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Lately, I have been going through a lot, both at professional and personal level.
So, I took the recent break to re-read a book that guided me when I was seriously thinking about working on myself and my self development few years ago – Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman.
Previously, the book helped me to change the way I saw the world and my life. It was an easy and fun read (the author does humor well). It’s not a step by step book, its not a book that tells you how you should do it – instead it guides you in asking the right questions and to look inside yourself. It teaches you to reflect on what you should for you.
The second time around with the book, I found the answer I was looking for through a conversation between Socrates and an arrogant yet talented college kid, Dan.
It’s a part where both are hiking up a big mountain as Socrates has promised Dan that a great surprise is waiting for them at the top. Dan (who loves to get better at his own craft) gets excited on the way – he sings, laughs and spend hours climbing the mountain expecting a big reward.
Dan: Hey, please tell me we’re getting a little closer. Come on, Soc, it’s been three hours, man.
After a bit of hiking, they stop. There’s nothing special around them.
Socrates: Now, we’re here.
Dan: We’re where?
Socrates: At what I came to show you.
Dan: What, the view?
Socrates: There, next to your foot.
Dan: The flower?
Dan: Better not be.
Socrates looks around and kicks a rock that’s laying on the ground.
Socrates: The rock.
Dan: There’s something special about the rock? (Dan is definitely annoyed)
Socrates: Something wrong?
Dan: Come on, Soc! This is what I was finally ready to see?
Socrates: Well, the whole trip up here, you were excited, you were happy.
Dan: Yeah, because I thought I was gonna see something!
Socrates: You were like a kid on Christmas morning. You said so yourself. The whole trip up here, it made you feel good.
Dan: Because for the past three hours I’ve been waiting to see this wonderful thing.
Socrates: Well, what changed?
Dan: That there’s nothing here but this rock!
Dan is really disappointed and pissed that he didn’t find anything ‘worthy’ at the top.
Socrates: I probably should have told you that before we left, huh? But I guess, I wasn’t sure what we’d find, either. Never am. Sorry you’re not happy anymore.
Saying that, Socrates starts to walk down from the top. Dan looks around and says:
Dan: The journey.
Socrates looks back.
Dan: The journey’s what brings us happiness not the destination.
Socrates smiles at Dan with the ‘proud dad’ grin.
The book helped me to put a new perspective what’s happening in my own life. Things are looking hard because I am concentrating on the destination. I have to reframe my attention to the the journey instead of the destination to enjoy it. Again, the book helped in what I should do, but not how.
The principle here is to realize that the journey to the goal, not the goal itself, is usually the most exciting and rewarding. This is especially hard if you are addicted to success and enjoy being an overachiever. If you are reading Dconstrct, I am sure you are on the same page too.
I spent the rest of the two day break figuring out the how to reframe my mind set. I set out all my goals and committed to reach it with the best I have. But this time around, I am committed to also taking more time to enjoy the journey. I also decided to set the journey as the priority instead of the speed at which I reach the destination.
I know where our dreams take us, there’s going to be a lot of rocks at the top. Don’t miss the journey at the expense of being tunnel visioned by the destination.
There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path.
There is no path to love, love is the path.
There is no path to peace, peace is the path.