How much different would your life actually be if you got everything you thought you wanted?
I was driving through the Hamptons on Long Island recently. I went to a local beach and saw some of the surrounding houses, all of which were 20 million dollar+ homes. I noticed a tension arise in my chest: Desire. I found myself craving it, wanting it, and fantasizing what my life would be like if I had it. They had their own private beach walkway and porches that overlooked the ocean. It was so enticing.
However, I then started reflecting on how different would my life ACTUALLY be if I had something like this? I was so enthralled by the idea of having a house right on the beach, and yet, I was already standing on the beach! Exactly what I wanted was there right in that moment. And the idea of having a porch that overlooked the ocean….well, the ocean was right in front of me!
I realized that many of the elements of this “dream” were already available to me in that moment. Of course, it’s different to have these things available on a daily basis, but how much different? And isn’t also the case that we start to habituate to something that we once perceived as so wonderful?
And when I felt my feet in the sand and looked out over the ocean, I was certainly enjoying myself, but it’s not like my life was radically changed in that moment. In my head, though, the dream of this was SO seductive! But am I to think that if I had this 20 million dollar house, that all of a sudden walking on the sand and seeing the ocean is going to now be a life-changing event, if it’s not happening right now? Chances are, it wouldn’t be much different than the moment I was already experiencing.
For some, radically shifting your circumstances is important. But I would argue that in many cases, the dream of what it will be like to have “that”, is more magical than the actually attainment of it.
The point is, what is it you’re REALLY looking for? What is it you think that future dream will give you? When you’re in touch with that, then you can reverse engineer.
We’re not good at predicting our own happiness. For more details, read the book, “Stumbling on Happiness.”