The chief obstacle to our happiness is our concept of happiness. Above all we tend to think that certain conditions must be present for us to be happy. We think we cannot be happy until we meet certain life goals. All of this future-orientated thinking, instead of making us happy, becomes a reason for us to be unhappy now. And if we aren’t happy now, the postponement of our happiness regresses into an infinitely receding future. We chase the horizon in endless anticipation and continual frustrations. We never get there, because we always hope to arrive there someday. It’s as if we are on a beautiful hiking trail, where there are spectacular mountains, lush meadows, cool streams, quiet lakes and beautiful trees, but we’re unhappy because we’re caught up in the concept that the view around the next corner will be better, while the one surrounding us is nothing at all.
Thomas Bien, The Buddha’s way of Happiness