If you're only happy when you've achieved your goal or arrived at your destination, you will have very little joy in your life.
If you’re a small business owner like me, you can find yourself so immersed in the details of your business — business development, client management, employee issues, cash flow, chasing receivables, managing payables — that you are in ‘survival’ mode, not ‘living life’ mode. Or maybe your personal life and the many challenges there are draining your life of its energy — maybe you’re having a disagreement with your spouse, your kids are not showing their best and highest selves, your weight loss program or exercise plan is failing, the car needs repair, the leaky faucet is driving you crazy — this is not the kind of life you had dreamed for yourself.
‘Destination Only’ People Enjoy Their Lives Less
You’re not having fun. You’re not enjoying your life. You keep thinking, “If I can just win this new contract, ” or “If I can just hire that new talented employee,” or “If I can just implement this new program at work,” or “If my spouse will just change,” or “If I can just move into a better house, or get a newer car,” or …. blah, blah, blah … you get the point. We become all about the DESTINATION and not the JOURNEY. Big mistake.
If the only time we are happy is when we have reached a destination, we will have very little joy and happiness in our lives. Destinations are few, and the happiness we feel in arriving is short-lived. Whereas if we learned to enjoy the JOURNEY, we can be happy much more. Why? Because the journey takes much longer than the destination. If I am a ‘destination only’ kind of guy and have a goal of driving to Los Angeles, and I live in New York City, I will be miserable for five days while I drive across the country and be happy only a day when I arrive in Los Angeles. Why? The journey takes five days, and the arrival only one. If I learned to enjoy the drive, I could be happy five more days!
Suggestions For Enjoying The Journey
You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but how can I get out of my ‘destination only’ life and start living and enjoying my life now as a ‘journey minded’ person?” It’s going to be different for everyone, but let me get your brain going by offering some suggestions, in no particular order:
- Celebrate incremental wins at work, not just the final destination or achievement.
- Designate “off the net” time in your week. Get off your phone, tablet, computer. People today are connected, but no one is connecting. How about having a real face-to-face conversation with someone you care about; and I don’t mean FaceTime them.
- Start a journal and write down every day three things you are thankful for.
- Look back at your life. You are not where want to be, but you’re not where you used to be. Appreciate that.
- Think about all the wonderful people in your life. Appreciate them. Call one of them.
- Think about all the things that have gone right in your life. Sure, you’ve had setbacks. Haven’t we all? But appreciate the blessings you’ve had. You’ll be surprised at how many there are.
- Slow down, look around you, be present. Next time you’re walking somewhere, make it a point to look around you at things you normally walk by without noticing. Appreciate the store front window, the well-kept lawn, the person going the opposite direction — say hello to them.
- Find a good book and read it. C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” You’re not alone.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- See a play, a concert, or other performance.
- Look at old photos. Let yourself smile as you do.
- Write a letter to someone you love. No, not an email. Take out a real piece of paper, a real pen, and write them a letter. People appreciate this more today than ever.
- Paint a picture, play an instrument, sculpt, draw. Create.
- Try a new restaurant, or a new dish.
The point is to ENJOY THE JOURNEY. You can enjoy your life now, not just when you arrive at your goal or destination.
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