The “I’ll be Happy When…” Lie

The “I’ll be Happy When…” Lie

The following is an excerpt from Richard Carlson’s You Can Feel Good Again:

You may have gotten in the habit of allowing past regrets and future concerns to squeeze the life out of your present moments…

One of the problems with past- or future-oriented living is that thinking in these terms will never produce a happy life. A mind that believes it will be happy only when certain conditions are met will always create new conditions to satisfy once the old ones are completed out of sheer force of habit.

A cycle of “I’ll be happy when…” is created.

The particulars can be virtually anything:

“When school is complete”
“I get a job”
“I get a promotion”
“I make more money”
“I find a spouse”
“I have a child”
“I buy a home”
“I solve these problems,” and so forth.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. These goals are not bad ideas in themselves. If you want a child or to make more money, or anything else, go for it!

But future-oriented thinking will guarantee that you will not enjoy the process of achieving these goals and it will guarantee that you will not enjoy the results once you achieve them. Your mind will start all over and you’ll be in the same emotional place you are right now.

If you want “someday” to be different, you must make a personal commitment to begin to enjoy your life today, as it is right now. There is no other way.

You are here anyway, so you might as well immerse yourself in the present moment and enjoy it.


  1. Thank you for that wonderful reminder to enjoy the gift of life everyday!

  2. This guy must be a closet chassid of rabbi Nachman…. It’s one of his most important lessons!

  3. Here and Now – by Rabbi Shlomo Karlibach
    People walk around sad because they don’t know what to do with their future. You have this minute right now. What are you doing with it? The difference between sadness and joy is very simple. Sadness always tells you: Oy vey! What are you going to do in the ten minutes? What will you do in ten years from now? If you are really filled with joy for one minute, then you will know what to do the next minute also. What is G-d giving you? He is giving you this minute. He hasn’t given you tomorrow. Of course, I don’t know what to do tomorrow, because I didn’t receive it yet. Sadness is very much concerned with what I don’t have, and I really don’t have tomorrow yet. The truth is, I am always standing before nothingness, because I am nonexistent yet for the next minute. I am not here yet. Time isn’t there. The world isn’t there. The world is here, right now!

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