Beware the tyranny of when!

Beware the tyranny of when!

For many years (probably, in fact, decades) I’ve been writing and taking and warning against what I call “the tyranny of when”. What is this? Well, it’s a trap many of us easily fall into when we say, to ourselves, something like …

“I’ll be happy when … “

I’ll be happy when I make more money, have a nicer house, get that promotion, find the love of my life, lose weight, gain weight, achieve this etcetera etcetera.

I should point out, there’s nothing wrong with setting meaningful goals; but this is something different. This is postponing happiness, delaying life, until … well, until forever.

Because what typically happens is that we never “arrive” at the desired location or if we do, we quickly set a new destination and perpetuate the dissatisfaction.

This is what I call the tyranny of when; but the good news is there is a solution. And I call this, the power of now! 

You’ve probably heard of the metaphor that touches on whether we should enjoy, whether happiness is at the destination or in the journey. Well, spoiler alert, it’s both! Accomplishment and achievement do contribute to a type of happiness but so too does the process of enjoying, or finding a way to enjoy each and every step along the way.

This ties in to a form of mindfulness, a form of awareness where we practice living in and appreciating the present moment. Happiness is here and now (and, it can also be “then” when we cross that finish line).

So, by all means, set your happiness for when you achieve something meaningful. That’s great. But don’t lose all the happiness that can come from the messy byways along the way, from getting lost and taking wondrous detours along the way, from the lessons that come from the trials and tribulations along the way.

Aim high, for something audacious and ambitious; but don’t lose sight of what’s here and now. Because that true can be awesome and positively happiness inducing in sometimes, the most surprising ways.