Tuesday, November 14, 2006

happy now?

What would it take for you to decide to be happy now?

When we set goals, we typically say "if only I had this, I would be happy." We're wrong. There's research that shows that shortly after we get "this" we will be back at the same level of happiness we are at as we plan. Being wrong does not stop us from saying "if only" again and again.

The next time you find yourself motivating yourself towards a worthwhile goal by saying "if only" stop and change it just a little. Instead of saying "if only" say "as if." Say, for instance, "now that I make a commitment to this goal, I can act as if it's only a matter of time until I get it" or "it's as if I am ready for this." "As if" allows you to want things without believing that you will only be happy when you get them. "As if" allows you to be happy now and to accomplish what you want. If you're happy now, you are likely also to be happy then.

"If only" is deceptive: it sells today to buy tomorrow. It sells itself as motivation because it puts attention in a future that is not yet real. That's not motivation and it does not lead to happiness.

Motivation is making the decision to act as if you are happy, starting now, so that you can build the success that happy people build - every day. When you get to a goal by acting "as if" you can be happy now and happy then. That's motivation.

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