Happiness Now & In The Future
Posted on 2nd October 2020 at 15:08
Something I find endlessly fascinating is how hard human beings work to convince themselves they don’t deserve happiness.
One of the common conundrums that comes up time and time again is a resistance to believing happiness is possible right now, whilst wanting something more.
Many conversations I have go like this:
“I can’t be truly happy now if I want something more. That would mean I’m not truly happy with what I have, wouldn’t it?”
“Until I know this will work, until I know I can actually have what I’m working so hard for, how can I be truly happy now?”
“Being humble is important to me. Wanting more might mean I don’t appreciate what I have.”
Fourteen years ago I was in Cardiff, sat in a busy cafe watching my at-the-time one year-old daughter eat cheesy Wotsits. I really don’t like cheesy Wotsits, so she'd giggle, offer me one, I’d pull a funny face and she’d giggle harder.
A few tables away an older Father and daughter were sat eating something a tad healthier.
In-between giggles I was catching snippets of the conversation.
She was off to university. Dad was dropping her off. They were sharing a celebratory meal together.
And Dad was just about holding it together.
Me too if I'm honest. Their conversation was really lovely.
I remember that moment vividly.
I was so happy laughing with my daughter.
And I was happy imagining a similar scenario in the future.
In that moment I was two Dads.
The one in front of her right now, so happy that we could find a moment out of a simple bag of crisps.
And I was also smiling, picturing being there for her in the future. A future in which we were so close we were sharing a major milestone in her life.
I think of that moment a lot.
It's how I KNOW I can be happy right now and still want a future where I have more.
In fact, the happiness I had right there and then in the moment, made me stronger, more determined, more committed to getting the future I wanted.
They worked together.
That moment with my daughter made me want that future even more.
And that image of the future proved it was moments of giggles and Wotsits that would create it.
It’s absolutely possible to want more than you have and still love every aspect of what you already have.
Moments, achievements, successes, things, happiness.
These all exist in the here and now, and in the future.
Does running a 10km race today and being happy with your time make any future run of 20km any less exciting and successful?
Does wanting your business to grow in the future mean you should be any less happy and proud of the business you have now that keeps a roof over your family’s head?
It’s not prideful to want more for the right reasons.
It’s not humble to not want more in the false belief it will make the now more bearable.
It’s about embracing happiness.
It can be huge moments of happiness, small blips of positivity, or a blending of the two, like my moment in Cardiff.
With practice and focus we can raise our baseline happiness on a permanent basis.
In his book, the Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor says the following are many of the things scientists have found to be crucial to human happiness:
“Pursuing meaningful goals, scanning the world for opportunities, cultivating an optimistic and grateful mindset, and holding on to rich social relationships.”
Sounds like happiness right now and in the future to me.
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