Everyone deserves to be happy. Everyone deserves to be able to be successful too. Unfortunately, most people make choices that keep them from being happy and successful. They make decisions that are shortsighted and destructive because they assume they can change later.
The idea of doing something later is elusive. It seems like it should be easy but each time you are presented with the choice to do the right thing you can push off doing what you know you should and instead fall back the idea of doing it later.
When I quit smoking I was constantly being blocked my own mindset of doing it later. I kept saying that I would eventually quit. Each time that I would commit to quitting I would end up going right back to smoking and reassure myself by saying I will quit later, it just wasn’t the right time.
This is a major roadblock in people’s success and happiness. It prevents us from developing the right habits because we habitually choose the destructive option instead of the option that will start to push us towards the success we crave.
What tends to happen is that we rely on this self-gratification; we use an in-the-moment mindset to achieve happiness but that only creates unhappiness later. We feel entitled to happiness and most people associate that with pleasure right now. So they choose the unhealthy but delicious meal, the cigarette, watching TV instead of exercise and so on.
We do this over and over and over. In systems thinking this represents a mental model. We have a mental model that says we should allow ourselves to be happy now and that means accepting pleasure whenever possible.
The mental model permeates through our thoughts, then our behaviors. Because we hold this belief, we continue to follow it, creating powerful habits and structures in our lives.
So yes everyone has the right to be happy and successful, but unfortunately most people choose options that keep them unhappy and unsuccessful. They choose now instead of later for happiness and success.
All of the things they dislike become later and all of the things they enjoy become now. But what this does is perpetually create a structure where it becomes less likely to be happy and successful in the future.
Instead of growing and improving over time, we slowly deteriorate.
But now that you understand this, you can start to change. You can start to put off instant gratification for a future contentment. You can see that this forms patterns and structures and eventually starts to change the course of your life.
Instead of constantly sacrificing your future for now, you start to sacrifice now for your future. Then when later arrives it brings with it more opportunity and more happiness.
All of us have the right to be happy and successful. But that means that we are ultimately responsible and have to work hard not to sabotage that right. If we are careful and work to build a better future instead of hoping for any fleeting pleasure possible today, we can build a fulfilled life that keeps getting better and better over time.