs

One of my major interests during college was to learn the art of directing from some amazing theatre teachers. I'd always loved watching movies and plays, so it made complete sense that I'd want to create such work myself. A wonderful piece of advice I received from my instructors was that you shouldn't push a performance or production to go exactly how you see it in your head. This stifles originality and how organically the show can come together on its own. You might miss something truly inspired and amazing if you force it to be exactly one way or another.

It took me a long time to realize that this is exactly the way that life works as well. Even though I enjoyed writing, I assumed that a good sense of humor meant I should go "all in" when it came to improv comedy. I realized early on that I wasn't getting as much fulfillment as I wanted from these kooky comedic performances, but I continued to force myself to do it for years, ignoring the writing parts of me that were just waiting to get out. When I finally let go, the success I gained from my writing truly blossomed over the course of the next couple of years. By giving myself more freedom and not assuming that I would find success in a particular way, success found me.

Unsurprisingly, by permitting myself to have more leeway in my activities, I became happier as well. I always wanted to have a plan for my life and I wanted to hit every bullet point on my list. How many of us do that to ourselves? We said we wanted to have that huge job by the time we're 30 or to be married and have some amount of kids by a certain point as well. We figure that we'll be happy as soon as we fill in another check mark next to that aspect of our lives. There are two main problems with that. The first is that if you don't reach that goal, you feel depressed. The second is that even when you get there, it usually isn't quite as fulfilling as you expected it to be.

Instead of putting all your happiness eggs in one basket, it's best to go for a more well-rounded approach. Make your work life and your home life strong. Put time into good causes but also treat your body well with proper food and exercise. You don't have to be perfect in every area, but it's often the attempt to be flawless in one singular area that actually lowers your levels of happiness. Spread your eggs around a bit to lead a much more fulfilling and omelet-filled life.

Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated.

Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page.


  1. Thanks Jennifer for letting me be a part of your blog!

    And to any readers, feel free to enter with your e-mail address below or by sending an e-mail my way. Thanks!

  2. Hi, I would love to review a copy for my blog My email address is Thanks.

  3. Hi, I would love to review a copy for my blog My email address is Thanks.