FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY AND NOT THE DESTINATION

Life is a continuous journey filled with different kinds of goals set out to be achieved. Goals such as having a degree, getting a job, completing a project, getting married, making money and so on but then, the journey never ends. When one goal is achieved, another resurfaces and so on making life an unending journey. Take a moment and think about your life and ask yourself if you have arrived at your destination in life yet. Have you achieved every goal you set out to achieve? Have you been able to complete that which you intend completing? Have you been been able to hit that target in your savings? Have you been able to travel to all the places you dreamed of traveling to? I bet the answer is NO. While we are appreciative and grateful to God for how far we have come in life, we still know and recognize some other things we are yet to achieve as life takes us through its journey. We usually think the goal is everything but its not, it's the journey that matters most. The goal is not what we start and achieve immediately but the journey is started immediately with baby steps towards achieving the goal. The journey we embark on in life as we strive to achieve those set goals, is not to be taken for granted cause in it are vital benefits derived. Sometimes, we end up not achieving a particular goal set and other times, the journey takes longer than expected but what we do(the journey) in trying to achieve that goal impacts our lives in ways we least expect or never expected.






We get so busy focusing on the goals or on the big milestone forgetting basic details in the process of achieving them. You see, when a goal is set, the steps you take towards achieving the set goal is the journey. For instance, When you want to embark on a long journey especially by road, all you think of is to get to your destination as quick as possible but then, the first step you take is booking for  the journey, then you pay the fare, get into the vehicle and  along the way, so many things happen. You meet and make new friends, you see new cities and their uniqueness, sometimes, there are delays on the way as a result of one thing or the other arousing impatience in you yet building tolerance, patience  and a heart of gratitude in you at the end of that journey.  So it is in our lives's journeys. When we focus more on the goal (destination) and not the journey, we miss out on vital experiences, relationships, skills, lessons to be learnt, values such as patience, gratitude, strength, courage, confidence, endurance, growth and personal development are missed when we only focus on the goal. It's great to have dreams, goals and ambitions and it's very possible to achieve those dreams aligning your focus and the dreams but what you do to achieve those dreams, goals and ambitions, it's in the journey and in this journey are vital experiences, lessons and benefits to be gained.

When in a journey towards achieving a set goal, so many vices, trials, challenges and temptations are encountered along the way. Sometimes it's temptations to take a shortcut towards achieving your goals, sometimes it's the loss of a loved one, money or a job trying to weigh us down, sometimes it is rejections and abandonment and other times it is failed relationships you expected to lead to marriage but in all these keep a good character and be of your best behavior. These things make you much stronger and wiser in life, they help build and instill in you precious values that take you far in life. Some journeys are delayed or slowed down as a result of the challenges encountered and some goals set are not even met but in all maintain a good character and never trade your values for anything. Sometimes, the goal is to get married at a particular point in life or year but it seems the journey ( relationships, finances, etc) towards achieving that goal seems futile but then when you look beyond the goal of getting married and focus on the journey (the relationship you are in), then you would realize the benefits or knowledge gained.  First off, you get to realize not everyone is what you think of them and as a result, you adjust your expectations of people. You would also realize that whether the relationship leads to marriage or not (for reasons known or unknown to you), you now know better how to handle your emotions in your relationships, if the relationship fails, you know better what to look for in a partner, your faith in God increases, your confidence is increased, you develop courage to face future storms that may arise in your present or future relationship above all, you depend on God for a better partner and relationship. Sometimes, the other person leaves for reasons unknown to you making you feel rejected and dejected like there is something wrong with you or that you are not good enough. This doesn't make the other person a bad or awful person. Some relationships are just not meant to be and some persons are not meant to be in your life. With time you get to appreciate God that it never worked out and when you look inward and see your values, potentials and the grace you carry, then you develop courage and strength to move on. While this goal of marriage is yet to be achieved, enjoy the journey so far towards achieving that goal, move on with other goals in life, get some new skills, develop your talents or gifts, meet new people and travel to places. All these enable you gain some experiences in life and these experiences build up your character, your faith, gives your courage to hold on and move on, gives you unusual strength to carry on and to face similar challenges in the future. In all these focus on and enjoy the journey.



Your goal could also be to lose some weight but the journey to embark on involves you watching what you eat and engaging in some exercises but as time goes on, if you focus on the journey, you would realize that other benefits are gained as you exercise which include improving on your stamina, developing core nerves, improving your strength and overall improve your health and wellbeing. Focusing on the goal of just losing weight and not on the journey might make you miss out on the aforementioned benefits above.

Joseph in the Bible had a dream that he was going to be a ruler and people including his family members would bow to him someday but in his journey towards achieving that goal, he came across so many challenges that first started from his household when his brothers sold him into slavery, he was seduced by potiphar's wife but did not succumb then accused falsely by same woman of attempted rape and thrown into the prison yet in all these and even in the prison he kept on a good character and his integrity was intact. The dream seemed like forever to be achieved but he learned valuable lessons along the way such as perseverance, forgiveness, patience, strength, courage, gratitude, leadership and so on and at the end, became one the finest leaders of his time.

The prodigal son had a dream of inheriting his father's wealth someday but could not wait long enough to achieve that dream and so he took a shortcut in his journey towards achieving his goal and then requested his father gives him his portion of inheritance but squandered all he had in a twinkle of an eye. His happiness, his success and finances were short-lived. You see, when you focus solely on just achieving your goal and not the journey, it is very impossible to achieve success at the highest level. You might experience success at first for sure, but it will be short-lived.



