“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” — Greg Anderson
There was a time in my life when I didn’t focus on the journey. Instead, I was fixated on the destination. I worked and toiled tirelessly to reach my goals and fulfill my dreams. But, somewhere along the way, I got lost. Not only did I lose sight of my underlying mission, but I elevated the need and the desire for money and status above all else. That was part of my undoing.
Obviously, that lifestyle isn’t sustainable for very long. And, as a result, I experienced an earth-shattering failure. Catastrophic in every way, shape and form, it altered every cell and fiber in my body, mind and spirit. In the wake of that storm, things changed. I started focusing on the journey rather than the destination. It wasn’t about the final outcome anymore, it was about adding real value along the way.
You see, when you focus solely on trying to achieve, especially at the expense of others, it’s impossible to succeed at the highest level. Sure, you could taste some success. That much is certain. But it will be short-lived. It won’t last that long. It will come and go like the winds of change, blowing and gusting one moment, then dying down another.
Like me, you’ve probably experienced your own bouts with failure. You’ve probably lived through the proverbial storms in your life. Maybe you’re going through it now. If you are, my heart goes out to you. Just understand that there’s no way around it. You have to actually go through it.
5 Ways To Focus On The Journey
Years ago, when my life hit rock bottom, I was left with nothing. Everything was gone. My life disintegrated and imploded upon itself. It was the absolute worst possible experience going through it at the time. In fact, not only did I have no hope left at all, I seriously considered putting myself out of my own misery for good. Yes. It was THAT bad.
However, looking back on that time now, I would never take it back. I would never rewind the clock and do it over. I’ve grown by leaps and bounds as a human because of that situation. But I’ve also realized that as I was striving so steadfastly towards my hopes and dreams and aspirations, that the purpose of it all was not about the journey. It was solely about the destination. Clearly, I was doing it all wrong.
But the truth is that as human beings, we are all hardwired to want things. We call it shiny-object syndrome. There’s a constant necessity and desire towards accumulating things. This Hedonic Treadmill is constant and never ending. It goes on and on forever. The worst part? We want to keep up with the so-called Joneses. And that keeps us pushing and striving forward.
So why can’t we stop? Why this incessant need to accumulate and kill ourselves trying to reach big goals? Today, this is more prevalent than ever. Thanks in large part due to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, a bright light is shone on all the success out there in the world. And truth be told, we do it for the Gram more than anything else.
Of course, there are ways you can focus on the journey rather than the destination. But it’ll take some serious discipline. It’ll take some digging and soul-searching as well. Now, while we can probably located dozens of ways to concentrate on the journey, these 5 are crucial to help you find solace in what you’re doing in life.
1. Set meaningful goals
When I was with Dean Graziosi and Joe Polish at their 100k Group, which is a $100,000 mastermind designed for the top entrepreneurs in the world, Graziosi brought in a man named Joe Stumpf. Stumpf came up with something he called 7-layers deep, which he did an inspiring presentation on.
In fact, when Graziosi sent me his book, Millionaire Success Habits, to review when I was writing an article on the how to get rich, I came across Stumpf in there as well. If you don’t know Stumpf, then you should. He’s an inspiring individual. And his 7-layers deep exercise will help you find the real meaning to associate with the attainment of your goals.
And that is very powerful. Your goals have to be meaningful. Yes they have to be specific and measurable and time-bound, and so on, but they also have to be very meaningful. If you want to focus on the journey and not the destination, then you absolutely must set meaningful goals. That’s imperative. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself doing things for the wrong reasons.
Plus, when you don’t set meaningful goals, you’re far more likely to give up. You’re more likely to throw in the towel and call it quits. Why? Because it doesn’t have a deep-rooted meaning to you. Why would you struggle so hard to achieve something that, at the end of the day, doesn’t mean that much to you? The truth is you wouldn’t. And you won’t.
2. Write a gratitude list
It’s easy to want things. We always want. The latest and greatest shiny object is what we lust after. But why is that after we’ve attained said object, we don’t want it anymore? That’s because it’s human nature to want what we cannot have. We’ve always wanted what we couldn’t have. For whatever reason that’s just the fact of the matter.
