We keep hearing that the journey is better than the destination. I agree but what I wonder is why no one ever says the same principle about other situations. Is playing a sport better than winning the game? Is the drive better than reaching the store? Is baking a cake better than the cake itself. Well, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
I was recently talking to a friend of mine and the conversation steered into what smartphone she would buy in the coming days. Turns out she was planning to NOT get her desired phone just because she didn’t get a good bonus. I was baffled because I know she doesn’t need an extra bonus to get that device. She felt that her bonus is a metric to evaluate if she deserves the device or not. For her the results, sadly, far outweighed the effort she put into her work.
The axioms we use for journeys and destinations are nothing but mere metaphors. Your journey is a process and the destination is a result, and you are the force that puts all the effort. When you think of them in terms of process, result and efforts, they start losing their direct relationship. You can get the same result via multiple processes. The same process can yield multiple results. The effort you put into the process affect the shape of your results. But if the results are unsatisfactory, does your effort get the blame or your process?
Marathons are an immaculate sport, where a number of people run to finish a 42km stretch. The podium only allows 3 individuals, who make it till the end, to take their claim. For the rest who didn’t manage to complete the race, can you say they didn’t run? Everyone puts in their best effort and for some it bears fruit - the one they wanted. Here arises a disparity in scale, the results everyone wants is the same and there is a minimum effort required to achieve that result, but the best each individual can do is highly variable. A marathon runner who gave their best effort but didn’t manage to get the podium, do they deserve a cheer or not?
The final destination of our lives is (softly) death. It is the only singular act we all will perform in all our individual and collective grace. Prior to this destination, all of what we do is part of the journey. And this journey is made up of a series of overlapping journeys and destinations like running a marathon or baking a cake. All our momentary destinations are the ones we chose to acknowledge. There are often more than one result which we consciously or subconsciously ignore for the sake something measurable. This varies from person from person, and we’re great at evaluating the whole journey on the basis of that “something measurable”.
All I can think now is how I’ve myself beaten myself up keeping a tunnel vision on these lucrative results. I was no longer reading for joy but to score good grades. I was no longer playing basketball for the energy but just to win that tournament. I was no longer having fun with decorating my room because I’ve to move cities again.
Maybe we can take a step back from the destinations for a while and see where the journey is taking us and how it’s making us feel. Maybe we’ll find something completely new, maybe we’ll reap good results, maybe the cake will actually turn out good. If not, I’m gonna try again and enjoy it.