We as a whole are a results-driven society.
- We work so we have financial freedom, success, recognition, personal satisfaction, etc.
- We raise our children with the goal of creating loving, responsible, productive people.
- We create a date night with our spouse to keep the spark alive in the midst of daily chaos.
- As writers, we write a set number of words (or minutes/hours/paragraphs, etc) to produce the finished product.
- When reading a book, we often rush through it to get to the end in anticipation of what happens to the good guy/gal—or the bad guy/gal. (Or am I the only one who does that?)
- We diet to reach a desired goal.
I could go on indefinitely.
While striving for our desired results isn’t a bad thing, if that’s our focus, we’re missing out on the process.
The process is where the gold is discovered. It’s in the process that we’re refined and made stronger.
It’s the process of achieving results that’s the teacher, showing us how to get from point A to point B while revealing the necessary seemingly little steps that eventually lead to the final result.
It’s in the process that we learn patience, perseverance, and self-control. When things aren’t going the way we’d planned, we learn to pivot as needed, taking the longer route if necessary, learning that our way isn’t the only way. It opens us up to bigger, broader horizons if our eyes aren’t stuck on the goal.
It’s in the process that holds the joy. Detours are often more scenic, more relaxed and enjoyable. We can either get to where we’re going by hurrying, scarfing down meals on the go, potty breaks only as needed, or we can sit back and enjoy the ride, take the time to taste exquisite cuisine, wander a bit in nature, getting to the same destination but with more to show for it.
Results are out of our control. Joy is not. Set your sights on the process and get to where you’re going joyfully.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness