The path IS the goal.
The process is more important than the result.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
There are three very common, some might say cheesy and clichéd sayings you may hear when it comes to taking action to reach your goals.
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes already, and I did when I first heard quotes like these.
But I’ve recently realized something that has made me U-turn on a lot of my own old, outdated beliefs around goal-setting and achievement and acquisition of material things, or just generally “making it” in life.
The path you’re traveling, the journey you’re currently on, really is the only thing that matters. All we have is the now.
You can and should have dreams and aspirations, but I want you to think beyond them. You are capable of so much more than you think.
Plus, the path you’re on may very well change for you, as it did for me.
I’ll tell you about my dream.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a professional musician. I wanted to tour the world as a guitarist in a metal band. Not necessarily be a rich and famous rock star, but to play shows, record music, and make a decent living doing so.
I started out on drums originally. I used to practice at school. (No way were my mum and dad going to let me have a drum kit in the house!) I was pretty uncoordinated and flailed around like a sweaty octopus making a racket, so I ditched the sticks and picked up a second-hand electric guitar, vowing to one day “make it” in the music biz.
Despite my family and friends all thinking that it wasn’t going to happen, and in some cases actively discouraging me from pursuing this very unorthodox career, I did in some small part succeed. I have played nationally and internationally, written and recorded music. I also have made a comfortable living teaching guitar for nearly ten years now.
But what I am most proud of is not the fact that I proved my parents wrong or that I can stick two fingers up to anyone that doubted I would ever get this far. It’s not that at all.
In some ways, they were kind of right. I didn’t fully make my dream come true after spending twenty-five years trying to do so.
You see, I was just on a different path for a while to the one I’m on right now. Allowing myself to evolve naturally, let things take their course, and stop trying to control everything, has been an absolute game changer and has gotten me to a very good place.
My original musical dreams, combined with my passion for helping people, led me down another route from that of the main stage at a festival—to teaching guitar. And I’m so proud and quite frankly amazed sometimes that I’ve been able to teach hundreds of people in my local area, and hopefully have made a positive impact. Playing a small part at least in their musical journeys.
Where am I going with all this bragging!?
An illusion of control is what I believe we have, but we truly don’t know what’s around the corner for us.
And I think that the immense pressure of setting and achieving goals takes away some of the fun of that unpredictable journey.
We set ourselves goals to achieve or acquire things that we believe will make us happy, right?
So, you’re not after the goal per se, you’re actually after a happy feeling. You can have that happy feeling right now, even if you haven’t yet reached your goal. And you might eventually find you’re happier doing something else, if you’re willing to let go and shift gears.
Next time you’re setting goals just remember that change is inevitable. Be flexible with your goals and have fun going after them!
It’s fine to follow your dreams, but always follow the path that brings you the most happiness in the present.
All we have is the journey.
About James Kane
James Kane is a Personal Development Coach from Southampton, UK specialising in helping men feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. www.jameskanecoaching.com.