The end is not the beginning

Jun 15 2005 by René Da Costa Print This Article

For those courageous or possibly foolhardy few adventurers, the view from the top of Mount Everest is the accepted reward. Why do they put their lives and reputation's at risk for the sake of a view that would be no less spectacular from the cockpit of a 747?

The truth is, they don't!

The vistas are a justification for the journey not the payoff. By concentrating on the flag planting they manage to convince themselves that their frivolous journeys and lifestyles have a higher purpose.

Are these adventurers mad or do they in fact have a secret to share?

They do indeed. What gets them to the top is not the destination but an appreciation of the journey. They, subconsciously perhaps, understand that the big goals are only possible when you can look forward to the small failures because they give you another day's worth of trying.

Big goals are only possible when you can look forward to the small failures because they give you another day's worth of trying
That means you can't be easily discouraged or abandon your ambitions because you are not just abandoning a goal but a cherished lifestyle. Think about a common goal, to get fit. You aim to get fit, lose weight and run the London marathon, but hey, that chocolate cake is awfully appealing and a 5am alarm call to train, makes wheezing on the stairs, cigarette in hand seem not quite so bad.

You have been told that customer satisfaction is paramount and your team are prepared to work long hours to be available whenever needed. It sounds great on paper, 24-hour customer service, but how happy will your customers be with sullen and churlish employees manning the phones?

Ok, you thought of that, you are providing bonuses for your team at the end of the year! You have fallen into the trap. You have only considered the destination not the long journey. It is a simple equation, 12 months of stress and dissatisfaction versus a moment's pleasure in seeing more noughts on one paycheck.

The evidence of experience is clear, you must apply the same values to the journey as you would to the destination. If you enjoy it, you do it. And while you are doing it you are fulfilling ambitions and presenting yourself with unknown opportunities for even greater success.

Many of the things we now take for granted in our lives were originally invented for an altogether different purpose. Take email and the World Wide Web, they were originally intended as a military application. No farsighted individual decided our personal and working lives would be transformed by this remarkable innovation.

These great innovations are borne from their creator's simple enjoyment of what they do. Sure, they occasionally have another goal in mind, and suffer numerous failures along the way, but what keeps them going is a love of the game, not the prize. If you doubt that, think of those individuals who have changed the world through their creations or thinking. How many retire?

Be brave; allow yourself the pleasure of enjoying each day, which is not the same as each day being enjoyable. You will have your days of frostbitten toes along the way to the top, but because the top is just a way of planning the journey you will find a way to carry on. Not because the view is the best, but because the journey is.


About The Author

René Da Costa
René Da Costa

René Da Costa is an author and consultant.