Recently I read a book titled The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar. I do not wish to give the book any undue credit because at best it can be described as a very mediocre piece of work but there is an interesting term which the author alludes to as the “Deferred Life Plan”. Mr. Komisar contends that most people divide their lives into two distinct parts:
Step One: Do what you have to do.
Step two: Do what you want to do.
We hear different variations of this theme from childhood: Walk before you run. Work during the weekdays to enjoy the weekend. Desert is the reward for finishing your main course. And then when we grow up to be adults, in the prime of our lives we are told to work hard and ensure financial security so that we can enjoy a comfortable retirement. This notion of living for the future is one of the great travesties of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is often given credit for the cliché, “Life is a journey, not a destination”. In fact Emerson never wrote those exact words. What he did write was:
“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The unfortunate truth is that most people become victims of the Deferred Life Plan. When I graduate, when I get a job, when I get married, when I get promoted—-. Lost in this never-ending quest to reach our destination, life passes by and we miss out on the real purpose of life which is to enjoy the journey. There is nothing wrong with setting goals but they should not be the destination; they should just be our guideposts to help us along our journey. Most people become so obsessed with the goal (destination) that they forget to focus on the journey when in fact the journey should in itself be the destination. Living with the desperation to reach the destination strips us of the joy of “now”. The joy of smelling the flowers; the joy of gazing with curiosity in a moonlit night; the joy of spending precious moments with loved ones without looking at the watch. Even life’s moments of despair and heartache are a part of the script of life. Everything that happens in our life happens for a reason and sometimes that means we must face the heartaches in order to experience joy. Life would be incomplete without those chapters.
We all have goals. Success is in falling in love with the journey of achieving the goals. Fear is the opposite of this love. Fear of failure prevents people to embark on the journey. They are left with hollow goals which are never achieved because they never dared to embark on the journey.Remaining in one’s safe cocoon, being fearful of the unknown, not undertaking the journey are some of the surefire ways to stunt one’s growth and damage one’s self confidence. We need to embrace and celebrate our present. Make the most of it while steadfastly advancing towards our set goal. Waking up each morning to make today a glorious chapter in our journey of life. The naysayers will always be there to fan the fears. They are to be ignored. We fight our own battles. We decide our own destiny. In the journey of life sometimes we fall. We get hurt and wounded but it is the scars from these wounds that make us fearless.
“Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is more important than the outcome.” Arthur Ashe.