Are you waiting for happiness?
I carefully set down my heavy basket of laundry. I didn’t want to make too much noise and upset the people in the apartment below us. I kept thinking of how much happier I would be when we finally had a real house of our own where we could have more privacy and not worry about the neighbors above or below us. So I was thrilled when we finally moved into our first house in Minnesota! I could be noisy and I had an attached garage. Life was wonderful! But then I wished we didn’t live on a busy gravel road. Everything was so dusty and there was so much traffic! At last, we moved into a wonderful place in the country in Wisconsin. It was everything I could ever want. We now live on a quiet country road, surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods. And yet, I’ve grown used to this wonderful setting and often take it for granted.
Isn’t it interesting how we so quickly get used to the things that we were once so excited about; that we thought we needed to be happy? As humans, we are very adaptable, to the good and the bad. We look forward to something in the future, thinking, “then I will be happy.” Early on the big things may be getting our first job or having a family. And we are happy — for awhile. But it fades and we find something else we think we need to be happy. Maybe we tell ourselves we’ll be happy when we get that big promotion or when the kids leave home. Maybe it’s that fancy, new car, or that bigger, nicer house.
There’s two take-a-ways from this message; 1. Don’t put off your happiness until the future. The novelty of what you think will finally make you happy wears off. Enjoy the journey! 2. Remind yourself to savor those things you have achieved.
Take a moment right now. Think back to something you were anxiously waiting for, something that made you very happy then, but you have since forgotten or now take for granted. Savor the memories. It’s like that old saying, “It’s better to want what you have than to have what you want.”
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, shares the Science of Success with organizations who want to create a more positive workplace so they can activate their people’s productivity and performance. She is also an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®.