The psychology of wanting what you can’t have

July 21 2014

There’s something out of reach, and your mind is focused on it like a laser. A job, a relationship, a sum of money, a status. Whatever it is, it is unavailable, and you know it. But that doesn’t stop you from dreaming about it.

Your brain has tricked you into thinking this is where the rewards are. A tasty cocktail of novelty, desire, delayed gratification, and dopamine has you convinced this is what will make you happy, this will bring peace and prosperity and satisfaction. You compare yourself to those who DO have, and you’ll never measure up.

This is easy.

You’re spending your energy and time on the unattainable. Your yearning is conveniently preventing you from focusing your attention on what you do have. While you fantasize about what you can’t have, the problems you can solve, the circumstances you can change, the talents you do possess sit idle on the sidelines.

Catch yourself. Catch yourself longing and redirect your thoughts to what is in the realm of possibility. Channel your energy towards places you can affect.

I have a hunch you’ll find more happiness there.