Post #59. On “The Hidden Trap”

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Poet, playwright, novelist and philosopher

In this chapter Jamie is questioning something that seems obvious to us.

He’s also talking about the destructive power of misunderstanding the nature of something and how things that we’ve held to be 100% true facts, can later be proven to be completely not true.  


Jamie calles the big misconception “the hidden hamster wheel.” 

(Reminds me a lot about the phenomena of “the hedonistic treadmill” or “hedonic adaptation” in positive psychology terms) 

So what is this “addictive, life-damaging trap”? 

Well, It’s simply the popular belief that our core states, such as happiness, security, confidence, love and excitement can be provided or threatened by our circumstances… 

It’s the belief that convinces us that we have to get there, do that and be that, in order to feel happy, whole, secure and ok. 

The thought pattern looks like:

I’ll be X when I Y.

X = happy, ok, fulfilled, at peace with myself, inspired, motivated, better, successful and all else we desire to be.

Y = get the job, get the right girl/guy, do the right things, have the right lifestyle, get rid of negative thoughts and the list goes on.


To me, this seems rather obvious… 

It looks like a continuous striving towards the next level. Much like a game, where your emotions are the points and the world of achievement is your play field. 

Of course we have to “want to get somewhere” with the belief that we’ll feel better somehow after getting there. What would be the point, the drive, otherwise? 

Isn’t the very nature of genuine desire, hope and longing, the wish for thing to be “better.” Isn’t that a good thing? 

But a way in this chapter, Jamie shares something which is hard for me to believe… 

Lo and behold… 

He writes that this kind of very common thinking: 

“…often stands in the way of having the life you really want.”

Now this… sounds interesting…

I’m very curious to seek to understand this on a deeper level. 

In this chapter Jamie also shares a lot about what he’s gone through. 

Briefly, Jamie grew up in an alcoholic household, started drinking heavily when he was 12. At 19, he was a full-blown alcoholic. He  was a man of the world and achieved financial success early in his career.

1996 he became sober and took on a journey of personal development. He coached multiple companies with his NLP training and build a successful coaching business. 

In short, he has struggled a lot and in many ways, but always sought out new ways to cope with his struggles. 


The of the mind that tells us that our feelings come from somewhere other than our thinking is both persuasive and persistent.” – Jamie Smart


The Question:

We all fall in to the “I’ll be happpy when…” trap from time to time. What are some of the ways you now realize you’ve been accidentally hoodwinked by this illusion? 


As growing up, I remember how I firmly believed that I needed, countless things really, in order to be “ok”.

 It has ranged all from that moped, to those new shoes, to that amount of money, to that social circle, to that trip.

To be honest, I think I fall for this trap all the time, everyday. 

With ideas such as, “I’ll be ok when I…”

– find that dream

– am a better person 

– meditate every morning 

– do that workout 

– eat clean food


But again, I can’t really see how there’s anything wrong with this…

Good, sustainable behaviors should be motivated by wanting to feel the exhilaration of that workout, the peace of that meditation, the joy of that kind act…

Again, I’m really curious about where Jamie is getting with this.

What should motivate us, if not feeling good & proud, by doing that act of integrity, and following through on our moral standards.

We’ll see. But that’s enough for today. 

Live well! 

Best wishes.

With love.

– Daniel Galovan 

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