“..the point of music is not for the finale. Likewise with dancing, the point is not to reach a certain part of the room. If this were the case, the best composers would be the fastest.” – Alan Watts
I am very fond of the work of Watts, likewise more recently with the work of Jordan Peterson. He suggests that; “having well-defined goals also increases your chances of experiencing positive emotion, as people experience most of their hope and joy and curiosity and engagement as a consequence of pursuing valued goals (and not, as people generally think, by attaining them).”
I constantly see fancy pictures on social media, quoting things such as ‘enjoy the journey’ which is nice and positive, but not necessarily useful when taken from this perspective. Why?
Lets take for example, a physical skill such as a One Arm Pull Up, because, well that’s what I know. Just to begin with, the sheer incomprehensible nature of such a skill is hard to put into perspective. Which begs the completely valid question; why do you need it?!
We are fortunate enough to live in an age where we can expend energy at will. We no longer live due to evolutionary necessity, no longer living to simply fuck, feed and fight. The fundamentals of our being still exist, but we now play a different game.
So how is this relevant to the One Arm Pull up? Well, due to the rules of the modern game of life we are able to spent our time in any ways we wish. Of course, as long as the consumption is within the rules of the game. Training the One Arm Pull up is a way in which you could spent your time. The result will most likely impress many others, and may be more pulling strength than you will ever need in your day to day life, unless of course you take up sports such as climbing.
To impress others however, is not the ultimate or most pure of motives. The extrinsic nature of such a drive will only leave you feeling empty and void of satisfaction and meaning. This is one way of viewing life as a journey. I can tell you, achieving such an ultimate goal, leaves you feeling quite empty. The ‘what next’ feeling. The endeavour brings you no closer to immortality or heaven.
In the end, there is no meaning of any given movement. They are all simply ways of using our time on this earth.
So why put so much effort into anything at all then?!
Here comes the meaningful part.
The ending is not where the gold is, but along the path towards it is! If we stay with this idea of the One Arm Pull up, we can start to understand this. It took me over 2 years to accomplish this goal. 2 years is a long time to learn. Throughout that time, there were many times of failure, of small improvements, of frustration, of dreaming, of planning and hard work. Hours and hours. This is the gold.
The PROCESS of training for a scary goal/dream is far more satisfying, meaningful and pure, than achieving that goal ultimately. The lessons you learn, the times you spend dreaming, the intentions you set, the reflections, connecting the dots, connecting with others, learning from others, teaching others. This is life.
So go and find things that scare you. Search for goals that seem impossible. Find teachers to help you begin. Take time to learn, really learn. Reflect on what you learn. Enjoy the time, now. Help others. Be positive in the face of adversity. Find meaning. Take it serious. Focus on the details. Take pride in what you are doing. Be proud of what you have done. Love and support others who are also chasing..