Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Journey is the Reward

If you search for this phrase you will hundreds of references to Steve Jobs, who was fond of quoting it, as well as a few that attribute it to an old Buddist proverb. It reminds me very much of the book by Paulo Cuelho, The Alchemist, which was the first book I managed to read in Spanish (although it was actually originally written in Portuguese). It is a also similar sentiment to the "Here and now, boys, here and now" that the mynah birds on Aldous Huxley's Island repeat endlessly the remind the inhabitants that we should live for the moment. By contrast, that the "journey is the reward" does not negate the need to have a goal towards which we are all working, but instead suggests that we should not focus on the goal to the point of not enjoying or benefitting from the struggle to get there.

Just yesterday I was explaining to a friend that the Ironman itself was not the hardest physical test I have done; a couple of the training sessions I did along the way I found much harder. If you focus on crossing the line of the Ironman - be it in a certain time or placing, or just to cross the line at all - then I believe you are missing the real reward. This is something I wrote about at the time, having been fortunate enough to have read a comment from another person who had already completed an Ironman: that we are privelaged to be able to dedicate so many hours to making our bodies so fit. The reward of crossing the line did not compare to the reward of the changes my body went through and what I learned from the prepartion for the Ironman.

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