Most “how to succeed” articles focus on what you need to do to succeed and reach your destination (that dream job, prestigious award, expensive house, etc). Since I started writing professionally, however, I’ve found that the journey is more important than the destination. Wait, Buddah already said that? Drat, so much for coining a phrase.
You know why we remember that phrase? Because it’s true. Don’t give up on your dreams. Just remember that, upon arrival, you often find they’re not quite everything you’d imagined. The journey on the other hand, that is what makes you who you are. Don’t focus on where you’re going to the exclusion of who you’ll have become when you get there.
I’m an impatient person and often get discouraged by how far away I seem from my dreams. Do you ever feel the same way? Here are 3 things you can do to focus on your journey, and through living your journey to the fullest, achieve your dreams in the end as well.
1. Ask for, and implement, constructive criticism
Feedback is the lifeblood of the artist. And we are all artists crafting and molding our lives to form something meaningful. So, put on your big boy/girl panties and ask for CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Sometimes you’ll get nonconstructive criticism too, just ignore that and move on. Every single piece of feedback you get in your job, your relationships, your art, or any other aspect of life is another block in the road that leads you to success. It takes wisdom and discernment to sift the good advice from the bad, but it’s all useful. Most importantly, implement the good advice. Anyone not learning and growing every day is doomed to failure.
2. Be grateful for what you have
There’s no surer way to a life of misery than discontentment. I’m not saying accept everything the way it is and never try to change your life. But you should always be grateful for what you have NOW while you work towards change. Your life could be so much worse. Just read about people in Africa, India, or even in your own city! Being grateful for your blessings helps you be happy, well adjusted, and a decent human being, making your chances for success greater than the discontent, unhappy, and perpetually negative person trying for the same thing.
3. Build meaningful friendships
You are not entitled to achieving your dreams. You don’t deserve it, and for many of us, we will never get where we hoped to be. But the person who builds relationships along the way based on trust, respect, mutual aid, and love will, at the end of the road, be surrounded by people who care about them no matter what they’ve achieved. Conversely, the person who ignores relationships, or who is full of envy, spite, backbiting, and jealousy toward their fellow travelers will end up alone and miserable, whether they achieve their dream or not. And nobody wants to die alone.
Well, there you have it! Of course, like most advice, what seems simple on paper is much more complicated in reality. But if you take life a day at a time and enjoy the journey you’re on, you’ll find you don’t have to wait until you achieve your dreams to be happy.