Are You Suffering From “I’ll Be Happy When” Syndrome?

I’ll be happy when I get a new job . . .

I’ll be happy when I get married . . .

I’ll be happy when I make my first million . . .

Sound familiar? “This is ‘I’ll Be Happy When’ Syndrome and nearly everyone suffers from it because our blueprint for success is based on the world we used to live in, not the world we have today,” says Psychologist & Fortune 500 Executive Leadership Consultant, Dr. Natalia Peart, who is a graduate of Georgetown, Harvard Medical School & Brown University.

“To cure it, we must start seeing success as a lifestyle, not a destination, so that you can finally be happy NOW wherever you are in life,” explains Dr. Peart, who served as the Staff Psychologist at Johns Hopkins, CEO of the Women’s Center for Advancement, and whose new book is Future Proofed: How To Navigate Disruptive Change, Find Calm in Chaos, and Succeed in Work & Life.

Here are four pearls of wisdom from Dr. Peart

•  The Road To Success Is On Permanent Detour. Our lives have been profoundly altered by economic upheaval, disruptive technology, political divides, and the accelerating speed of change in this more globalized and networked world. Crisis has become a backdrop for all of our lives. We all live in various states of anxiety, and for good reason.

•  The World Of Work Changed. No longer do we climb the company ladder. Lifetime loyalty has vanished. We now have short-term agreements constantly up for review. The freelance economy is the new way of life. The old way of achieving success based on career and material advancement — better titles, more power, and the accompanying financial rewards – has vanished.

•   We Need To Stop Living A “Check-List” Life. We think happiness comes only after we’ve checked off the things on our list in order to get to happy; things we need to do, things we need to accomplish, things we need to buy, milestones we need to reach. We’ve all been seduced into believing that there is a magical destination of happy and fulfillment at the end, and even worse, we think that once we get there all of the pain and sacrifice will be justified. The truth is, it won’t. 

•  Redefine Your “New Success” To Go Beyond Position And Power. We need to create a lifestyle in the here and now that includes both our bigger goals that achieve a sense of meaning and fulfillment, as well as our right now goals for things that bring us joy, happiness and increase our overall sense of well-being. This integrated view of success must reflect what it means to live today rather than chasing it tomorrow. 

 Set Your Priorities To What Matters To You Right Now. For example, do you want to have a greater sense of community and connection to others? To creatively express yourself? To have a sense you’re making make a difference in the world? Knowing this, right now, is critical. Don’t let these priorities get squeezed out of your life. Build in accountability. Look to create support systems of people who share your motivations and direction.