At the beginning of the year, I read Mark Manson’s Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (which I highly recommend by the way). In it, he shares his story about wanting to be a rockstar but later realising that he was only in love with the idea of being a rockstar. He wasn’t in love with the endless hours of practice, playing in empty, sweaty bars, and sleeping on dirty couches that it would take to get there.
The biggest bands and artists aren’t in love with the destination of being famous or rich. They’re in love with music. And they’re in love with the process of making music. Practicing, learning, and getting better.
We’re often so married to, so blindingly in love with the outcome that we forget it’s not even about that. It’s about who we have to grow into as a person to get there. And chances are by the time you do get there, you will have a different destination anyway.
Charles and his triangle
When I was studying at art college we had a lecturer named Charles. I’ll never forget the day he showed us his art. One piece, in particular, was a massive triangle sketched in charcoal. He told us about the incredible artistic journey and endless hours that went into this artwork. I remember muffled laughter and sniggering. It was a triangle. A triangle. How difficult could it possibly have been to get to that?!
We often joked about Charles and his triangle for years afterwards. The depth of what he was telling us lost on our young ears and immature minds.
Only now on reflection do I realize the importance of what he was trying to tell me that day. The journey is everything. Not the outcome. The growth he had experienced as an artist during his process far outweighed the final artifact. It was a life lesson that I was too ignorant to digest. I get it now. Thanks Charles.
Buzz Aldrin fell into a deep depression after returning home from the first moon landing (again with the moon, Martin?). What do you do after reaching the pinnacle of your life’s work? I can only imagine the blood, sweat and literal tears that went into the training and preparation for a task as monumental as that.
And then you return… and… nothing. Nothing can compare to that experience. No event or moment in his life could even come close. How important could a kid’s party be when you’ve just returned from the Moon?
And so it applies to every huge goal that we aim for in life. We often arrive there (assuming we do make it), and enjoy it for a moment, only to find we now want the next thing. But to enjoy the journey? That’s far more rewarding. Because the reward isn’t a once-off. It’s ongoing and limitless.
Fall in love with the problem, not the solution
The same applies to business. If you are on a journey to any goal, then every step you take is one closer than yesterday. Be enamoured with the idea that it will never be perfect. You may never even get there. You’ll always be tweaking and adjusting. Always be refining and sharpening. But you’ll be learning and growing.
Fall in love with the journey. And see who you become on your way there… it may astound you and send you in a different direction anyway.