How often do you suffer from Destination Addiction?

Today is August 22 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you suffer from Destination Addiction?” People who navigate the chaos have the self-awareness to recognize when they start to suffer from what British psychologist, author, and broadcaster Robert Holden labeled “Destination Addiction: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, the next house, and so on. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.”

Such a concept appeared in Star Trek, season 2, episode 1, in 1968 when Leonard Nimoy’s character Spock says “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical but is often true.” Today’s reflection differentiates the pursuit of a goal compared to the goal itself and allows us an opportunity to answer the question “what happens when we achieve our goal?”

For those who navigate the chaos and practice the art of living well, many will say their next step is to start pursuing their next dream. As mentioned throughout this Navigate the Chaos series, you should have as many dreams as you need two lifetimes to achieve; that way you will never be bored.

Suffering from Destination Addiction means you are always seeking, finding, searching, and longing. This condition is also known as the “grass is always greener.” When we believe that obtaining something we do not have will be the secret to our happiness we need to stop and ask ourselves why that is. This wanting of something we do not yet have often shifts our focus from the present demonstrates a lack of self-awareness that in and of itself should be addressed. When you are present and have a strong sense of self-awareness you can then move forward and ‘give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else.

As Holden noted “Destination Addiction is an attempt to get on with life faster in the hope that we will enjoy our lives better. And yet our constant speeding means we frequently run past golden opportunities for grace and betterment. We are so harassed by the insecurity of our forward-seeking ego that we have no idea what it means to live by the grace of God. We seek, but we do not find. If only we could stop a while and let wisdom and grace show us a better way.”

Holden applies a quote from novelist Henry Miller to his explanation of Destination Addiction. According to Miller “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” Instead of viewing your path with a destination in mind, perhaps you could consider an endless path where your views change as you walk along.

For Holden, people have the capacity to avoid suffering from Destination Addiction if they open themselves up to accepting grace and being receptive to inspiration. Holden noted “our Destination Addiction often works against us, however, because we are too busy running to be receptive. Hence, we always feel empty.” How often do you find yourself being too being to receive inspiration? Or, perhaps you are too closed off to allow inspiration in?

To better understand if you suffer from Destination Addiction, take a moment to complete the following 10-question assessment:

1. Are you always thinking about what comes next?

2. Do you always feel as though you have to be somewhere else?

3. Do you always hurry even when you do not need to be?

4. Do you always promise that next year you will be less busy?

5. Is your dream home always the next home you plan to buy?

6. Are you only working at your job because it has good prospects for the future?

7. Do you find yourself unable to commit fully to anything since you are waiting for something better to come along?

8. Do you hope the next big success will finally make you happy?

9. Do you always think you should be further ahead of where you are now?

10. Do you have so many forecasts, projections, and targets that you never enjoy your life?

While it is true that translating dreams into reality may indeed require one to be obsessed with pursuing one goal after another, it is equally true that one should assess their level of Destination Addiction. Examples of follow up questions from the assessment above include:

  • If you are always thinking about what comes next at the expense of being aware of the present, is that a healthy approach to life?

  • If you always feel as though you have to be somewhere else, how do you think that makes the people around you feel? Do you even care how they feel?

  • If you always hurry what are you missing? Or do you think there is nothing in the present moment that could inspire you?

  • While you should have as many dreams as two lifetimes to achieve, do you take the proper amount of time to celebrate victories, milestones, and achievements?