The Virtue is in the Journey, Not in the Prize
Loyal readers of this blog know I’m retired, that this writing and speaking life I’ve chosen is my retirement career; I’m not doing it to put food on the table or pay the bills. Now, earning money is, at the very least, a byproduct of any business endeavor, so I figure that’s going to happen, but it’s not my focus, it’s not my purpose. Still, I’m often asked: “What will you do if Selling Fearlessly doesn’t sell the way you hope it will, if your retirement career doesn’t fly as high as you want it to?” Some of them sound sincerely worried about me, which usually brings a smile to my face.
This is what I tell them: At this stage of my life, I’m here to smell the roses and walk the path I’ve chosen regardless of success or failure—a path to give back by helping others, and in doing so, remain relevant. I want to stay in the arena; I want to keep making a difference; I want to be challenged every day of my life right up until the last day. “Success” as most people think of it is irrelevant to me at this point. No matter what happens, I’m going to wind up at the same place. And because of that I want to enjoy the “struggle” (challenge); the prize is something I want, of course, but garnering it is meaningless in the sense that it isn’t going to change the outcome—it isn’t going to change where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing next.
Whether I sell a million books or ten books, I’m going to wind up in the same place—beginning another book, a novel this time. I’ll be right back at the starting line; and that’s where I’m going to be when it’s time to begin the third book, and so on and so forth—right up until I take my last breath. There’s always going to be another project to begin, regardless of success or failure. So…as I’ve been told to do all my life (it’s taken me a while to “get it”), I plan on enjoying the journey and not concern myself about the prize. That’s where the virtue is, my friends—in the journey, not in the prize. You’re here to enjoy yourself; you’re here to have a good time.
Is that easier for a 68-year-old retired guy to grasp than a younger person who has a family to support? Of course it is; I know that. Still, I want you to do your best to grasp on to this principle. I wish I could have done a better job of that when I was your age; I’d have been a lot happier and so much better off. There’s so much about the journey I took to get here that I couldn’t tell you about because I was oblivious, because all I could think about was the prize. I want you to be smarter than I was. I want you to focus on the journey—to appreciate it, to enjoy it. If you’re capable of doing that, believe me, the prize will be even sweeter for you, to say nothing about how much more peaceful and joyful your life will be.
You might want to frame this quotation from Kahlil Gibran: “The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but what in he longs to attain.”
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