There’s no shortage of cliché quotes about loving the journey and the process of achieving a goal, and not becoming overly-obsessed about the goal itself.
According to Anna Quindlen in her book A Short Guide To A Happy Life, the hardest thing to learn in life is learning to love the journey, not the destination.
So how do we go about truly appreciating the process?
So what is the underlying difference? How differently does Warren Buffet value his time compared to the homeless man begging for change on the sidewalk?
Let’s look at the 3 most important factors that dictate our valuation of time.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind from now on that will change your approach to this forever.
Imagine that you’ve achieved all the goals you have in mind. Picture it vividly, see the images, hear the sounds, smell the scent, feel the emotions and everything else that comes with those accomplishments.
You finally lost that last 10 pounds, or gotten that raise and promotion you’ve been eyeing, or won that gold medal at the tournament you’ve been training relentlessly for.
In your mind, bask in the glory and huge sense of accomplishment accompanying such feats.
Now imagine if all of that was simply given to you without ANY effort from your part.
All of those accomplishments were simply handed to you without you lifting a single finger, without the sweat, blood and tears that precedes those accolades.
These achievements that you’ve always wanted just happen to plop on your lap tomorrow morning.
Now how do you feel? Are you satisfied? Are you happy that you’ve “accomplished” all that you’ve wanted? Are you appreciative of all those achievements? Are you proud?
Are you happy?
Now reverse the scenario and imagine if you worked relentlessly to achieve all that you have.
It’s a totally different experience isn’t it?
When we look for the end goal to bring us happiness, subconsciously we’re telling ourselves that happiness is all that matters and the only thing that can make us happy is the actual accomplishment of that goal.
According to a study published in the National Institute of Health in 2012, people are less likely to be happy the more they value happiness itself.1
And the inverse of that would be not focusing on trying to be happy and focusing only on accomplishing our goals to do that. This is by no means saying that the end goal isn’t important. They are what drives us to action and strive to be better in the first place.
But if we mistakenly believe that the end accomplishments are the sole source of our happiness, we’d miss out on the bulk of what actually makes us happy.
Another simple way to fall in love with the process is to keep in mind is the examples of those that went before us.
For most of us, whatever goals we may have, there are others currently living the life we want and having achieved what we want.
Studying most of these people’s examples, it’s easy to see these people aren’t focused on just the end goal, they’re absolutely fascinated with what they do each and every day.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin
Everything involved leading up to their actual achievements are the bulk of what makes up their sense of accomplishment.
Arguably the best American Football coach of all time, Vince Lombardi himself couldn’t agree more with this train of thought when he said the following quote:
“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” – Vince Lomdardi
An alternate way of looking at this is observing how these people act once they’ve achieve their goal.
Do world champions retire right after they win? Do entrepreneurs and business moguls stop working once they closed their dream deal? Do successful dieters and those that transform their health for the better go back to their old ways once they hit that goal?
It’s because they fell in love with the process that they kept going. They found that the joy that comes with their goals mainly lies in the path they take to getting there.
Consider a recent survey conducted in 2015 for the Harvard class of 1980. One of the key points from the survey analysis was that those who were extremely happy thoroughly enjoyed what they are currently doing.2
The last point to keep in mind is that happiness is a choice.
This is not the happiness exclusive to achievements and winning a tough battle, but happiness overall.
According to psychology professor, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky of University of California-Riverside, up to 40 percent of our happiness is within our direct control.3 This direct control comes about through intentional activities that we choose to engage in.
Now think about the actual accomplishments and achievements that we want to obtain.
Are any of those within 100 percent of our direct control? Do we have control over our managers giving us that raise and promoting us? Do we have control over our genetics and how our bodies respond to the diet and training we put it through? Do we have control over how our opponent is going act?
The fact that our end goals, our hopes and dreams, etc. are not within 100 percent of our control may be difficult for some of us to accept. But the way to really start enjoying the ride is to accept this fact.
As long as we rely on these or any other external factors to be happy, we can never attain true happiness. 3.
Keep these 3 points in mind and live by them. Not only will you feel more relaxed, less anxious and worried, you’ll begin to notice all the different things to be happy about in your life.