On one occasion while speaking to the students at my old law school, I stressed that while the ultimate goal was to pass the exams and become attorneys, it was equally important for them to enjoy the journey.
This was certainly my takeaway. The person I was at the end of law school was not the same person I was at the beginning. In that time, I had encountered several failures; but through failure, I learned resilience. In the beginning, I struggled a lot at trying to keep up with demands of law school; but I learned to overcome these struggles by developing balance. Any ego I had which hindered my learning was quickly crushed and I learned humility. I learned to be a winner. I learned to have fun. I look at this time fondly, not only because I became an attorney at the end, but also because of the growth I gained on the journey.
THE VICTORY IS TRULY IN THE JOURNEY
Likewise, I truly believe that if you reflect on your own journey, you’ll realize that’s where your growth happened. You’ll realize that it was in the journey where you learned the important lessons. When you reflect on the journey, you realize that it was there where you became a winner. It was in the journey where you became an overcomer.
For our mentors and idols, it was in their journey where they became the version of themselves that we respect and idolize. It is in the journey where success truly happens. It is in the journey where true character is built. It is in the journey where life is truly lived.
Deep down, we know this too. This is why when we talk to people who are accomplished; we are often just as fascinated by their journey to success as we are fascinated by their actual success. We want to see the point in their journey where they separated themselves from the pack to become great. We look for parallels in our own journey so we can say “our journeys were similiar; if they made it, so can I!”
This is why autobiographies sell so well and why successful people become successful motivational speakers. Their success gives them credibility and draws the crowd; the crowd who is inspired by their journey. It is the reason why most of us watched “The Last Dance” docuseries, or why “Becoming” by Michelle Obama resonated so deeply. It is why people love romantic comedies. It is because we value the journey.
TO TRULY ENJOY THE JOURNEY IS TO BE PRESENT AND LIVE IN THE MOMENT
While we are fascinated with the journeys of others, the most important journey we should be focused on is our own. And enjoying your own journey means being present and living in the moment. It means paying attention to everything that’s happening around you. It means appreciating the people who are in your life, even if you do not yet see their impact.
When you live in the moment, your failures and struggles, while painful, don’t have to signal doom, but can merely be viewed as the part of your journey that leads to growth and awareness. Being in the moment means being grateful. Being in the moment means allowing yourself to be happy, to be excited. It means allowing yourself to embrace being uncomfortable. It means embracing hard work. It means not allowing yourself to be distracted by the pain of your past or the expectations of your future. Being in the moment means allowing yourself to feel all the joy and pain that each moment brings. It means seeing each occurrence as a lesson; or at the very least, a good story.
I truly believe this is why “The Alchemist” is so popular. Paulo Coelho makes the reader quite aware that Santiago has a final destination in his sights, but (in my view) the author masterfully highlights the journey. In the book we see that along the journey, every single event, whether good or bad, was integral to him reaching the ultimate destination. These events also provided great lessons for the main character (and the reader) along the way.
A FINAL THOUGHT
We all have our own goals and dreams. And while chasing them, I encourage you all not to ignore the value of the journey on the way to accomplishing these goals and dreams. There will no doubt be excitement and elation when a goal is reached, but I truly believe that when you really reflect and look back, you will find an equal amount of joy in the journey.