We have lost touch with the idea that anything we do is its own reward. We have forgotten the value in the act itself. Instead, we focus on the outcome, objectives—what do we get out of the work we put in, and is it worth anything to us? I noticed the other day that I have built all my hobbies around goals. In my drive to accomplish and impress, I have forgotten how to simply relax and enjoy. I don’t do anything for the simple and pure enjoyment of the act alone anymore it seems.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“We live in a goal-oriented society. We are often so busy trying to get to the top of the mountain that we forget to notice the rocks with lichen, the alpine flowers, and even the people along the way. We are ruled by the cult of the orgasm. Foreplay is only a means to an end. Yet for many women the touching, holding, talking, stroking, and intimacy are equally if not more important than the moment of orgasm. Orgasms and goals can be fun, but not if they obliterate everything that goes before.
Setting goals can be useful and important, especially if we are willing to let them go when they become irrelevant, and if we remember that the journey itself is important.”
One of my favorite quotes is, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” When you think about it, the ultimate destination of life is death. We are meant to enjoy the path we take along the way, since all that happens between birth and death is life after all. We often view life skewed through this flawed goal-oriented prism. We think we will only be happy once we reach a particular goal or milestone, not realizing that the whole point is to enjoy the process. Life is a process. We think we will be happy when we make more money, when we finally get that promotion or job we really want, when we have a nicer car, meet the love of our lives, or lose those extra ten pounds. We fail to see, however, that the problem lies within. Happiness comes from inside us. If we aren’t happy with ourselves, if we don’t take time to enjoy what we have right now in the moment as well as the path we take to get anywhere, we are missing the point. We won’t be happy ever. Goals are an end, but we must remember to ask ourselves, what about the means to get there? Sometimes doing things just for the sake of doing them is enough.