Are you familiar with the term ‘Arrival Fallacy’?
It’s when we put certain expectations on our future selves and think “Once I get there, then I’ll be happy.”
This is what some of us do when we’re planning out our goals, ambitions, and perspectives. And it makes total sense because we set in place where it is that we strive to be in the next couple of days, weeks, or years. But the reality is, when we live our day to day lives with this method of goal planning, we’re most likely just setting ourselves up for disappointment.
When we think about all of the things that we strive to aim for, we focus more on what we don’t have and tend to forget about all of the things that we ARE fortunate enough to have. If one is constantly dreaming about living out on their own, then they might fail to appreciate the positive things in the current living headquarters; like the company of loving family, or not having to worry about paying taxes. It’s good to keep peaking over the horizon to see what might be in store for you, although we need to remember that while our head is in the clouds, we also need to keep our feet on the ground. What you have NOW is good enough. Anything better that comes along is a bonus. So live in the now and appreciate what you have instead of constantly striving for something more.
We also tend to set narrow expectations up for ourselves which end up limiting the decisions that we make. If one is certain to be a doctor in the future, then they may run the risk of ONLY taking medical classes or automatically ruling out anything that is not medically related. Striving for a goal like this is exciting and beautiful, although we need to be careful to keep our minds open to other things that we might also enjoy just as much. Life is meant to be lived and experienced to the fullest. Even if you’re entirely certain about what you would like to aim for, remember to branch out into the unknown and discover new things at the same time.
Last but not least, you might find that the avoidance of setting expectations keeps life fresh and exciting. Everything that happens is a surprise. It’s unexpected. And this, in a sense, may also lead to a generally happier life as well. Without having any expectations set, then nothing will ever be ‘not good enough’. Everything will simply be good, because there will be nothing to compare it to. And obviously when ‘good’ things are happening in our lives, we are more content as an overall person. The more content we become with our lives and what we have in it, the easier it will become for us to avoid setting such strict expectations and plans for our future.
You just never know when something out of your control might change, and you are forced to diverge onto a different path than you had previously planned. The best way to be prepared for uncontrollable change is to just be content with what you have now. And that’s it. You are in the present moment. You are alive. You are breathing. Everything that you have right now is good and anything else that comes to you is a bonus. Stop waiting for tomorrow to be happy. The ‘Destination of Happiness’ doesn’t actually exist. So you have to start now.