Written by Nichole Graham
I went running this morning. I enjoy distance running because it forces me to focus on the moment. From my experience, it’s very hard to run a marathon constantly measuring how far you are from the end. Of course, I keep it somewhere in the back of my mind because, obviously, that’s why I’m there. But I have to find a way to relax into the moment or I won’t enjoy myself—whether it’s letting my mind wander, or simply focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.
While I was letting my mind wander this morning, I was thinking about this phenomenon and how it’s true of the pursuit of many goals in our lives. In the race to realize our dreams, it can be easy to become frustrated by what we see as our lack of progress or the distance to the final outcome. We need to find ways to allow the big goal to rest in the back of our minds while we enjoy the little steps that get us there. We need to be less hard on ourselves. Because the journey is worth something too. Even if we aren’t getting as far as fast as we want to, we should be proud of ourselves for the effort we are putting in at any given moment. Every moment along the way counts. It’s in these moments that we learn, we process, we grow. Not to mention that if you are too focused on that end goal, you might miss opportunities or a new, even better direction that may present itself. One of my favorite quotes, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, illustrates this idea:
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself… To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top… But of course, without the top you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides. So on we go…we have a long way…no hurry…just one step after the next.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself!