I’ll Be Happy When

Tucson Camp

The article is not about my friends in the photo.

I put them in the article because we’re happy when we ride together. So… I will be happy when I ride with my friends.

That’s a start.


A story about a friend that, like me, can struggle with happiness. In his case, extreme athletic success leaves him feeling empty. To top it off, he has a large public profile which leaves him exposed to the people that hate us for no reason.

We spent an evening talking and I shared the best things that I learned by leaving a career that paid me a lot of money.

If you’re not happy with your current success then you’re unlikely to be satisfied with more.

In a couple years, you will forget why you needed to change and trick yourself into coming back to something that wasn’t able to satisfy you in the first place.

Be sure to write it down.

All of these apply to my life. I’ll be happy when…

  • I graduate from school
  • I get into school
  • I’m promoted to partner
  • I run sub 60, 45, 40, 35 minutes for a 10K
  • I race sub-9 at an Ironman triathlon
  • I get my weight under 190, 180, 170, 160 pounds
  • I win a race
  • I win another race
  • I win a world championship
  • I pay off my loans
  • I borrow more loans
  • I save $1,000 / $10,000 / $100,000 / $250,000 / $1,000,000 or more
  • I find someone to love me
  • I buy a big house
  • I sell a big house
  • I own an Alfa Romeo Spider
  • I sell an Alfa Romeo Spider

Make it real, write it down, see how it makes you feel. This tip works like magic!

When you do it, PAY ATTENTION.

Did it work?

After 30 years of ticking off goals, I’ve come to see a pattern that amuses me.

  • I have to admit that achieving goals fails to provide lasting satisfaction
  • There seems to be chronic dissatisfaction stalking one side of my personality
  • But I tell myself that’s OK because dissatisfaction helps me strive towards my goals
  • And by achieving my goals…
  • I’m likely to continue to be dissatisfied

And, I watched my wife and kids – who are deeply happy.

And, I realized that the “things that make me unhappy” don’t happen all that often. Just like the happy things, they are temporary. What makes them linger is carting them around afterwards.

And I could see my internal voice constantly tempting me towards dissatisfaction by saying I need to get more and more stuff done.

Here’s what I know is likely to work most days – run in the morning, write, ride in the afternoon. Between those three things, do what needs to be done, ideally by helping others.


Miniature train rides (above) also seem to work well – for us and the train conductor! I’m happy for that guy.

What’s your formula?