Are you waiting for something to happen in order to make yourself feel happy or fulfilled?
Is there some goal in the future you need to reach, some accomplishment you must finish, before you allow yourself to feel successful?
Maybe you don’t like the situation you are in and think, “Once I get that job, finish that degree, or find that special someone, then everything will change…”
Unfortunately, no, it won’t.
Here’s the harsh reality: once you reach the goals you are “looking forward” towards now, they will not bring you the fulfillment you expected, at least not for long.
Do you know what happens to people who retire after a life of hard work? They go bat-shit crazy sitting around the house all day. Many of them can no longer enjoy the free leisure time they worked for so long to achieve. They go back to work, get a part-time job, or start their own business.
They have conditioned themselves to work and achieve for so long, that simple leisure becomes impossible. How ironic the goal they were working towards for decades now becomes impossible.
In a similar way, if your mind is conditioned to believe that happiness lies in obtaining some faraway goals, then you are destined to be continually discontent. Once you accomplish your goals and they do not bring about the perpetual nirvana you expected, what do you think happens?
You find new goals.
It’s like a donkey with a carrot tied to a stick a few inches in front of it. The donkey can chase after the carrot for miles, but it will always be just … out … of … reach.
This type of mentality is insane, yet all-too-common in modern society.
You can see it in movie stars who have spent their whole lives chasing after their fame and fortune … only to turn to drugs and depression when they realize reaching their lifelong goals did not fix all their problems.
Tomorrow Never Comes
If you are constantly looking towards some point in the future to feel happy and content, you’ll wait forever.
Eckhart Tolle, author of “The Power of Now,” often mentions a funny example of this. He says that one day, a man walked into a bar and read a sign that said “Free Beer Tomorrow!” Of course, when he came back the next day, the sign still said “Free Beer Tomorrow!” It was the same the day after that, and the day after that.
Tomorrow never comes. “Tomorrow” is not some point in time you will ever get to — it’s only relative to where you are right now. It works the same with goals. Goals are, by definition, set in some point in time in the future.
Think about this: Goals are ALWAYS in the future. They are like the carrot in front of the donkey, always a few inches in front of it. Because when you achieve one set of goals, it’s only natural to want to move on to bigger and better things, and find a new set of goals. Some other goals to achieve or place to get to.
So with this type of mindset, where you want to be is always, always, always, someplace other than where you are. This gap in time is what makes so many people miserable and unhappy, continually chasing new carrots. And this gap will never be closed unless you close it yourself. Make the place you are at right now the place you want to be at.
From now on, instead of looking towards the future, develop the habit of feeling happy and fulfilled right now, wherever you may be.