A colleague was recently telling me how her children were overcome with want every time they saw a commercial for Disneyland. Though, we all know that even the magical world of Disney does not dissipate a child’s impatience waiting in a long line and the frustration of negotiating with siblings which rides should be first on the agenda. As adults we’re not that different. We happily anticipate fulfilling our wants, convinced we’ll finally be happy when our want is fulfilled only to find ourselves still in want when it is. Think of getting into the college that’s first on your list or getting the promotion you’ve been wanting.
Born in 1873, long before happiness become a legitimate and popular topic of research, Howard R. Garris, the American author most well known for his creation of the gentlemen rabbit, Uncle Wiggily, correctly wrote that “Half the fun of nearly everything, you know, is thinking about it beforehand, or afterward.”
Happiness researchers advise us we should slow down and appreciate the now. That we should take deep breaths and mediate for a few minutes each day. And that we should make a practice of writing a unique thing we’re thankful for each day. For those of us – the majority – who are not good at being satisfied in the now, these are good suggestions to help us live in the moment. Employ every trick you can. Career fulfillment, as with our larger lives, is most certainly a series of moments. If we valued fulfillment by only our turning points and achievements, our fulfillment would be so loosely constructed it would come unraveled. Finding fulfillment in the moments between our successes can be as great of a challenge as figuring out the most fulfilling path for our journey.