Enjoy the Journey!By
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. . . . The thrill of possibility. . . .” Seth Godin.
Ok, I admit it, I’m a type A, goal-focused personality. I always have a list of things to accomplish and feel most comfortable checking them off. Not the best personality for enjoying the journey. I can become so engrossed accomplishing my goals I sometimes forget to just enjoy the moments. I look back with a sense of satisfaction at all I’ve achieved. Yet also long for the wasted days I spent focused only on tomorrow. Often I don’t enjoy the journey enough. And accomplishing one more goal is great but sometimes empty because there are always more.
My wife is the contrast and a great counterbalance to me. She is one of the most joyful persons I’ve ever known. She enjoys each day, goes with the flow much better than I. And where ever the flow drifts she enjoys it. If a person needs a song in their heart to be happy, she has a song on her lips continually. In fact, we kid her, no matter what the situation she has a song for it—and sings it, thankfully beautifully.
She enjoys the journey and yes she accomplishes what she needs to but with a lot less stress. We compliment each other well. And I’m learning to enjoy each day instead of being so focused on the destination.
Unhappiness is epidemic in our society. We live in the most affluent country in history. Our poor have far more than the middle income in many other countries. Our average household income is multiples of the average of most other people. Yet universities churn out psychology therapists by the thousands each year. There are web sites devoted to helping people discover happiness. Even economists have created an index called the “Misery Index” to quantify unhappiness. It helped Jimmy Carter get elected president and then bit him in his bid to be reelected.
What’s wrong? Why so much unhappiness? How do we counteract this?
The bible says, ”This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 119:24, NIV)
And it goes on, “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15: 15, NLT)
The cure? Choosing joy.
Yet our choice is either despondency or happiness. We’ll either enjoy the journey or always delay our enjoyment until we accomplish one more thing. We’ll have a continual holiday or always be waiting for some future event.
Every day we have a choice to make. Are we going to live this day with joy or despair? Will we focus on what we have or what we still want? Are we going to trust God has made this day and made it perfectly for us or it’s a disaster waiting to happen? The answers to those questions will impact your joy tremendously.
You may be thinking, “But you don’t know my problems. You don’t know what I’m facing.”
That’s true. You may be facing severe problems. And you may not have a choice about your circumstances. But you do have a choice about how you face them.
How do we do this? A few ideas.
First, choose to act joyful even when you don’t feel it. Put a smile on your face. Laugh. Joke. Bring joy to someone else. In fact bring joy to everyone you meet. One word of caution though, break this in on your spouse slowly so they don’t go into shock.
Second, sing. If you’re not that good restrict it to when you’re alone so you don’t ruin someone else’s day. Find positive uplifting music and sing along with it. Good hymns and choruses are great for filling your mind with encouraging words and pleasant music. Music is hugely therapeutic and those positive messages repeated over and over will sparkle your outlook. Oh, and by the way, knock off the depressing “life sucks” music that’s so prevalent. When you pound that message into your brain hour after hour it will have a devastating effect on your happiness.
Third, thank God every morning for the new day filled with possibilities. Thank him for what he has already given you and what he will do today. Thank him in advance for the blessings he has in store for you. Facing a difficult day? Thank him that he is guiding you in the midst of it.
Fourth, trust God has created this day especially for you. It may be filled with challenges but he has created it perfectly. He wants to bless you in it so rejoice in anticipation of those blessings.
What happens when you rejoice and act joyfully? Here’s a brief list. Add others to it as you discover them.
- Better health
- A better marriage
- More friends
- Greater success at work
- Financial success
- Overcoming your problems
Let’s see—pretty much covers most of the things people worry and get depressed about. Takes care of most of your needs.
Try it. See how it works. Let me know what you find.
Enjoy the journey! It’s not just about the destination.
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Douglas Armey, the LPL Financial adviser associated with this website, practices in Fresno, California and may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the following states: California, Idaho and Oregon.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results.