The idea that you would be happier tomorrow when you get something, do something, or find something that is not present in your reality today is flawed in the sense that you will always be living your life until the day you die searching for something else tomorrow. For instance, many people tend to believe that they will be happy after getting into a relationship with “the One” or they will be happy once they find the career they are passionate about. To think such a way will almost ensure that you will never really be happy in the long term because once you get that thing (assuming you do get it), you will be happy for a short time, but this feeling will soon subside as soon as old habit kicks in and you start attaching your happiness to another thing you don’t have. Happiness is a habit, not a goal. Thus, you can only find happiness in the present moment.
This is why, when we look at the bigger picture of the world today, we see that although we have more technology, more opportunities, more money than we have ever had on average than we ever had before, people don’t really report being any happier— because we as people have gotten used to it.
This also points out the flaw behind motivational videos, which basically tell you to work towards something with all your heart, sweat, and tears because it will all be worth it at the end.
Pursuing any goal with that motivational-video mindset will only lead to a life of burnout and frustration because you will constantly be sacrificing your happiness today on the promise of a better tomorrow that will never come because tomorrow will really just be like today.
Then you may ask, “why work towards any big goal at all if getting the end result isn’t really going to make me any happier in the long run?”
Because, when you look at the great people in the history of the world that have led the movements, made the inventions, done the big things that most of us dream would be impossible today, they did not do those things because they wanted their name to be on Wikipedia (a few did, but notice how their success didn’t really last very long); they pursued those goals because they just enjoyed the pursuit itself so much that they wouldn’t be able to be happy without being able to continue doing those things.
Another question you may ask is, “Why get into a relationship if it is not going to make me any happier in the long term?”
Because a relationship should not be pursued on the basis of a fantasy of the end goal (ie having a family, being married, living a love story), but rather instead should be pursued simply because you find that spending time with that person makes you happy. Knowing this, ask yourself the next time you are pursuing some big goal or project, “Am I just making myself do this because I think it will make me look good in front of others or am I doing this because I actually want to do it?” Honest and devoted introspection will bring you the right answers on how you should best spend your time if you want to be happy.