September 29, 2015

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~Lao Tzu

This famous quote by Lao Tzu reminds us how simple beginnings are. You can’t start your story at the end, you’re only able to start each chapter at it’s beginning.

And the beginning is an exhilarating place to be, because it is full of hope and possibilities. 

We want to achieve our goal, that’s why we’re starting a journey in the first place! And although this is an exciting concept, it can be equally daunting.

It’s painfully easy to feel unprepared for the journeys you begin, or to feel defeated before you even start because of how far away your goal may seem.

But every success story has a journey that precedes it, and most of what you learn happens during the journey itself…

So let’s take some time to look at the value of the journey and the transformative effects it can have on you.

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~Oscar Wilde

You’re absolutely going to hit road bumps, make mistakes, fail, fall down, and feel beaten up at some point on your journey. But many times that is one of the most influential experiences you can have.

Not only will it help you find perseverance and determination, but there are endless lessons to be learned in challenging moments.

You learn about yourself, how you react in times of trial, you discover new skills, and you open your eyes to new ideas. Sometimes it may even change your goal entirely!

No matter what specifically comes of struggling, you can be sure you will grow and learn. You have a remarkable opportunity to come out of every challenge a better and stronger version of yourself.

So allow yourself room to fall down and get back up. Inspire yourself to see rough spots as opportunities to evolve.

Because those are the moments that truly help define you, those are the moments that shape your character and lead to deeply understanding yourself.

The real success is developed throughout the journey, not at the final destination.

We all want to get what we’ve worked hard for. We all want success. But when we get caught up in wanting to succeed we can forget to experience every moment that comes along.

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can’t learn anything from being perfect.” ~Adam Osborne

In a world where we see accomplishments as commodities and success at our goals as status symbols, it’s only too natural to get stressed or depressed as we proceed on our journeys.

We never feel like we’re doing enough, or doing good enough at what we are doing. We’re always comparing ourselves to where we want to be and pushing ourselves to work harder to get there.

We are always trying to be “perfect.”

And yet we know we can’t just have success without work and trials!

But we still judge ourselves for having to work as long and as hard as we do. We set up unbeatable expectations and judge or doubt ourselves when we fail at them. But we have to “not be there” for a while before we get to our goals.

So when is it time to praise ourselves for what we are doing?

At what point do we really stop to validate how hard we’ve worked, or how much we care?

Those aspects are equally valuable, but highly under appreciated. We need to give praise and approval to ourselves.

It’s always the time to acknowledge your journey and how far you’ve come.

Of course you still have farther to go, but that doesn’t mean what you’ve done doesn’t have value.

It’s up to you to validate your work and growth, regardless of other’s expectations, or your own sense of drive. Each step is worthy of acclaim.

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” ~Matsuo Basho

Success is boring.

No really, it is!

When you finally succeed at something you’ve worked hard for, it’s exciting at first. And you revel and enjoy your success.

But then that little voice in your head starts thinking and dreaming all over again. And before the paint has time to dry on your last dream, you’re onto your next, working your way to your new goal.

Most of life is spent working towards something, not just reveling in your success.

It’s human nature to grow, so we begin journey after journey and work towards goal after goal. We’re always moving on to something new.

We spend our life on the journey, not living in the success.

When you embrace life all the time, not just when you succeed at your goals, you’re choosing to live an exhilarating life where every moment matters.

“True happiness is…to enjoy the present without anxious dependence upon the future.” ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

If we always put our happiness in the future, we will never find it. We can’t limit our enjoyment of life to when we’ve succeeded at our goals.

If we do, we condemn ourselves to being sad and unhappy most of the time, which makes it more difficult to pick yourself up when you fall down, and lowers your quality of life.

We have to find joy and pride in where we are every step of the way.

Otherwise, even if we succeed and are happy for a time, we are only a short way from beginning another dream. And there goes our happiness off into the future once again!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Instead of waiting until you’ve achieved your goal to feel happy, imagine feeling happy and fulfilled along your journey.

Imagine what a happy life you’d live finding joy in every phase of your path, not just the last step. Imagine how much more fulfilling life would be.

Use that image of a happy life to propel yourself into feeling joy while on your journey, not just when you achieve your success.

You deserve to feel uplifted by the journey you’re walking on, not just in the final location. You deserve to be fulfilled by each difficult and rewarding step you complete.

And when you do finally reach your goal and earn your success, it will be another amazing step in a beautiful life full of happiness and contentment.

Every day can be as magnificent as you’re willing to make it. Enjoy journeying, and enjoy how much you can achieve while working towards your goals.

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