The Journey Is The Reward

So here you are in a cave, you’re sweaty, dirty and scraped up but finally you see it. You see the chest that contains all your dreams and in a few more measly steps, it will be yours to open. Those years of circling the globe, long meetings and short bathroom breaks are finally going to pay off. You can finally enjoy yourself.. or so you think.

I don’t know whether to blame it on society, expectations or movies (Hi, Indiana Jones opening) but a theme I’ve noticed in myself and others is that there is always a delayed gratification that robs you of the present. It’s the thief that lives in us, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The actress wont be happy until she’s in a movie, then when she’s in one, she won’t be happy until she’s in a bigger one. A writer won’t be happy until he publishes a book and if it’s not a bestseller, then well fuck him; he must suck. The Athlete won’t be happy until he rips his gold medal from the ref’s cold, finely lotioned hands and blows his whistle to spite him. Umm… nevermind.

For years people will toil away at their craft, always comparing themselves to the world class performers and fail to acknowledge their journey and their small wins. This is a recipe for frustration and burnout.

As someone who has achieved a few things I’ve set off to do, spoiler alert, I’m gonna pop your darling dream balloon, the balloon you keep safe on your mental pedestal, locked away behind glass in a secret room of your secret spot; I’ll say waiting to feel happy or waiting to feel sense of achievement after you hit your goal is a bunch of bullshit. A big, steamy pile of bullshit, so big, that it would upset your eavesdropping, bored neighbor who after seeing said pile of shit, would promptly call the homeowners association because they are in fact, truly a bastard. But I digress. The truth is, that the feeling of accomplishment after hitting your goals is fleeting and doesn’t change you. You’re the same person only with something more to add to your resume. So what the fuck are you supposed to do?

Good Question, easy answer.

Enjoy the journey.

The truth is that the true reward is the journey. The reward is you get the opportunity to struggle for your dreams. It’s the day the day grind, the lonely, quiet hum of the morning that buzzes away in the background as you silently work. That’s the gift. That’s the reward. It’s you toiling away on your quest, it’s you being in the shit. It’s being IN the movie, not the END of the movie. It’s not the trophy, it’s the tread. It’s not walking into the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the tunnel itself. The journey will make you the person you’re going to be. It’s the fallback, the doubts, the insecurities that you overcome that make you appreciate the trip and be a more humble victor at the end.

As you work on your goals and feel a sense that you’re going nowhere fast, dare yourself to think this is where I’m supposed to be, and appreciate the struggle. I’ve always found that embracing whatever you’re doing is the mental trick anyone can do to motivate themselves.

There has always and will always be an inverse to every emotion. Doubt leads to clarity, hardship leads to leisure; your journey is a season, it makes sense to enjoy the whole process instead of only the harvest.

In my opinion, if I had to start my journey all over again, the advice I would give to myself is simple, I would focus on the journey you want to take, not the award you want to receive.


Please like, comment, share and tell me what you think. What do you think about the reward is the journey? What advice do you have when it comes to working on your goals? What are you working on now?

39 thoughts on “The Journey Is The Reward

    1. I agree. The journey is best. Writing something that makes you laugh as you write it. That feeling of struggling with your writing. Your satisfaction with your writing because you wrote it. Everything else is just frosting on the cake.

  1. I’m working on my edits/rewrites for a middle grade fiction book. And I would love to “enjoy the journey” except time is very limited here what with working fulltime and, now, on the additional “journey” to become a census worker! *laugh*

      1. My (now three!) cats are enjoying the journey at least–and being waited on in their new life of luxury (the latest two were street cats).

  2. It’s a balancing act between never being satisfied and never improving. You need a little bit of hunger to keep striving, but too much and you starve from mediocrity. (May you not digest a shit sandwich).

  3. The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

  4. Yes! Love this and totally agree. I’m in the midst of what I call my “Year of Clarity” right now and I’m enjoying the intentionality of how I’ve been moving through my days. Writing down my daily observations has been especially helpful. I believe that what keeps life interesting and worth it all is the determination to improve yourself and the people in your orbit.

  5. I found this to be very inspiring. I’m never completely satisfied with a book once I finish writing it, but I always enjoy the time I spend actually writing it. So the process is more rewarding than the result.

  6. This is true. Even the ordinary is part of the joy of life — eating something wonderful, tidying a closet, brushing the dog. Blessings, Tony. 🙂

      1. Thanks. Crucial points. I often think about the journey versus the results, but also the journey should have one or more goals. Best of luck with yours.

      2. Yeah I think it’s better to focus on the journey while looking at the goals at a road map, because at the end of the day you can only control what you can control

  7. If we come to think of it, the only ‘goal’ we are all going to reach in the end is death. So the journey, what is it: well, life itself. To enjoy the journey is to revel in the very act of living.

  8. Good excerpt: “fail to acknowledge their journey and their small wins. This is a recipe for frustration and burnout.”

  9. When working towards your goals, it helps to write them down and creating a vision board. To visualize where you want to be and what you want to achieve

Leave a Reply