When I first gained admission into the university, I initially was taking night bus, which is usually about 13-14 hrs from my state of origin to the state where I gained admission (Rivers state - Plateau State). In some of these journeys, the drivers sometimes delay the journey for unknown reasons, sometimes, the vehicles break down on the road, sometimes it is traffic jam holding us back and other times, it is the bad roads encountered but in most of these delays, we got to realize that, robbery attacks took place on some routes we were to follow and seeing traces left by the robbery attacks, without being told, one becomes grateful to God for the delays encountered on the road. If not for those delays, one would have fallen right into the hands of these robbers. Sometimes, it's terrible accidents seen on vehicles that overtook us on the way that we had initially envied the passengers in the vehicle overtaking us.

Life has taught me to be appreciative of every event that takes place in my life be it delays, disappointments, failures or rejection. For every perceived negative event in my life, the mantra I use always is "There is a reason for everything" and yours truly, there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives and blessings in every disappointment at the end of it all when we look inward and closely, creating in us hearts of gratitude.


WAYS TO FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY AND NOT JUST ON THE GOAL

1. WRITE MEANINGFUL GOALS : Write down specific, meaningful and measurable goals that can be achieved. Do not pursue so many goals at a time. One goal achieved for the year is far better than too many goals set and none achieved. Your goals should be meaning as in make lots of sense to you as well. If your set goal doesn't make sense to you, you will get weary along the way and either give up or throw in the towel. Setting meaningful goals that make lots of sense to you enables you enjoy the journey and not struggle for it or do things for the wrong reasons.



2. WRITE DOWN STEPS : Most of us set goals and want to achieve them immediately. We live in a fast paced world where almost everyone wants everything done in a giffy. we want wealth  now, happiness now, marriage now, success now, love by magic and so on. Patience is now a virtue difficult to come by. people especially youths are no longer patient enough to take the steps leading to success but would rather want to take a shortcuts and that is why so some of our youths are involved in so many and different social vices. No step is insignificant, too big or too small. Start with baby steps. Taking baby steps may be the simplest thing to do yet the most strategic thing to do. Some people get scared of taking the first step and give up on their dreams cause the dreams and goals set seem too big and overwhelming. Break your goals or objectives into smaller goals or sizes. Identify little steps to take each day towards achieving your goals. Want to have a degree? Then you must take a course, study, write exams and pass your exams at every stage of your pursuit. Want to have a successful career? Improve your skills and develop yourself. Want to lose some weight? Start cutting out some unhealthy foods and exercise daily. Want a successful relationship/marriage? work on yourself and study books in that regard.

3. CELEBRATE YOUR LITTLE WINS : Every successful step taken at every point of your journey should be celebrated. Never see any successful step as insignificant. Celebrating your little wins boosts your confidence, gives you hope, gives you a heart of gratitude, boosts your faith in God and then gives you the courage to go on.

4. DEVELOP A HEART OF GRATITUDE : While you are on a journey towards achieving a set goal, develop a heart of gratitude. Take your eyes of the goal you are pursuing and be grateful to God for the things you have and achieved so far in life. This enables you focus on the journey more than on the destination. If you just take a moment to pause and sit down to reflect on your life, you would see you have so many reasons to be grateful in life for and if you feel you have no reason to be grateful for, then the mere fact that you are alive is enough reason to be grateful to God for. Like they say "When there is life, there is hope".



5. BE A HELPER : While on your journey, be a contributor and a helper to anyone in need of your help along the way. For as long as you can assist and have the means to, then by all means be of help to those trying to achieve their goals. Money is not just the only thing you can give or contribute to someone, your time is most valuable. Don't just have your eyes fixated on your own goals that you ignore people you meet along the way. One single help rendered in any form to anyone can take you to your goals. Rendering services of any kind to anyone, enables you work more on your life's purpose, creates room for abundance in your life and gives you a life of fulfillment.

6. MANAGE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY : Learn to make good use of your time effectively. Time is the most precious gift we have. We all have 24 hours in a day and what you do with your time, will determine your success in life. Don't waste your time doing unmeaningful things. Don't sleep when you are suppose to be working, don't go partying when you are suppose to be strategizing, don't sit idle when your are suppose to be calculating your moves. One way not to waste your time is by writing steps to be taken each day and at what time. Also take inventory of all your activities for the week. Taking inventory gives you a clue of time wasted or of time used wisely.

7. TAKE TIME TO REST AND EXERCISE : No matter how important your goal might be, take time to rest, breathe and exercise. Your brain needs rest to refresh and function properly. Exercise your muscles also.. Exercising helps you free your mind, eliminates toxins from your body and mind, gives you room to breathe just fine, helps concentrate and focus your mind on the task at hand and the journey ahead, gives you strength to continue and enjoy the journey. When on a long journey especially by road, the drivers usually stop after a while to let passengers stretch their legs in order to be able to continue the journey, so it is in life's journey. When tracking and managing your time, ensure to fix in time to rest and exercise.



It's great to focus on the destination but more important is to be happy here and now focusing on the journey. With self-discipline, you will realize that things don't happen overnight but success comes by those little secret steps we take daily. Improving on your daily habits and taking simple little steps daily takes you closer to your goals or destination and this enables you not to lose sight of the journey. When it's all about the journey and not just the goal then you can take it all in (the experience and the achievement of the goal) but when your focus is just on the goal, you miss out on the experience.



Quote for the day - "Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination". - Drake

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