Arrival errors: This common misconception about happiness leaves you unhappy

Arrival error
This common misconception about happiness will leave you unsatisfied in the long run

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Are you relatively successful? Do you usually manage what you set out to do? And are you still somehow never completely satisfied? Sounds suspiciously like the arrival error …

Many roads lead to happiness – probably at least as many as there are people on this planet. Too bad that that’s why there are so many stones lying around that keep us from our respective happiness … or at least trip a few times before we reach it. One of these stones is called an arrival error, and every person stumbles over it at some point. Problem: Many get stuck with it. First and foremost, we put this stone in our own way.

The arrival error – a fatal mistake

The arrival error is based on a very widespread misconception: that reaching a destination makes us happy!

  1. When I finally found a partner who suits me …!
  2. A gross salary of 50,000 euros and then …!
  3. Only 10 kilos down until …!

All interesting goals that we can set ourselves – but better not with the expectation that their achievement will make us (more) satisfied. Because the moment of happiness that we experience only lasts for a short time. And then we need a new goal.

The US-Israeli happiness researcher Tal Ben-Shahar is practically the discoverer of the “Arrival Fallacy”. He defined the arrival error in his book “Happier” as follows:

The misconception that reaching a goal would make us happy in the long term

So what? Still, goals are good! Then what is so bad about the arrival error? Very easily: Those who seek satisfaction with all their strength and energy in striving for goals will never find them – and purposefully run past true happiness!

As old-fashioned and esoteric as it sounds, what matters is that we Do not make our inner happiness dependent on external circumstances. Of course, it is good and important that we look for goals, after all we need to do something. But both while we are pursuing our goals, we should be able to be happy and rest within ourselves, as well as when we just don’t achieve them. Because ultimately, all of our small goals only serve to advance us on our path, on which we have as many – beautiful and painful – experiences as possible, grow and maybe leave a few traces. Even if it’s just that we remove one or the other stone from the way …

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