What if you already had it?

by Francois Coetzee

In a wonderful TED talk, Shawn Achor describes the experience of tying happiness to some future goal. He refers (paraphrasing slightly) to the habit of setting a goal in the distant future and then saying, “Once I achieve ________, I will be happy!”

Does that seem familiar? Have you been there?

While it seems perfectly sensible on the surface, the reality is that we always adjust, or change, our expectations, with the result that we are continuously delaying the point at which we feel we are allowed happiness. He advises us to be happy anyway and be grateful when we achieve what we set ourselves to do.

Is that easier said than done? Is it realistic in a performance focused world to be happy before achievement, rather than after? So much of what we want, and expect of life, is tied to the future so it seems perfectly reasonable to allow ourselves the luxury of tying our happiness to our accomplishments.

But maybe there is another way!

What would happen if we claim the accomplishment of what we want as if it is already ours? As if it already is here. How would life be different? Would you be happy? Can you be happy right now?

Now consider for a moment how you got here. In this moment where you already achieved what you wanted? How do you feel? Does this change your view on the world? And now that you know that this feeling is yours, how much more is possible? And once you know that, what is the first (smallest) step you can take to get there, now?

And let happiness be yours, here and now!