396: Observe the Birthday of a Spiritual Teacher, Plus the “Arrival Fallacy” and Happiness Bullies


A listener suggests more strategies for dealing with being interrupted:

  • just keep talking until the other person quits interrupting
  • when the interrupter is done talking, wait, and when the person asks for a reply, say “You keep interrupting me — are you done talking now, is it my turn?”

She also mentioned Deborah Tannen’s book, You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! (Amazon, Bookshop)

Try This at Home

Observe the birthday of your spiritual teacher.

If you’d like to get a free copy of the Calendar of Catalysts, it’s here.

Elizabeth’s spiritual teacher is Barbara Walters.

I mention the memoir of my spiritual teacher — Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Lisieux (Amazon, Bookshop).

Happiness Hack

Low on kitchen counter space? Pull out a drawer and put your cutting board on top of it.

Happiness Stumbling Block

Coined by researcher Tal Ben-Shahar, the term “arrival fallacy” describes the belief that when we arrive at a certain destination or reach a certain goal, we’ll be happy.

The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because arriving rarely makes us as happy as we expect.

Listener Question

An Upholder asks about how to manage their “cheerleading addiction.”

Demerits & Gold Stars

  • Elizabeth’s Cascading Demerit: Because she didn’t put dates into a calendar for school, she bought an expensive ticket to an event, which turned out to conflict with “Back to School” night.
  • Gretchen’s Gold Star: The online thesaurus has saved me countless hours.


  • #TendencySpotting: Through the end of the month on Twitter and Instagram (@gretchenrubin), I’ll post some of my favorite fictional characters with their Tendencies. Use #TendencySpotting to post your own favorite fictional characters and explain what you think their Tendency would be—Questioner, Upholder, Obliger, or Rebel. All U.S.-based participants will be entered into a giveaway for my new Four Tendencies Gift Box—filled with a Tendency mug and sticker, a Tackle Box (set of five sticky pads for achieving our aims), and the new Four Tendencies Companion Guide. One lucky winner will be selected at random by September 30, 2022.
  • Want to learn whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? Take the free quiz. More than 3.2 million people have taken it—it takes less than five minutes, and you get the result instantly.

What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Amazon, Bookshop)
  • Gretchen: Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach (Amazon, Bookshop)

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