Tuesday 4 May 2010

The dangling carrot

Well today is time for a little Corinne philosophy. Scary, I know. I've been prompted to write today because recently I've talked to so many people who have said things like: "When I get that new car, I'll be happy.", "When I get this great job, everything will be perfect.", "When I'm lose xkg, things will be so much better."; "When I find Mr/Miss Right everything will fall into place."

Do you know what I've discovered? While all these things may enrich your life, they aren't the keys to happiness.

Let me start from the beginning, when I discovered this idea. I remember thinking while doing my HSC (final year of high school) that once it was over, life would be so much easier. I thought I'd be arriving at the summit of Everest. Then I got to uni and realised that behind my HSC mountain was, in fact, another bigger mountain. As I've gone on in life, I've discovered that life is a series of mountains we climb, often getting bigger each time. It's like there's a dangling carrot, pulling us over the next hurdle.

I found this thought extremely depressing – life was just one hurdle after another. I then realised I had to change my perception. These things weren't hurdles they were just new hills on the walk of life. Instead of solely looking at the top of the next hill, you need to also take in the scenery around you and appreciate the journey. If you don't it's just going to be one hill after another.

There have been studies that have shown that after winning the lottery people will experience a period of increased happiness, but will then return to whatever the level of happiness they were in their life beforehand. I think this can apply to achieving anything in life.

It makes me sad to see people wishing their lives away. Waiting for a moment that will bring them this gift of happiness. The pressure they put upon it is huge and I doubt that once they achieve it they will be any happier long term. I don't believe there is any one thing that will offer true happiness, I believe you have to make it yourself, whatever your situation.

I have people say to me that I'm very lucky to have a nice husband and two lovely children. And I am, but I think I could still be happy if they hadn't come into my life. Being married is hard work, it's not a fairy tale romance which brings happily ever after. Being a mum is VERY hard work. While I love my kids with all my heart, there are plenty of moments where being a parent is plain boring, disgusting and exhausting. So it's not like I woke up one morning and found myself awash in happiness. I have to look beyond the poo, the snot, the vomit. Beyond the nagging, the arguments and the monotony. I'm sure if my life was different I would have to do the same thing.

I think the key is looking at what you've got right now – this very minute – and appreciate it.  If you can't do that, then nothing will ever make you happy. We all have our struggles, life can be hard, disappointing and boring. But it can also be miraculous and wonderful. You've just go to look for it. Everyone has things in their life that make it special, don't wish them away.

So instead of focusing on that dangling carrot, take a look around and see the wonder that is already in your life. I'm not saying don't strive for a better life, just enjoy the beauty of the hill you're on now and it will make the next one all the more exquisite.

Image: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ 


  1. Great post Corinne and a philosophy I totally subscribe to. I think you have to find something in every day to be happy about - just so you can cope with the bad-stuff that's always there. I don't begrudge those negative moments, they help me appreciate the beautiful ones more. I also like looking ahead and always finding a new goal to stride towards. That's why my home will never be complete, no holiday will ever be the ultimate and there's no 'perfect weight'. This is what you are and where you are today - enjoy it.

  2. So so true! I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice and you have to choose to be happy, you can't expect any thing, person or event to do it for you.

  3. You've got it right! If we keep on wishing and dreaming of the what ifs we lose all perspective of what we already have. To be happy with what we have in our lives and appreciate it.... The love of loved ones, a home, a marriage, etc. Not everything is perfect and everything in life takes hard work and time.

  4. I remember being read a story at school once, about a group of travellers all climbing a tall mountain. The one who finally got to the top of the mountain first was initially relieved he had "won", and it took him some time to realise that he was alone, and indeed not happy. But that the others who he had "beaten" to the top had stopped in contented groups along the way and enjoyed the view so much, had decided to settle, and were very happy.

    Your post reminds me of this story.

    It is timely.

    Thank you!

  5. Beautiful post Corinne and absolutely true. I believe that every moment can become a happy moment if we really want to. What we focus is on the big happy moments which are few while neglecting the millions of small happy moments which shower on us every single minute. So let's us soak ourselves in all of those precious little moments which come our way. Because that is how life becomes worth.


  6. What a great post. Sometimes, especially for me in high school and now in college, it's easy to focus on the "dangling carrot" and forget about the now... thanks for reminding me!

  7. AMEN Sistah!

    I have found that the more I place my mindset on the positive, the better things become in general.
    This means if I paid all the bills and had $100 left over, I say "Wow! There was enough to pay the bills and I have $100 extra!" "Thank goodness there is always enough!"
    Always enough has become my mantra...I am grateful that there is always enough food, warmth, love, money in this home. We do not go hungry, we are not cold,there may not always be excess, but that is ok.
    Someone asked me while I was away from my family the past 2 weeks if I was enjoying my solitude and yes, I did.
    But I have come to realize over the years that what I love most about my husband and children is the "extra" joy they bring to me. I could be happy single and childless...but I would be missing out on walks after supper, snuggling in bed at night, sharing my secrets, laughing at the crazy things the kids do. I would miss out on the extras...the reasons we truly love others.

    You blew me away again with this one Corinne! Nicely done!
    I am starting to think we are soul sistahs or something....!

  8. This is a great post Corrinne and so very true. It's hard to remember some days but if you can manage to keep life in perspective it goes a long way to paving the road to happiness!

  9. Wonderful post! Exactly what I needed this week - a reminder to ground myself, to appreciate the here and now, and not focus on what-ifs. Thank you.

  10. This post has come at such a perfect time for me - thank you! I love the ideas that you've talked about. Maybe you should host a talk show?

  11. I practically live by the principle of focusing on the little things that you have that make life worth living, instead of cribbing and bickering about what you don't have or what you could have had! And I've been happy ever since I realized that... You've put it across wonderfully.


    Take a look at this if you have time.. :)

  12. Love it! To me life is a series of goals and achievements. I get great satisfaction out of climbing one mountain and moving on to the next, then looking back on previous mountains. Great metaphor!

  13. Thanks everyone, it's really nice when the mess of my mind makes sense to someone else.

    PPMJ - I always find your lust for life inspiring.

    Eleanor - I'd love to be your soul sistah! Does that mean we can share wardrobes? ;)

    HappyJacki - Hmm talk show, eh? I'm not sure the world is ready for it!

    Nikita - I have been reading your blog and I love the positivity! Keep at it!

    MrsP - yep it def is a choice.

    Cinda - and don't we appreciate what we work for that little bit more?

    Lucy - I like that story. x

    Ratz - I love what you've written "So let's us soak ourselves in all of those precious little moments which come our way. "

     Claire Marie - school is very good and making us focus on the finish line rather than the race.

    Dual Mom - yep, I really wrote this as a reminder to myself as it's easy to forget.

    Pamela - Glad to be of help!

    Kellyansapansa - you always sound like a very motivated woman.


  14. Great post Corinne!! I am going to post this on my FB page!

  15. here here! it is every moment in everyday that is special, purposeful and worthwhile... One of the best bits of advice I ever read was that there is alittle bit of magic, just for you, in every day of your life...YOU just have to see, knowledge and appreciate it! xx

  16. So very true. I've found when I'm striving for that carrot, I'm usually trampling all over the whole garden I already have! :D

  17. I totally agree with this post. And as I said to Mr7 today, who was whinging about having to uphill on a his scooter - you have to go up the hills to enjoy the downhill runs. Happiness is being content with what you have.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

  18. Great post & great reminder about contentedness and living in the moment. I share your views. Nice to have found you via Al's Weekend Rewind.


Thank you so much for your comments! I'm always thrilled to hear from you.

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