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‘If . . . Then I’ll Be Happy!’

Psychologists tell us that our brains tend to miss-predict what will actually bring us happiness. We assume that if we achieve certain things in our life, we will find happiness.

“I’ll be happy if I get admitted into the right school.”

“I’ll be happy if I find the right partner.”

“I’ll be happy if I make vice president.”

“I’ll be happy if I have my dream house.”

As Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor observes, this “if-then” perspective cannot be supported by science, because each time our brain experiences a “success,” it moves the goalposts of what success looks like. If you got good grades, you have to get better grades. If you have a good job, you now have to get a better job. If you hit your sales target, now you have to raise your sales target. If you buy a home, now you want to have a larger home.


Ken Shigematsu, Survival Guide for the Soul, (Zondervan, 2018), Page 29.

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