Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination – RAY GOODMAN
This is a saying I have come across many times in slightly different forms. I know that because I like this saying and it speaks to me every time so I remember it every time. I like this particular version more than ‘Happiness is a journey , not a destination’ because it talks about the way of travel. It is a subtle difference but really meaningful.
I guess however it is written, it reminds us to be in the now and enjoy whatever journey we are on, be it towards wealth, fame, or saving for a holiday.
I realise that this saying does not quite apply to every situation because some journeys are undertaken purely to reach the destination such as travelling by plane to another country. The goal is pretty much given and the journey does not depend on us doing much but getting on board and sitting in the airplane. That’s not to say we can’t enjoy the journey. I actually really enjoy flying, because I can be utterly lazy, read,watch movies and get fed and served by someone else – like being in hospital but that’s another story.
Anyway, I digress. The way of travel is important. It can also bring much happiness to have a goal or destination and to see results along the way. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step but it will not be enjoyable if the journey is completely in the dark or over steep rocky mountains etc. That way of travel is not particularly appearling. You gotta really want to get to the 1000 mile mark if you know that is coming.
So let’s say we have a goal such as to find a new passion and spend some of our spare time doing it, now that we have more time on our hands. The destination is great – participating in our new hobby will be fun, but we can certainly also enjoy the journey toward finding that passion if we choose the right way of travel. We might participate in a few one day courses that we might think we will really enjoy. We might like them all and make new friends. Alternatively if our way of travel to find a new passion is to sit with a piece of paper and be put on the spot until we think of something it may not make us very happy along the way. So it could be important to work out the most enjoyable way of reaching that destination. Ask around if you are stuck. By having a destination in the first place instead of simply drifting with the tide in our comfort zone and unchallenged life may take on new meaning. A destination involves stepping outside our comfort zone, whatever that may be and as long as we can find a way of travel, we might resurrent those old dreams or find ourselves at last.
One destination could be losing weight, for example. There are different ways to do this. Apply to Biggest Loser, ask a friend to come walking with you, go it alone, join Weight Watchers, eat protein shake meal replacements etc etc. The destination of losing weight, should we reach it, may bring us happiness but seeing the weight slowly comes off, is equally if not more happiness inducing, I have found. That’s because you are on a journey and have to do something every day towards your destination that tests you, that you can be proud of, that gets results. You’re on your way. I am just as happy feeling that I can get to where I want to go, as I am when I reach my target. It is a feeling of control, of power (however illusory) that makes us feel good and brings that happiness. Not every method or way of travel to lose weight suits everyone. Find yours!
Some destiations may seem pointless to others, such as doing cross stitch. My husband pointed out that I could buy some cross stitch work, very cheaply hand made in a third world country if I wanted some. But he was missing the point. All he saw was the destination – have some cross stich to frame perhaps. I wanted the satisfaction of learning to cross stitch, the relaxation of sitting quietly to conentrate on the pattern, the joy of seeing my progress. He then understood. Some people race around in life achieving willy nilly and forgetting to smell the roses. They may even like their way of travel and reaching destinations but forget to enjoy themselves along the way. Then what? You come to the end of your life and compare notes with God? Ah yes, I went here and here, did this, did that. But were you happy? God might ask.
When we consciously choose our way of travel, it is likely to be something that combines our enjoyment with our aptitude or we may not undertake the journey in the first place. On the way we may have periods of being ‘in flow’ or ‘in our element’ or in the zone. This is where we tap into a greater source of energy and and creativity and become energised by what we are doing and go for hours at a time. We may be so absorbed because we have truly found happiness. Happiness generally involves the full use of our talents. This is why it is important to choose the way of travel. Find the best way for you and the most rewarding destination. Find that thing you love doing which lifts your spirits and comes so naturally to you. Practise it. Travel that road often.
The opposite is finding ourselves undertaking a journey that we are not keen to go on. It’s the shoulds we tell ourselves must be done. This activity will drain our energy and we may arrive at our destination completley depleted and far from happy even if it is done. The happiness comes from getting it over with. It may be a good idea to examine the kind of things that end up in our shoulds lists but also in the too hard basket. These jobs we put off forever and remain on our to do list interminably unless a matter of life, death or losing friends or money. What is it about that ‘journey’ we do not enjoy? Can we pay someone else to do it? How much is it worth to us, not to have to do it? Could we chunk it down into small palatable jobs which could be spread out over a matter of weeks? Can we avoid it without too much repercussion? These jobs will ruin our mood by their very existence and if they can’t be avoided, need to just be dealt with. Put some nice music on, eat chocolate while you are doing it, get someone to keep your company. You can still choose the way of travel. A burden shared is a burden halved or many hands make light work, if you can get someone else to help you. The way of travel need not be a solitary one if that helps you.
Some ways of travel are obviously going to lead to happiness more than the destination will. Think of a cruise where you end up back where you started!! Or a trip on the Orient Express, though the destination may also appeal.
This saying is great for Scanners – people who are interested in everything and flit from one activity to the next without necessarily completing or mastering anything. They are generally happy people unless they feel belittled when people ask them why they can’t stick and persevere at something and what’s wrong with them, show some backbone etc! But we are so happy along the way, even if we never accomplish anything with the latest hobby. If you want to compare notes at the end of your life, you can count the hours of happinesss, with nary a destination in sight. We just enjoy the way of travel! We are lucky in a way. Our destinations keep changing and we may not reach many but we see results on the way, we are growing, we have achieved what we set out to do – enjoy ourselves while we took up abseiling, or belly dancing or whatever else. We have received our reward in the form of satisfying our curiosity about a subject and then we head off in a new direction. Our way of travel is always fast and enthusiastic. Full on!
Richard Branson does not start companies in order to make money or because he needs another company with the Virgin name. He has more then he can keep track of. He has found a way of travelling that he loves and he keeps on and on, flying past his destinations with hardly a thought as he is reaching further and further to the next one.
Amateurs are people who voluntarily take up a mostly unpaid hobby. Sometimes they are more accomplished than the professionals because they love their way of travel – no pressure, at their own pace, in every spare moment etc. The word Amateur comes from Latin, to love. The destination of an amateur may or may not be to get paid for their passion but it has not stopped them this far. They love their way of travel. In fact it might ruin the journey for them if they reach for the destination of being paid. It may lost all enjoyment then if they don’t like pressure and deadlines.
If you can choose your way of travel (some people perform better under pressure) and enjoy the results along the way, you will find you may be seeming to ‘work’ very hard indeed, putting in many hours. You could be waking at 5am keen to continue what you were doing at midnight the night before. A hobby is something that other people cannot afford to pay us to do – or something like that. I have gotten completely energised when I have have had some destinations in sight and enjoyed the means of travel. These are such odd things as getting the house ready for a house swap which involved 3 months of manic cleaning and sorting and fixing and buying new things. I may hate all those things normally without an end in sight. I was glad to have a reason and the motivation and certainly enjoyed the results. Same with hosting parties. Housework becomes more meaningful, pressing and actually enjoyable as we imagine our guests looking around. So if you can find something you’d like to achieve, (your destination), work out what motivates you and what pace you like to move at and how you will see the results you are achieving along the way, (your way of travel) you may find that nothing can stop you. Bye.