Think Like A Trader Blog

Monday, 30 January 2017

Stop Projecting Your Happiness Into the Future

Hello Traders.

I’ve been a bit quiet on here of late. However I want to start posting in the blog once again – I enjoy writing and the process of getting thoughts down onto the paper. I’m also going to continue on with the recent motivational videos I have been posting on the YouTube channel, so hopefully the blog can work alongside that.

Stop Projecting Your Happiness Into the Future

You struggle with happiness at times. Yes, it’s true. You find yourself down, you lose your drive and you don’t know what to do. I am the same. And apart from a very small percentage of the population, we all face the same struggle.

Sometimes that despondency is like a nagging voice at the back of your mind, and other times it takes stage from and centre. Things seem difficult, they are difficult, and if only you could make a change, it would get better.

And that change is always just ahead of you, like the carrot dangling from the stick held just in front of the donkeys nose, leading it onward in its struggle to reach the reward.

And there within lies the issue. The big old problem that works like a secret dagger twisting into you without you ever realising where the issue comes from.

You’re projecting your happiness into the future. It’s always a destination, somewhere and something you will one day arrive at:]

-       You just need that promotion at work. The extra money will give you more freedom, and then you’ll be happy.
-       You need a bigger house. Everyone you know has moved into detached houses with nice big gardens. If you had that you would be so much more content.
-       If you could just get that new car, you would be happy.

They are all there, peppering our lives. We use them as destinations, things we need to reach in order for us to become content and happy. They are those carrots, dangling just in front of us and leading us on.
Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals and having ambitions. In fact, doing so is extremely healthy and can keep us from becoming stagnant. However, attaching happiness to those goals, ironically, creates a situation of unhappiness.

Because when we reach that destination – say the new house – we come to realise that we are still the same person. Nothing has changed. That lingering unhappiness is still there. Our answer is to project the happiness forward once again – I’ve always wanted to hike the Himalayas. That’s what my life has been lacking and that’s what will make me happy.

A lot of people go through their entire life like this. And it’s a problem, because they are always chasing happiness as though it is a destination they will one day arrive at.

That is not the case. And the big, glaring problem, is that what you are allowing yourself to accept, is that whilst on the journey to the destination of happiness, it is ok to be unhappy.

Insert big mental siren sounds and warning strobes.

That is not ok and it is not how you should journey through this big mystery of life. I don’t even know you, and I do not want that for you. Because one day you will be sitting there, looking back on your life, and suddenly the picture will clear and you will realise all the opportunities for happiness that you ignored whilst you were on that never ending journey.

Speak to elderly people. I am at a slight advantage in that through the charity work that I do, I am in regular contact with those people who are at the latter stages of their life. And I listen to what they say, because they have already trotted through all of the stages in life that I have, and also the stages that are yet to come for me.

All of them have one common thread – Do what makes you happy. Don’t wait. Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t hold yourself back.

There is no destination you are going to finally arrive at one day and suddenly think – great, now I’m happy, I’ve completed this thing called life.

Happiness starts with you, wherever you may be right now. Make the decision that you don’t need to achieve anything else, you don’t need a bigger house, you don’t need that million in the bank before you will allow yourself to be happy.

You may never be one of those people who just seem to radiate happiness wherever they are and whatever time it may be. But you can allow yourself to be content and enjoy what is around you. And that can be enough.

If you take nothing else from this blog post, simply know that I want you to be able to be happy. A big Scottish trader who has never met you before.

Each of us can feel that happiness and contentment in our own way. Here are some of the ways I stop and allow myself to realise that hey, I don’t need to keep walking after that dangling carrot, because there’s an apple right there in my hand:

-       Be around friends and family, including the 4 legged furry type (I’ll insert that I may have been referring to my sister in the second part of that statement, just because I know it will make her smile and annoyed at the same time)
-       Drink good hot coffee and read a book when it’s stormy and cold outside
-       Go hiking. Six hours of pain and struggle for views that last forever
-       Meditate. Not because I expect to meet some glowing deity, but rather because it teaches me to quiet my thoughts, which are the main reason for not feeling content

Find what you enjoy doing and spend more time doing it. Allow yourself to feel happy, even if you’re simply curled on the sofa watching TV. Realise that there is no destination, only the journey. And try not to take it all too seriously.

And here's a picture of my dog dressed as a Jedi... just because.

I hope you all have a great week.

James Orr


  1. I could not agree more James, sometimes you have to check yourself and be grateful for what you have in the here and now :)

  2. Great blog.. something I can really relate to as I love a good walk especially in the countryside enjoying the views with my hairy Sister, sorry dog :) There is certainly a carrot there right now but good to stop and enjoy the apple.. I think we are so busy sometimes driving forward on our journey we do not realise just how far we have come..
    Thank you..

    1. That's a great way to phrase it - 'There is certainly a carrot there right now but good to stop and enjoy the apple.' I think a lot of us put so much pressure on ourselves to 'progress' that we fail to see just how much we have already done.

  3. Thank you James for this message. I have a struggle but on reflection I am also blessed with family and a four legged friend. Trading has given me new inspiration after a very dark period in my life and the future will be what I make it. Older people have the wisdom we do not have yet so I commend you for your charity work and your involvement in their lives. Wishing you a glowing future and much success:)

  4. Hi Mickey. The hairy friends certainly help. Whenever I get too caught up in work, my dog is always there, getting in my face and telling me it's time for a break so I can rub her belly instead! I am very happy to hear that trading has also helped you poke your head out from the dark period also. I really hope it stays that way. All the best.