However, if you’re serious about focusing on the journey, you have to be grateful for what you have right now. Because, the truth is that what you have in your life right now was once something you wanted. Even if it’s not what you want today. In the past, it was something you sought out.
Something dramatic happens when you shift your focus and begin writing out the things that you’re grateful for that you have right now. If you say that you have nothing to be grateful for, then you’re not searching deep enough. You should be grateful for being six feet above ground because plenty people are not. You should be grateful for your limbs if you have them, for the ability to speak and read and write.
If you could sit down and think about it, you could be grateful for the heart beating inside your chest that’s keeping you alive. For the lungs that are processing oxygen and dispelling carbon monoxide every moment of every day. You could be grateful for your kidneys and your liver and your mind and the fact that you can reason and have logic.
3. Contribute to others
When we’re focused solely on the destination, not only do we ignore the journey, but we also find it hard to focus on anything but ourselves. Instead, when you shift your focus to one of contribution, you revel in the journey. You trust it implicitly. Why? Because by giving to others you’re sending a strong signal to your mind that there will always be more than enough.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have money to contribute. Well, contribute your time. And, even if you have very little money, donate a small portion of it. If you have $100 to your name, give $10 away. Sounds ludicrous. I know. But something dramatic shifts in the mind when you contribute. You send a powerful signal of abundance.
Of course, time is more valuable than money. If you don’t have money to give, give your time. What can you do to help others out? What skill set do you have? How can you help someone else that’s in need of your services? Ask yourself this question and you will find the answer.
By shifting the focus from your own needs and concentrating on the needs of others, you can also work more so on your life’s mission and purpose. That’s what’s truly important in life. There’s very little else that matters in this world than contribution. Yes, you must meet your own needs. But you also must come to the service of your fellow man, woman and child.
4. Exercise and breathe
Exercise is crucial in life. If you’re not exercising, you need to create the habit immediately. Exercise is one of the most beneficial habits that you can have. It gets the entire blood pumping and oxygen flowing into all your cells. It keeps your heart heathy and releases all sorts of good hormones like dopamine and serotonin into your system.
You should also breathe. There are plenty of exercises that help you focus on your breath. Yoga is one such example. Use Yoga to exercise if you’re looking for something less strenuous, but be sure to concentrate on your breathing. Simply getting out there into the world and staying active is a very important element to any person’s life, so don’t ignore it.
Exercise will also help you with eliminating toxins from your body and mind. It will help you concentrate and focus your mind on the task at hand. It will give you the strength and the ammunition to stop dwelling on the destination and start obsessing over the journey.
What type of exercise can you do and when should you do it? Lightly strenuous exercise of at least 15 minutes. And it should be done first thing in the morning. As soon as your feet hit the ground, you should be heading out to exercise. That will also anchor the habit into your mind and into your day.
5. Manage your time effectively
It’s easy to get dissuaded and lose sight of the journey when we squander our time. Then, when we’re scrambling to get stuff done we wonder why we’re so stressed out. If this defines your day for the most part then you need to institute an effective time management system so that you can stop worrying and start focusing.
The truth? Time is the most precious commodity that we all have. It’s also the greatest equalizer. No one person has more time than the other. It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are or how much money you have, we all have the same amount of time. Just 24 hours in a given day. That’s it. Nothing more.
However, how you manage the precious little time you do have says a lot about you. If you’re wasting it away on mindless pursuits, then you can’t expect to get ahead in life. Simple put, you can’t. Take inventory and stock of the time you have by doing an audit for a week of all the time you do spend and where it goes. When you look at this carefully, you might be surprised and shocked by the results.
I know this feeling very well because it’s very hard to stay supremely focused for an extended period. In fact, it’s very easy to lose focus. That’s especially true when you don’t have something meaningful driving you and fueling you forward every single day. But it’s important to do it if you’re serious about instilling discipline into your life.
With self-discipline comes an understanding that things will not happen overnight. Rather, it’s about the simple little secrets that you practice every single day that help to inch you closer and closer to your goals without having to obsess over them or lose sight of the journey along the way.