I am very happy, if judged from a third-party perspective. I have absolutely no problems related to relationships, behaviour, health, finance, knowledge, etc. In fact, lately, I've been getting positive reception on many fronts.

But, I have examinations approaching. Further, my future prospects are rather cloudy. I'm not dull in studies, though, I just have problems, like being inferior in mathematics, not getting good tutoring, etc.

I am sure my exam will be fine or average, and that's all I want, but yet I have a certain tension. Further, I have pressure regarding my website. There's a lot of work I need to do and I've kept all that documented, but it feels like I'll never get enough time to accomplish that all, and each passing second I'm losing to competitors.

So, here's my question. Should I be content with short-term happiness and avoid thinking about long-term concerns?

If I judge exactly a single day of my life, then I must say I'm enjoying things a lot.

Note: In this question, being content isn't very different than being happy or satisfied. In fact, the difference in their meanings doesn't matter here.

  • Well, here's a "counterexample": if you go and do the heaviest drugs possible, you will get insanely happy and satisfied. Your future is not so bright, though - you will become a drug addict and die very soon. So, after all, is short-term hapiness really always more important than being concerned about what's going to happen to you in the future?
    – user132181
    Oct 28, 2014 at 23:21
  • Why are you assuming that I forcibly want to enjoy the short term? Kindly re-read the question. According to what you said, your comment should've been like short-term happiness is not more important than being concerned about the long-term (and then the counterexample). This is not a good behaviour...
    – Abhimanyu
    Oct 30, 2014 at 1:08

3 Answers 3


You will need to strike a balance.

If you can't enjoy today, or tomorrow, or they day after that, or the day after that, ... you can't enjoy anything.

You should think about foreseeable long term consequences of your actions, so that your actions today don't negatively affect your happiness tomorrow. But there are many things that you can't foresee - it's rather pointless to worry about them. And there are things that you can foresee but not change - it's also rather pointless to worry about those things.

And if you try planning a very long time ahead, be aware that circumstances change. You might do X today so that you get Y in ten years time, knowing that having Y in ten years time will make you happy - and in ten years time, you don't actually care about Y anymore! On the other hand, there might be future things that you don't care about today, but that you care very much about when the future arrives.

So a short summary: Be happy today. Don't do stupid things by ignoring the future. Don't do stupid things by overthinking the future. Don't let worry about the future make you unhappy today.


In the long run, we're all dead.

We're also lousy at predicting the future.

By all means work to improve your position. Set aside time. Devote calm thought to it. This is sensible. However, do not fret. As future happiness is uncertain, by fretting now you give up your present happiness without any assurance of later compensation.

In addition, many of the attributes which will lead to you achieving your goals in the wider world are rarely measured in exams. There are many possibilities open to you which are likely not visible yet. Let them come, and take happiness wherever you find it.


Your question has a logical fallacy: they are not exclusive. It's clear you are experiencing both, and it will continue to happen. But it's clear you don't know which one has the priority,

Maybe the right question will be: what percentage of time should I use to enjoy the present and what percentage to prepare the future?

My personal rule is 80/20: 80% to do, to live, enjoy, build, and 20% to plan. In every aspect of my life.

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