Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Slamming - Not Sliding - Doors.

One of my favorite guilty pleasure movies is Sliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. The premise in short: you see her life in parallel on a day when she does catch the train, and in a different universe, doesn't. Both ways she ends up with the lovely man she's supposed to be with and I revel in how her life's plan transcends petty circumstance, even if, when she does catch the train, she takes a circumvented path to get there.

Today an article in the Science section of the New York Times, about the psychology of closing doors, caught my eye. The tacky, self-help book reading side of me felt a bit giddy. It spoke to the girl who wants to take fate into her own hands, not have to trust that it'll work out as it did for Helen, Gwyneth Paltrow's character (because sadly, I am not Gwyneth Paltrow). The article suggested that even smart people resist closing doors, even after they're informed that there will be zero penalty for doing so. Something about the cognitive "slam of the door", the loss of opportunity, hurt them so much that they fight closing it, even if they're only hurting themselves.

Being a reasonably smart, ambitious twentysomething (aside from liking movies where Gwyneth has a British accent), I spend much of my time anxious that I'm not being ambitious enough (my mind promptly wonders to a thousand doors of opportunity calling, doorbells ringing...). I have to wonder: what open doors should I consider closing that have left a proverbial draft in my life? What's distracting me from getting what I really want? Anyway, this is starting to sound like a "Dear Diary" entry, so I'll end it now. Read the article, and take some time to consider what the doors that you need to close looks like - share, I'm curious.

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