A Signal

"I think the reason there's so much envy is because it's such a competitive marketplace and we believe that if Person A has success, that's a success I'm not going to have.

My experience with envy, in myself and in my patients, is it's usually a signal to you of how important the thing is you want to do. I've never had a patient who was very happy with what they were writing or very excited about a film they were directing that had much envy. If you're sort of engaged with what you're doing you don't care what's on the best seller list. if you feel like nothing's happening in your career or that you're not excited about what you're working on, then I think every success someone else has is a piercing reminder to you of what's not happening for you.

And that's why one of the things I advise patients all the time is to look for solace and gratification in the work that they're doing. I think the process of work saves your butt, because if you're only excited when your screen play gets made into a film that's released, that's going to happen once every five or seven years. And when they do come, your dissatisfaction that they don't make you feel as good as you thought will just disconfirm the value of doing all the work.

Will you be jealous and envious of other people's success? Yes. "

~ Writer and therapist Dennis Palumbo, from Part II of "Hollywood on the Couch," KCRW's The Business (5.19.08).