Be(a)ware Of The Arrival Fallacy
December 25, 2022
You have made it.
- Your business may have finally taken off, and the momentum is great.
- All your hard work at university has come to fruition as you move into your new job.
- Maybe, the workout you have been doing for the last three months has started yielding results. You have achieved your ideal weight goal.
Accomplishment of any sort is a wonderful feeling. It fills us with a sense of being worthy, fuelling a feeling of happiness.
But, there is an issue. Achievement feels great, but only for a brief moment. Even before the satisfaction has settled, we feel empty and unfulfilled, wondering what we need to achieve next to feel worthy and happy again. Even before we adequately enjoy today’s achievement, we start worrying about tomorrow’s achievement.
This is the irony of our lives. Achievement doesn’t equal happiness.
We are stuck in a hamster wheel of achievement that makes us think we will be happy once we have accomplished something meaningful.
“Once I do this or that, or once I have this or that, I’ll be happy.”
But once we get what we desire, there is a brief satisfaction before we are off, worrying about our next goal.
The Arrival Fallacy
In his book Happier-Learn The Secrets To Daily Joy And Lasting Fulfillment, psychologist Tel Ben Shahar, presents the idea of The Arrival fallacy as the false belief that reaching a valued destination can sustain happiness.
The Arrival Fallacy is the illusion that once we make it, achieve some goal or arrive at some destination, we will attain long-lasting happiness.
Unfortunately, this is rarely true. Arriving at the destination does not make us as happy as we imagined we would be.
Unfortunately, our lives are an endless pursuit of goals. Our goals keep shifting. Once we achieve a goal, more challenging goals crop up. The more we attach our happiness to the achievement of our goals, the more we are likely to experience a sense of emptiness.
Enjoy The Pursuit Of Goals
Acknowledging the Arrival Fallacy doesn’t mean we should settle for something lower. It just means being smart enough not to attach our happiness to the outcome or the achievement of our goals but instead attach it to the pursuit of the goals.
Goals are necessary. They give us a sense of purpose and provide a direction to the life we want to lead. That said, once the goals are set, we should focus more on the path to achievement and derive our satisfaction and pleasure from the process.
Set Revised Metrics For The New Year
Ben-Shahar writes- Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.
As the year winds down, on Christmas eve, it’s an excellent time for everyone to reflect on the year and what they have accomplished.
Whatever the state of your achievement, derive pleasure and satisfaction from the progress you have made, the growth you have achieved as an individual, and the relationships you have developed through the year.