May 1, 2021

The Journey Is The Destination

This is the thirteenth in a series of short essays I wrote as part of the Ship 30 for 30 program. You can read all thirty essays here.

When I was at University, a friend showed me a book by photojournalist Dan Eldon called The Journey Is The Destination. My 19-year-old self had never come across the idea behind the title before, but it immediately resonated with me.

Often when I am deciding whether to commit to something, or I feel like quitting a project, I remind myself of that phrase. It helps me understand what I will get out of doing something.

Our culture applauds achievement, and many people measure their worth and the worth of others by their accomplishments, accolades and accumulated titles. But the most profound accomplishments rarely come with a tangible trophy.

Have you noticed that the initial sense of achievement you get when you win something, be it a business pitch, qualification, or competition, is fleeting? The elation you feel is nice, but it soon fades. In its place, however, you find something much longer-lasting; personal growth.

If you compare who you were before you started your journey to who you are now, you will invariably see some form of personal development. The personal progress you experience as a result of doing the work required to win an accolade is where the true value lies. It can never be taken away from you, and you can continue to build on it.

But here’s a funny thing. Even if you don’t win the award or get the outcome you wanted, you still experience that same growth. The goal you thought you were chasing was never the most important thing. It was merely a forcing function to get you to challenge yourself and level up as a result.

That is why the journey, not the goal, is the destination. Remind yourself of this next time you think you fell short of the mark.