Nancy Roman

The 40% Rule

When I was in college, I had a 40% rule.

I was in college for a very long time. I liked school. I changed my major a few times both because I was interested in everything and also to make it last longer.  I took extra courses. When my parents finally told me they had educated me quite enough (which they had), I reluctantly graduated.

Anyway, with my many years of experience with college studies, I learned that mostly you have one great course in a five-course semester. If you have two, you are going to have a spectacular semester. If you are really interested for 2 of your five classes, you are happy 40% of the time. And that’s good enough. Very good, as a matter of fact.

(I also used to advise my younger co-students – which was almost everybody, I stayed in school so long – that if possible, take the professor and not the course. A good teacher makes everything more interesting. A bad teacher can make the most fascinating subject into a big sleepy yawnfest.)

A while back I read Dan Harris’ 10% Happier, a book about meditation. It’s excellent. His premise is that if a small change could make even you even a little happier, wouldn’t you try it? Why not be a little happier?

And I was thinking about that book and about my 40% rule in college, and I realized how I could put them together right now. If “40% Happy” is sufficient when you are young, imagine how great it is when you are older.

And when you think about it, you only need to be 10% happier to get to your 40%.  Because you already sleep 30% of the day, and that’s a really happy time.

Here are some suggestions to add 10% more happiness to your day:

– Find a really beautiful tree in your neighborhood, and any time you go out, make sure you drive by that tree and let its awesomeness envelop you.

– Put a dollar bill and a wrapped candy in the pocket of every coat you own. When you put on your coat, you will find some money and something sweet.

– Wash your bed linens in the evening. When you take them from the dryer, put then back on the bed while they are still warm, and get right in.

– Say “I love you so much and I’m so glad you called” when you answer the phone. Say this to the recorded voice in the next robocall you receive. It will make you feel a lot better than swearing at the recording.

– On the subject of phone calls, keep silly putty on your desk – I guarantee this will improve your phone calls.

– Did you ever notice how your pets will know what time the sun comes in what window? Sit by that window too for a moment.

– Get yourself a really nice pen and a notebook with a soft leather cover than you love to touch. This will make business meetings 10% better.

– Make breakfast special. In nice weather, sit outside in your bathrobe with your coffee. In bad weather, wrap up in a blanket at the table. Use a wine glass for your orange juice. Use real napkins.

– Bring a pair of slippers to work. Put them in your file cabinet. If you have to work late, take your shoes off and wear your slippers.

– Relax in a nice hot bath. Use some fragrant bath salts like lavender or eucalyptus. Bring an orange with you and eat it slowly in the tub.

– When you get up in the morning, flex your muscles. Feel your biceps, Be impressed.

– Leave a book of poetry by your bed. Read a poem before you go to sleep.

– Watch an old favorite movie. Make popcorn.




  1. Well this was delightful. And thanks for the Dan Harris info. I enjoy him on GMA and thought about reading his book. Oh, and that dog eating out of a hoodie? Made my day. Thanks.


    • It’s an interesting read. Meditation is difficult for me… I can’t clear my mind. But the book has helped me relax more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post – thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like a hot bath with bubbles at the end of a long day


    • So do I…. and try an orange or a cup of tea – or some strawberries.


  4. What a beautiful outlook! And they do say that 40% of happiness is variable, so you may be on to something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks – I believe all the little things (and I agree they are variable) are incremental.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The Popcorn Pooch Hoodie – I can honestly say that I have never seen or imagined the like. Your model is quite well mannered in demonstrating the technique. I think if I were to try this on my two furballs they would immediately dive to the ground, flail joyfully all over the floor on their backs – kernels popping a second time into the corners and crevices of the room and then they’d rearrange cushions and tables tracking each bit down. Especially if a drop of butter is involved; sneaking butter is my big guy’s 10% for sure. Getting into double trouble is my little lady’s 10%. Figure I get 20% from them alone each day.


  6. Hello Ms Nancy
    Hope you are doing well. I need some guidance in order to post blogs as I am the beginner but very keen to start my own blog. Though I posted a couple of blogs here but they went unnoticed. Could i expect some assistance from your side. I will be very thankful to you !! Regards
    Miss Mogha


    • Hi Mogha! It takes some patience to get your blog noticed. I would suggest that your write often – maybe once a week? I have tried to post 2 x week, and usually manage to do that. When I first started out, I found blogs on similar subjects and followed those bloggers and commented often – this led other people to my blog. Make sure you have something interesting to add when you comment – think about your response and make sure it adds to the conversation. It is especially helpful to follow other bloggers who are also new to blogging – it’s great to support each other. Many of my most loyal followers started blogging around the same time I did, and we stuck by each other. Last – enjoy it! I’ve been blogging for six years… and I still love it.Good luck.


      • Thanks a lot for dear Nancy. I will surely follow your advice.


  7. Love all your suggestions!


  8. my30somethingadventures

    Brilliant suggestions!


  9. There is some very sound advice here and as you say who wouldn’t want to be a little bit happier. I do have a window I like to sit in front of and let the sun shine on me. He Who often catches me and asks what I am staring at. Nothing really. Just being still.
    We don’t have dollar bills here any more. The thrill isn’t quite the same for finding a random loonies as it is for finding paper money.


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