“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
Every ‘aspiring writer’ dreams of becoming a published writer (you know, the kind who actually puts out books and gets paid to write). I am no different. I have big dreams… but what if I never make it? I sometimes find myself having thoughts like these. They are rare but nevertheless do come into my head from time to time. Anyway, having these thoughts have made me realise a few things – things that thankfully made me have fewer thoughts like these. They have also helped me see life a little differently now.
We are born and we eventually die. Birth marks the beginning of our time here on this planet and death is the final outcome (at least, for that lifetime). We all understand that rushing to death – just because it is the final outcome – is not something that we should be doing. On the contrary, we tend to do everything we can to delay the time of our death. Why do we do this? We do this because we want to savour the time in-between; the journey; the process as much as we can. We want to experience as many good things and to enjoy these experiences as much as we can.
While we might see life – the big picture – in this way, what about the events that make up our lives? What about our day to day experiences? How many of us want each moment of each day to last, so we may savour them?
What about the things we want to have, do and be? Things like our careers or our life’s work? Do we take the time to enjoy each step we take along the way or are we just marking time while we wait for that promotion or big payday? If we did this, wouldn’t it be like waiting for death? If the attainment marks the end of that journey, then the attainment is akin to a ‘death’. Yet most of us wish to hasten its arrival and tend to ignore (rather than savour) the steps that lead us there – the very ‘life’ of the process.
Isn’t it funny how we seem to have the ‘macro’ worked out clearly, but tend to get the ‘micro’ all mixed-up?
When our happiness, our joy, hinges on the outcome, we have long periods of ‘in-between’ (the time we spend in getting to the outcome) of ‘non-happiness’. For all of these times, it’s like we’re telling ourselves that our reason for happiness hasn’t yet materialised – so we need to stay ‘less than happy’, if not outright unhappy. What if the outcome never materialises? What if things don’t work out as planned? Does this mean we are to spend our entire lives in a state of ‘non-happiness’? What a terrible waste of a life that would be!?
By this logic and through reminding ourselves of the ‘big picture’ (not rushing towards death) we come to realise that our happiness must lie in the journey; in the process and in the ‘doing’ and ‘experiencing’. This is the only way that we can live in a state of constant happiness (or as close as we can get to it) and remain there – irrespective of any outcome.
Instant results not only rob us of the joy that we can only experience from being engaged in the process, but will also rob us of the people we become as a result.
So for now, I am content to engage with the process and to enjoy my journey. Hay House, The New York Times ‘Best Seller List’ and Oprah will just have to wait – but not too long I hope! ; )