Happiness is Not a Destination: How to Enjoy the Journey
What is happiness? Is it a destination or a journey? If happiness is a journey, then how do you focus on the journey, not the destination? And who said that happiness is a journey, not a destination? Which is a more important journey or destination when it comes to happiness?
We need to learn how to make the most of where we are today and enjoy the journey; because If we spend our whole lives working, rushing and dashing, and trying to get to the ideal destination, we miss the journey getting there.
How to Enjoy the Journey When All You Want to Do is Reach Your Destination
If you’re not where you want to be in life, I want to let you know that, although the associated feelings may not be delightful, this is actually a good thing.
This means that you have aspirations and goals that you’re striving towards, and in striving towards them, you are growing and evolving into a better version of yourself.
All your wildest dreams just haven’t been realized yet, which may cause you to experience a bit of impatience and hopelessness, feelings that may be supplemented by inadequacy when you find yourself scrolling through other people’s highlight reels on social media. Having experienced this multiple times in my life, I’d like to share with you 4 lessons that I’ve learned along the way that may be useful for you on your journey.
1. Trust The Process
Several years ago, after one year out of the workforce, I decided that it was time to apply for jobs again. The job search process felt like an emotional roller coaster – I’d submit my resume, unsure of whether or not I’d hear back. When I heard back, I’d feel excited for the opportunity to go on an interview, and after the interview, I’d feel dejected because, through the interview, I realized that the company and I were not a good match for each other. This dragged on for weeks, which turned into months.
However, through the job search process, in order to keep myself grounded, I cultivated a daily meditation and yoga practice, which I maintain to this day. Had I secured a job right away and not gone through the emotional roller coaster, I probably would not have developed my personal mindfulness practice that has been a game-changer in my life. When I finally did land a job months later, it felt right – it met every criteria I was looking for in a job.
2. Everything is Happening for You
When I was a college senior, I got a job in consulting through on-campus recruiting and was slated to join the Products & Services team at my firm. However, because I deferred my start date for a year, when I joined the firm a year later, there was no longer a need in Products & Services, and instead, I was placed on the Financial Services team, for which I had no interest.
In fact, I spent the bulk of my time at the firm trying to make an internal transfer to join another team where I felt like I could better leverage my skills and experiences.
Unfortunately, as I watched other people successfully transfer from one team to another, I was still stuck on the same team and wondered why I wasn’t able to do the same. My immediate thoughts were, “This sucks, and this isn’t fair.”
Then it dawned on me that if I’m unable to make an internal transfer, then maybe it’s time for me to look for another job outside of the firm.
Within weeks, I found a new job and moved to a company that was more aligned with what I studied and what I cared about.
With hindsight, I can see that it was a good thing that I was denied the internal transfer.
3. The World is an Abundant Place
In college, I knew that there was only a limited number of seats available for coveted consulting jobs. So, if someone landed a spot, my chances just went down. As such, I believed that opportunities were hard to come by, and I developed a scarcity mindset.
I acknowledge that the job market may be tight and competitive at times. However, I also acknowledge that there are also 7.8 billion people globally, and with that many people, there are opportunities out there.
When we focus on the competition and how tight the job market is, life will become a self-fulfilling prophecy where we work to prove ourselves right. We focus on growth, so if we, instead, choose to focus on the fact that there are so many possibilities out there, some that we can’t even fathom right now, our minds will subconsciously work in ways to find those opportunities.
4. Everything has Always Worked Out, and It Will Continue to Do So
I was incredibly stressed out in high school and obsessed over every paper, quiz, and exam. If I could go back in time and visit my high school self, I’d tell her to stop worrying so much about getting into college, that everything will work out!
I was also very stressed out as a college senior because I was worried about my employment prospects. If I could go back in time and visit my college self, I’d also tell her to stop worrying so much about getting a job, that everything will work out!
When we are caught in the thick of things, it feels like we’re drowning in our worries, and it’s hard to come up for a breath of air and notice the horizon beyond where we currently are.
Perhaps you’ve felt stuck in the same place for a long time, worried if things will change. I promise you that the efforts that you’re making are propelling you forward, even if the results are not yet evident.
Your progress is inevitable – you may not see clear results tomorrow or the next day. However, a year from now, you’ll be at a much different place, where you’ll be able to look back and see how all that worrying was for nothing. When you trust that you’ll reach your destination, you’ll learn to enjoy the ride getting there.