The Challenge: Most people focus solely on the goal and disregard the journey altogether.
The Science: Happiness is attained by living in the moment.
The Solution: Enjoy the journey to find satisfaction when you’re aiming for a big target.
“The journey is more important than the destination.”
How many times have you heard this saying but never actually lived by it? Most people are guilty of making their desired goals the focal point of their lives. They set target after target to jump to the next phase of their lives. In doing so, they become constantly caught up in a race to accomplish more, get farther, climb higher, and reach the top of the proverbial mountain of success. However, in this rat race, they often forget what truly matters: the journey.
Happiness is the Key to Success
Are you one of those people who has always had lofty ambitions and dreamt about reaching the top? Maybe, finally, after years and years of late nights, constant stress, frustration, and worrying, your dreams are finally coming true. Congrats! You’ve reached the level of success, wealth, and power you have always desired. You own a big house and probably have an overstuffed bank account. Yet, when you look back, all you see are the days you never enjoyed, the experiences you missed out, the friends and family you took for granted, and the unhappiness you exposed your mind and body to.
I’ve got big news for you.
Scientific research shows that success is not the key to happiness. It’s actually the other way around. Happiness often leads to success. Success can actually undermine your happiness and drive you to behave in ways that are detrimental to your health and relationships.
So what can you do?
Change your approach to achievement: rather than making a beeline for the peak, you should try to make the most of your experience and enjoy the climb. Stop to smell the roses on your way to the top. Steer around the obstacles with patience, learn from the hurdles you face, and accept the challenges as they come your way.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!”
Here’s some more relevant news: As long as you are moving in the right direction, you will encounter numerous victories along the way. Science says to savor these moments to boost your happiness. So, embrace these victories and build up savings of happy memories that you can whip out when life gets tough.
Surrender Yourself to the Moment
We all know that life is busy. Your daily routine is probably jam-packed with obligations and responsibilities because you have to keep up with the fast-paced world. This constant stimulation mandates that you take some time out for yourself. Slow down every once in a while just to relax. By doing so, you’ll be living in the moment instead of worrying about the future. According to researchers, the mind wanders 50% of the time! That means you end up spending half of your life worrying about events that occurred in the past or the ones that might happen in the future. The real kicker is that this mind-wandering actually makes you unhappy. So when you’re on the path to your next big goal, stop fantasizing about your grand victory: just focus on the task at hand. You’ll be happier and will probably do a better job.
The Journey is the Reward
You’ll learn more from your journey to success than from the carrot you receive as a reward. What ultimately makes you who you are and shapes your personality are all the little decisions you make. On a journey, you experience growth and improvement. The memories, as I said earlier, are just an added bonus. Research shows that people who have a positive outlook on life in their younger years and maintain perspective are actually more likely to earn more later on in life than those who don’t. So, adjust your mindset to get the biggest payoffs.
Strike the Right Balance
Enjoying the journey does not mean that you should stop setting goals or that you should swap your work ethic for leisure. Just don’t let a single goal dictate your life. Enjoy the pursuit of your goal with some diversions along the way. You need ambition to keep you on track. But it should not close you off from others pursuing other paths even if they lead nowhere. Enjoy the path that leads you to your destination. You can do so by being present for the trek you make to reach the peak of your mountain.