People say it all the time; I’ll be happy when… strangely this concept is (relatively) new, our grandparents did not think this way. They did things they needed and also bought things they needed and their happiness came from elsewhere.

The commercial revolution in the late 20th century has created this concept, they have done it because it drives us to buy. Most advertisers sell you the idea you will be happy when you have our product. They need this because if we were all ready happy we would just buy what we needed and what we could afford.

You will be happy when: you have this car, go on this holiday, you live here, you have this TV or this phone.

They have created a culture of consumerism and unhappiness. All reasearch on happiness shows that buying something gives you short-term happiness that does not last as you quickly return to the set point. Being happy when means you will not be happy when when is now.

There is also a myth that this is what drives us to success “the pursuit of happiness” but is it the best way to be successful or even happy? Unfortunately research suggests not, the overwhelming data says that if you are happy you have more energy, are more productive and better at achieving success. So actually I’ll be happy when may actually be slowing our success.

This is now so hard-wired into our psyche that even without the advert we put it in our head. I’ll be happy when: I don’t have to commute so far, my shift is over or when I have a promotion.

Where does it end?

Unfortunately not with us being happy. Fortunately there are other less expensive ways to be happy, no one is that interested in selling those to you though…

Steve Young