My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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Women’s Murder Club, the arrival fallacy, and why it’s important to “Enjoy the process.”

The countdown begins! Just three days until Women’s Murder Club premiers on ABC! 9:00 EST, plan to watch!

My sister and her writing partner are Executive Producers. Getting a show on network TV is a HUGE DEAL, and I’m thrilled.

The true hugeness of it hit me this morning, when I saw giant posters for Women’s Murder Club in the subway. I’d seen signs for the show on buses, and the Big Man saw a billboard on the Bruckner Expressway, but somehow seeing a wall poster in my very own home subway station really brought it home to me.

Of course, I had to take a photo. (One crucial happiness-project resolution: always carry a camera.)

Wmcsubway_2

In Tal Ben-Shahar’s book Happier, he mentions the “arrival fallacy,” in which we believe that if only we could arrive at a certain destination, then we would be happy. However, reaching that destination usually doesn’t make us as happy as we expect.

Five years ago, if you’d asked my sister how she’d feel to have a show premiering on ABC, she would’ve said, “I’d feel ecstatic!”

Of course, she is ecstatic. But arriving at a destination, no matter how longed for, rarely brings the pure joy we anticipate. First of all, by the time you’ve reached the destination, you’re expecting to reach it. So it’s not a huge leap in experience.

Second, arriving at a destination reveals all the effort that must go into staying there. It’s rare to achieve something (other than winning an award) that brings unadulterated pleasure without added responsibilities or concerns.

Having a baby. Getting a promotion. Buying a house. Having a show on TV. We look forward to reaching these destinations, and they do make us happy (usually), but having reached them, they bring emotions other than sheer happiness, as well.

Now when I find myself focusing over-much on the anticipated happiness of arriving at a certain goal, I remind myself of one of my Twelve Commandments: “Enjoy the process.”

If I can enjoy the process, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me upon arrival.

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Curt Rosengren, familiar to many from his blog The Occupational Adventure, has launched a new blog, The M.A.P. Maker — where M., A., and P. stand for Meaning, Abundance, and Passion. With my new interest in people identifying their personal symbols — their imago, or figuration, or totem, or whatever it should be called — I was struck by the image at the top of the blog, a compass. That’s a great personal metaphor.

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