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The Path Versus the Destination


In my last article, I discussed the problem that everyone seems to struggle with in working towards their goals: maintaining motivation. I focused on the importance of remembering your ‘why?’ and focusing on the bigger picture.

I want to keep with that general topic, because maintaining your motivation is such a persistent problem that it warrants a multi-faceted approach to its solution.

I hear from people who say things like, “I want to make changes for the better, I can always find the motivation to get started, but I can’t maintain motivation and consistency over long periods of time.”

When you think of the most successful people in their given trades, the Michael Jordans, the Steve Jobs, and the Oprah Winfreys of the world, you think of passionate people.

People who love what they do, are passionate about it, and wake up every morning rip-roaring and ready to face the day and change the world.


A common theme around successful, legendary, game-changing types of personalities is an inordinate amount of passion, drive, and unfaltering motivation.

The quotes you hear from these people talk about not giving up in the face of failure, living with passion, and staying motivated.

The way it is sometimes conveyed makes it seem as if these people have some gene that allows all these things to come naturally, and somehow makes them inherently different from you or me.

They do not.

Although these people and the hundreds of others like them do exhibit drive and passion for what they do, they do not have some super human power that enables them to be totally motivated all of the time.

The difference between successful people that live their dreams and other people that only view them on the backs of their eyelids is their commitment to the path to success.

We have all heard the old adage saying that it is the journey that counts and not the destination. Well, that applies to personal success as well.

The key to true success is to not view it as a destination, an end point, a discrete moment in time, but rather to focus on living and embracing the path, and falling in love with the work along the way.

From a goal-setting perspective, this could be rather confusing

We are told to set concrete goals, to create clearly delineated moments in time where we can say we have reached a point and that means we are, then, successful.

While this is true, it is only so in the larger context of continually setting such goals, and living and working through each one, with intentions to keep going.

People tend to believe that success is a singular event.

  • “If I just lose 20 pounds, then I’ll be in shape”
  • “If I book this major client, then my business will be set”
  • “If I could just get my work featured by a reputable publication, then I’d have all the credibility I’ll need”

If you set a goal, for example, to lose 20 pounds (and any other goal you can think of) and you work hard and achieve it, then what?

You are happy, yes of course, but what happens after that? Do you get to go back to not working out and eating whatever you want?

After you book that client, can you sit back and not deliver on what was promised?

In the above mentioned examples and everything else in life, the answer is an obvious, NO. Yet this is the way in which most people view the attainment of their goals, and what they feel defines success.

If you look at those individuals you consider most successful, you will begin to see a trend that it is not any one particular achievement or event that makes them different from the rest. But, rather, their commitment and dedication to their path, the process.

If you fall in love with the journey of improved health and exercise habits, you will most likely achieve your milestone (loss of 20 pounds) along the way.

If you fall in love with providing the most valuable product and experience for potential customers, you will most likely achieve public recognition.

But you will also continue to improve past your milestones and challenge yourself in different and better ways.

The key is focusing on the path and not the destination

“You have to fall in love with building the identity of someone who does the work.” -James Clear

Committing the time day in and day out, even when you may not want to.

Working through the boredom of eating the same meal every day, or reading about the newest advances in online marketing, or writing and re-writing those chapters because you are so focused on the path of a healthy lifestyle, the path of entrepreneurial success, the path of a successful writer, that it becomes a lived and daily experience…Rather than a march to an end point.

Success is a process, not a moment

When you focus on the path, and truly commit to it, you will find that any goals you set for yourself will be attained, and they will be mile markers on the highway, milestones along the way that you pass only to see another on the horizon.

Successful people commit to the path.

They commit to falling in love with the process.

They work when everyone else has tired of it. They envelop themselves in the day in and day out continued lifestyle, so when they are bored, or tired, or unmotivated, their commitment to living the process keeps them moving forward.

If you want to become meaningfully better at anything, you have to fall in love with the actual path of achievement.

Not just the dream of it’s result.

So fall in love with the boredom, the repetition, the practice and you’ll find that everything else will fall into place.



  • Great post, Quincy. The other advantage of loving the process is that the process is more flexible than the goal. I remember when I was rehabbing after snapping my kneecap. When I wasn’t at the rehab facility and inbetween formal sessions, I would lay down on the floor, bend my leg as far as I could, take a picture and then measure the angle using a computer. It was my way of seeing the progress in flexibility. My goal was to get the leg equal in flexibility to the other one. If I spent so much energy trying to reach my goal that I was too sore to move the next day, it would be very easy to get caught in a vicious circle of working out, failing, getting frustrated because I HAVE to take a day off, and then overworking again. In the end, the goal may take longer to get to and my sanity would have been in peril. By working the process, a person can listen to feedback and adapt to situations as they improve (or get worse!). The interactivity with the process is key to accelerating towards the goal in the most efficient way!

    1. Michael thanks so much for sharing from your own personal experiences! We should always be looking to make progress each and every day, regardless of how little it may be. It all adds up in the end! 🙂

  • Outstanding view point. Most of what you read is about setting goals to accomplish them. This writing is about working the process for the sake of the process. I really enjoyed reading this post. With 2015 in a week, now is my time to plan my work to work my plan for success…

    1. Cheyne thanks for your thoughts! Yes you’re right, we all need to spend more time focusing on the process of achieving our goals, rather than focused on just the result. No better time to start a new, than right now 🙂 good luck with everything you’ve got planned for 2015.

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