Take This Quiz and Be Happy

By Brigitte Martin

screenshot happiness

It started in July of this year. I subscribed to Gretchen Rubin’s newsletter after a friend of mine shared the blog and quiz on LinkedIn. It had something to do with being productive and happy. My friend is CEO of a successful ecomm fashion start up in New York and I thought I could drink whatever she was having. Plus, I am a sucker for quizzes that diagnose your personality traits and help you find solutions.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of various books including The Happiness Project and Better Than Before. She has been on the New York Times bestseller list and has a big following both on line and in print. I took the quiz and found out I was an “Upholder”.  What a drag, I really wanted to be a “Rebel”.

quiz image.001

After this quiz, Gretchen succeeded in signing me up for everything: newsletter, podcast, book and Facebook. She almost convinced me to become a superfan by promising to send me personalised tips on how to meet outer expectations vs inner expectations. I think I was hoping that subscribing to more platforms would make me more of a “Rebel”.

The e-newsletters now keep coming and they have gotten boring and unoriginal, and almost a how-to-guide on how to suffer from OCD. At the beginning I found good advice that resonated. But I have since gotten the feeling that Gretchen has decided to use all the social media tools available, but doesn’t  curate the content of each one with enough relevance and differentiation.

What would I do if I as an author of this newsletter?   I think it’s time for a break when you don’t have a new topic to share.

Ginny Soskey asks some key questions in her blog “How to create a newsletter that people read”. The tip that seems most meaningful in this case is “ Do you even need a newsletter?” I think it might be time to give the Gretchen Rubin newsletter a hiatus. Personally, I feel the updates might be more insightful as a Tweet or an Instagram.

I now wonder if others have been able to keep up a steady flow of good newsletters over a period of time. I landed on Dan Oshinksy, Director of Newsletters at Buzzfeed. His posts definitely observe the well-kown rules that make for good digital newsletter writing and content.

But even Dan is running out of inspiration. In 2015, he has posted 33 times vs 47 times in 2014, and vs 184 times in 2013. That’s an 82% decrease in posts over a 2-year period, unless he posts 151 times in the next 6 weeks.

I mentioned Ginny Soskey before and her list of tips for newsletter writing. Her last tip is “Make it easy to unsubscribe.” In this case, this is what I am doing with Gretchen Rubin.


4 thoughts on “Take This Quiz and Be Happy

  1. Back to basics… what we often forget to do. It’s upsetting to feel forced to create and share content and you’re right, it sometimes ends up being counterproductive.
    P.S: I would have subscribed as well… personality quizzes are the best!


  2. I got the Questioner! Thanks for hyperlinking that – I’m a huge fan of personality quizzes and also procrastinating at work.
    Your OCD line made me laugh, and taking a step back is so important for creating engaging content – it can’t be done if there’s no content to share in the first place. I’ve also found that the only newsletters I take the time to read are curated. This post was a really fun read combined with crucial tips for newsletter writing.


  3. Aïda M. Lopes

    Going to do the quizz as soon as I press enter on this comment.
    I agree with your perspective on taking a break. Like we saw in our previous class, you need to evaluate what platforms are for you and what you are going to share on each. Taking a break from send the newsletter to re-evaluate why you are sending it and what you want to share is a great way to avoid alienating your subscribers.
    Really enjoyed your post!


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