Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I wonder how many times I’ve heard that quote – and yet most of the people I meet are still firmly focused on the destination – and are going round in circles.
That’s why I enjoyed reading Heather Plett’s article My lack-of-vision board.
I’ve probably confessed this before, but I think it’s worth repeating – I’ve never been much of a goal setter. You could even say I’m goal-phobic, although I do make short-term plans. I’m just not big on 5 year plans, or anything above around 6 months.
My view is, you never know what’s around the corner, so why tie yourself to goals that don’t take into account the possible opportunities that might come your way – or the disasters that might befall you. In my opinion, there is a skill to taking things as they come, finding the positive and making the best of a situation.
I’ve heard people say “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans” – and whilst I’m not of a religious persuasion, I totally agree with this statement.
I have clients and friends who worry about what might happen in the future. They try to work out all the possible angles before they will do anything. But, as I have often found, when the brown stuff flies, it usually comes from a direction you never even considered!
Think on your feet
In those situations, you have to act quickly to prevent a crisis from turning into a disaster. You have to think on your feet, and learn to find opportunities in situations you know nothing about. You have to be prepared to take some risks. And you have to trust that you will be able to cope with the situation, whatever happens.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve never really planned my life. I’ve never felt the need. If I want to do something, I’ll either do it, or I’ll put it on my “things I want to do some time” pile, until such time as it’s feasible or I feel more motivated to do it. But it’s always there, in the back of my mind, and when the time is right, I’ll pull the file out and do something about it. In the meantime, my unconscious mind is processing possibilities.
I’m not suggesting you don’t plan at all – I tend to have an idea of what I would like to be doing within the next 6 months, and a vague idea beyond that. As long as you have a general direction to head in (which is all a goal is, really), then you can keep asking yourself: “am I moving toward that goal or away from it”.
Or, better still, “am I enjoying what I’m doing, and can I see a purpose in doing it?”
If your goal is to have a big house or a fancy car, you can easily tell whether what you’re doing is moving you in the right direction. If, like me, your “goal” is to enjoy your life, no matter what, it hardly matters what direction you find yourself attracted to.
Enjoy the ride
As long as you’re enjoying the ride – or, at the very least, as long as your life doesn’t totally “suck” – then you’re on the right track. There will be times when it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, such as when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and descended into depression and debt.
Even then, my general attitude was optimistic. I still managed to find joy in small things, like the sun shining, watching people going about their daily lives, or singing in the band.
Some people have said to me “I can’t stand people like you, who expect us to feel positive all the time.” Well, I’m not positive all the time, and I don’t expect anyone else to be – but I can’t help but wondering: what’s the alternative?
If you imagine the worst, and the worst happens, then congratulations for being right! However, if you imagine the worst, and it DOESN’T happen – then you’ve wasted part of your amazing life worrying about nothing.
So STOP IT!! 🙂
Keep moving forward. Keep trying things. Keep checking that you’re generally happy. Stop feeling you have to have all the answers – that you need to know exactly where you’re heading.
Embrace the fact that Life is a journey, not a destination!
If you’d like me to help you work out how to make the most of what is currently available to you, and to find more joy in your life, please get in touch via the Contact form.