Stop Chasing The Carrot

May 31, 2012

I will be happy when _____________ .

How would you fill in that blank? I will be happy when…I get the job I always wanted. I will be happy when…I finally finish school. I will be happy when…I get my house and car paid for.  I will be happy when…I find the love of my life. I will be happy when…I finally retire.

There are a million ways to finish that sentence, and everybody has one. Everyone who’s in school thinks they’ll be happy when they graduate. Everyone who’s single thinks they’ll be happy when they get married. Everyone who’s in debt thinks they’ll be happy when they get everything paid off.

There’s always an if. If this would just happen. If that would just take place. If I could just gain this. If I could just lose that.

But you know what? It’s a lie. If you can’t be happy right now, you won’t be happy then. If you can’t be happy in the circumstances you’re in, you won’t be happy when those circumstances change.

You know why? Because your “if” doesn’t go away; it just changes.

Like the carrot dangling in front of the horse, that one step that would appear to get you to it becomes another…then another…then another. You are constantly one step away. Never more, never less.

Happiness works the same way. Most people live their entire lives one step away from happiness. If they could just pay that last bill off… if they could just be more financially secure… if they could just marry that person… if they could just…

The tragedy is that by being continually focused on the next step, you are never focused on the current one. As a child in school, you can’t wait to graduate from school. As a graduate, you can’t wait to get married. As a married person, you can’t wait to have kids. As an employee, you can’t wait to retire. And before you know it, your entire life has passed you by, and you missed the whole thing.

[stextbox id=”info”]”Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”  Matthew 6:34[/stextbox]

So let go of the future. Stop chasing the carrot. Replace “I will be happy when” with “I choose to be happy now”.

Don’t get so caught up in what is going to happen that you miss what is happening right now. Don’t spend so much mental energy on tomorrow that you have none left for today.

Yesterday ended last night. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So live today. Focus on today. Be happy today. You’ll discover that it’s a wonderful way to live.

What are you tempted to think will make you happy? What is your carrot? You can leave a comment by clicking here.