Are You Enjoying the Journey?

Joy’s soul lies in the doing. — Shakespeare

I’ve been exploring how to experience joy with coaching clients and leaders in my courses.

It’s not the destination but the journey. No doubt you’ve heard this cliché. However, it is scientifically supported. In the book The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt explores the “progress principle.” He concludes that we get more pleasure and satisfaction from progressing toward our goals than actually achieving them.

Many of us have experienced the treadmill of pursuing goals relentlessly. Whether striving for a promotion, gaining acceptance into a prestigious college, completing a challenging project, or buying a house, we often anticipate achieving these objectives will lead to lasting happiness. However, we soon discover that the pleasure we expected quickly fades, and we’re back on the treadmill, pursuing the next goal. It can feel like the mythological Sisyphus endlessly pushing a boulder up a hill.

Happiness researchers like Iris Mauss conclude that those who relentlessly pursue happiness as their end goal often experience less satisfaction than those who savor the journey. Rather than chase happiness, we need to embody practices that support us in experiencing joy in the process of living.

Rather than focus externally, it is helpful to appreciate our innate sense of JOYBeing–the simple joy of being alive that we can connect with throughout our days and life’s journey. Shifting our focus to enjoying our days and working toward our goals can be transformative. We can experience joy in many moments, even in the face of challenges, by seeking opportunities for learning and growth.

Making the conscious choice to shift our perspective and prioritize JOYBeing as we journey through life is a practice and habit that can be cultivated. By doing so, we enhance our wellbeing and discover that the journey itself is a destination worth celebrating. So, why wait to reach the summit when we can find joy in every step of the climb?

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