The Journey Is More Important Than The Destination
Positive psychology strives to help highly functioning people do even better. Metaphors
are one of its tools.
Have you ever heard someone say that something is “a journey, not a destination”? I suspect you
The metaphor is a useful one, but not always well understood, even by those that use it. I recently heard Esther
Hicks express it in a way that made the concept clear. See if thinking of it this way doesn't make it part of
your positive psychology tool kit.
Imagine you’re planning a vacation trip. You have a couple of weeks available and you’re looking forward to
traveling. You’ve spent months planning your trip – deciding where you want to go, some of the things you’d like to
do, just what you want to see, who you’ll go with and so forth.
You’ve had great fun planning the trip. You’re looking forward to it.
Now imagine it’s the night before you leave. You’re home looking over your itinerary. You see that you’re starting
from home, then leaving to go to your first destination. After a few days, you’re moving onto another great
place. Then another… And another…
So it continues until at the end you return... home.
When you notice that, do you say, “Oh, look. My final destination is home. I’m already there. I guess there’s no
point in leaving – I’ll just stay home and take 'vacation' off my to-do list.”
Of course you don’t. That’s absurd. When we’re taking a holiday trip, we realize we’re taking the trip for the
experiences we’ll have along the way, not simply to get from point A to point B. The final outcome isn’t as
important as the process.
Consider life that way – a journey whose purpose is growth through experience. As I’ve written about before
(It's Not What You Get, It's Who You Become That Matters), who we become in life
is more important than what we get. Postive psychology often reminds us of this.
I mention this because too often people see their life as a series of goals they need to achieve. They function
from the mistaken assumption that happiness, contentment and a purposeful life will flow from reaching their
Too often, they’re sorely disappointed.
Positive psychology has taken up the useful task trying to discover what does lead to a satisfying life. I’ll
discuss some of those findings in the future. For now, realize that your life consists of your moment-to-moment
experiences. By all means pick goals for yourself. Just be sure that on the way to the goal you enjoy the