In our 20s, we spend a lot of time thinking about the future.
About our goals. About our dreams. And circumstances that might lead to lasting happiness.
“Once I finally (insert goal), I’ll be happy,” we convince ourselves.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Sure, an extra zero on the paycheck allows us to live more comfortably. The nice car looks good on the open road. The new pool in the backyard entices more friends friends to visit.
But nothing inside us fundamentally changes. We’re still the same.
When a football player finally wins an elusive Super Bowl, he’ll tell you about the legendary parties of the ensuing days.
A few days later, in a moment of solitude, after all the parades and the photos and Disney World rides, he’ll likely ponder the following thoughts:
Is this really it?
This is what I spent the last decade of my life pursuing?
I sacrificed for this?
And then he moves on to the next goal, mapping out how he and his team can win the title again next year.
All of us operate this way.
We’re never satisfied. Once we finally get the thing that’s supposed to make us permanently happy, we don’t stop there.
We continue to look around. We see the nicer car the neighbor drives, the restaurants our co-workers dine at, the vacations our friends are taking, and we get jealous.
So if accomplishing our dreams doesn't actually make us happy, what do we do?
Should we stop striving for more?
Of course not.
But we need to change our mindsets.
Rather than, “Once I get this, I’ll be happy,” it needs to be, “I choose happiness now, regardless of where I am in my life.”
To accomplish the latter, we must learn how to fall in love with the process.
And everything that comes with it.
The blood. The sweat. The tears. The ups and downs. The doubts and the sleepless nights. All the while, understanding that the day we reach our goal may actually never come.
So, let’s not waste 10 years of our precious lives in pursuit of a dream that will fall short of the mighty expectations we've placed on it.
Instead, bask in the joy of the mini-victories, and learn from the inevitable mistakes made along the way.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we must learn how to pace ourselves.
The process is where the real winning happens.
Learn to love it.