Mini epiphany today. As I tramped through the fields with my dog , I was thinking about my friend Judith, who believes the reason she is so happy is that she doesn’t want a single thing that she doesn’t already have.
And I wondered: If I got what I most want, would that make me happy?
The answer is probably yes … for a little while. But not for long. Because here’s the thing: If your main focus is on wanting what you don’t have, you can never be satisfied.
Because what you don’t have will always be a trillion times more than what you do have.
There’s a whole universe of things you don’t have.
In a thousand lifetimes you still couldn’t accumulate all the people, experiences and possessions that you don’t have.
Just a few examples:
I don’t have a Nobel prize
I don’t have George Clooney.
I don’t have a billion pounds.
I haven’t come up with a cure for cancer.
I don’t have a dog who comes when he’s called.
I don’t have a supermodel figure.
I’m not 25.
I don’t live on a yacht.
I don’t travel the world.
These are not things I particularly want by the way (except for the good figure and having a dog who comes when he’s called). They’re just random things I don’t have. I’m too scared/private/sane to tell you the real list of things I want that I don’t have!
But I list them to to make a point that I could go on forever listing things that I don’t have. And my epiphany came when I realized that each time I get one thing that I want, that desire dissipates and another one starts forming.
So I think Judith has it right. The secret is to learn to focus on what you do have. That way gratitude can perhaps replace envy.