There are three kinds of people: Past focused, Present focused and Future focused
Past focused: these are the ones who always regret things and look to the past with nostalgia. They’re more prone to depression.
Present focused: these are the live in the moment type. They don’t save money, don’t change jobs or careers, everything is to maximize short-term gratification.
Future focused: these are the ones always looking ahead. Their actions are based on a future vision.
Even though there are three kinds, people usually identified themselves with two of them, however. There’s always one kind that dominates the other.
So what’s happiness?
That’s a tricky question, and people have different answers. But we can answer it as a balance of future and present focuses, predominating the future one.
I’d say too much of present focused is just quick dopamine gratification, which is far away from happiness.
Happiness is a high dose of future focus. But with the ability to switch to present focus to enjoy life, always considering that these moments don’t get in the way of the future purpose.
(P.S. As a closing thought, I don’t think happiness is something you achieve, I think happiness is a constant process. It’s a system, not a goal.)