Posted by: Dr. G | 13-March-2010

Life Is a Journey! Where Do You Want to Go…?

When I was a child, terms like finding purpose in life, self development, or fulfillment were not as popular as they are today. My parents grew up in the atrocities of world war II, and I assume their lives were shaped by needs for survival rather than spending their time thinking about fulfillment.

Look at all the books, seminars and self-proclaimed “motivators” that have emerged over say the last two decades: do you think the search for destiny is just a temporary fashion of modern society?

Personally, I am convinced that taking control of your life and following your way is THE key for improving the quality of your life, living a happier life, and ultimately fulfillment.

And in theory it’s quite simple. Life is nothing but a journey.

Have you ever gone on a looong trip? Whether you were traveling by car, plane, bicycle, or just walk, first of all you would decide where you wanted to go, wouldn’t you? Seldom would you just pack your things and walk out the door without any plan.

If you don’t know where you want to go, then you’ll end up like Alice in Wonderland asking the cat:  “would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to

Alice: I don’t much care where.

The Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.

Does that tell you anything?

If you want to take control of your life, you’d better know where you want to go. Otherwise you will follow where other people want you to go, or where “the circumstances” lead you. Would you like that? I surely wouldn’t.

The next thing you would do is to identify way-points you don’t want to miss on your trip: major cities, sights, places where friends live etc.

From there, you would break down your long trip into smaller etappes which are realistically achievable each day. Every evening, you would check how far you had come compared to your plan. If something held you up, you may have to get up earlier the next day to catch up with the plan. Or you could take it easy, if you got farther than expected because maybe there was not much traffic on the road.

You would also reconsider if your planning was realistic, and you would adjust your plan from time to time. And of course you would make sure you get enough rest.

Most of all, reaching the destination would not be the only thing on your mind. You’d make sure to be enjoying the trip all along the way.

It’s actually quite simple to apply all this to improve your quality in life, to take control, and live a happier life:

  1. Define where you want to go, your destination, your purpose in life.
  2. Write down milestones; what you need to do in what time, where you want/need to be when.
  3. Break it down into daily, weekly, or monthly targets. Monitor this closely,  and adjust yourself accordingly.
  4. Remain flexible. If anything (or anyone) gets in your way, find alternative routes.
  5. Don’t get obsessed with it. Don’t beat yourself up if things are not progressing at your desired speed.
    Take rests regularly and most of all, open your eyes to enjoy all the beauty along your way.

Oh, from time to may want to reassure yourself that the destination is truly yours 😉

Have an exciting journey and share your experience with me!

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Responses

  1. I really enjoyed how you wrote your article and that you added the picture. I truly want to go down a memorable path. At times in my life I have walked the average path and have had to backtrack and head down the memorable path. I agree that you need to have an idea of where you want to go and you also need to really believe you can get there.
    Thanks for your insightful blog!
    Charlene

  2. Charlene,

    Thanks for the very nice comment.

    Good that you have taken the decision to take the memorable path!

    However – if I may add – you will have more drive if you have a VISION of your goal rather than an “idea” of where you want to go 😉

    Enyoy,

    G.

  3. Gerrit, this is perfect. I will learn how to keep up on your activities. Right now Bob is the expert. I will make sure he reads this. GREAT JOB!

  4. Sometimes the desired goal can be an illusion and one should make sure it is worth the while.

    Meanwhile, what one has is not necessarily bad. It is undesirable because the person does not learn to value it.

    What is your take of this perspective of life?

    • Very valid points, TW! Thank you for that.

      1) “Sometimes the desired goal can be an illusion and one should make sure it is worth the while.”

      In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey puts it so nicely by saying that some people put all their energy in climbing the ladder of success as quickly as possible – only to find out that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall once they reach the top!

      Thus, to find true happiness and fulfillment in life, it is absolutely essential to define your goals in alignment with your personal values and beliefs. You have to make sure that the goal is what you truly desire for yourself; otherwise you will find yourself running into the wrong direction.

      It is vital to probe whether you are following your own direction, or if you are trying to fulfill the expectations of others – family members, bosses, society…

      Even more important is to enjoy the journey along the way. What value would it be to pursue a goal like crazy without taking pleasure in every day?

      2) “Meanwhile, what one has is not necessarily bad. It is undesirable because the person does not learn to value it.”

      Absolutely! Being grateful for all the wonderful things we already have in our lives and acknowledging ourselves for our achievements (also the small ones) is a key to happiness.

      It is a tragedy of today’s consumer society that many people are never satisfied with what they have. I have recently read a nice article in “Psychology Today”; the author gets to the heart of it stating: “if perfection is what you expect, you will always be disappointed […] we become picky and unhappy”

      Have a great day and enjoy life!


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