Living For The Journey

Yesterday I read this article by Ryan Holiday. How does it feel to accomplish everything you've ever wanted? His answer: nothing.

I believe him. I've lived my whole life thinking about goals and where I want to end up, I can see how disturbing it would be to actually reach it. Because then what? What's next? What do you work for?

That's the wrong mindset however. It's not about the destination. It's not about challenges and beating them. At the end of the day, that feeling of nothingness will come again. Ryan puts it perfectly:

Advancing higher in the ranks, moving the goalposts a little further back, telling yourself that it will be different next time—this is the definition of insanity (expecting new results from the same inputs).

So instead of framing life as a series of obstacles that you have to overcome, I'm going to frame it as the journey being the destination. The privilege to work on challenges that occupy my time and make me think—that's what is valuable. Not the outcome.

I took a happiness class my senior year at Drexel, and one of the articles outlined three equations for happiness. In one of the sections, it mentions work. Work and productivity is how we find our purpose. But what kind of work? Anything? No:

What makes work meaningful is not the kind of work it is, but the sense it gives you that you are earning your success and serving others.

I resonate with the first point there; purpose derived from work that earns your success. Hard work that pays off. Climbing the mountain. But once that mountain is climbed, the second point starts to become evermore relevant: serving others.

That, is what I think the secret is. Enjoy and appreciate the journey as you climb the mountain, but if you hit the top? Start to help others up there as well. Don't try to climb another mountain.

To close out this untypical post, I'll leave you with a little bit of wisdom I read in a Reddit thread:

Everything you "get" becomes something you "have".
Learn how to be happy "having" things instead of "getting" them.