Uncovering Success Strategies – More about Success Strategy # 29
Cherish the chase as much as you treasure the trophy. – Joe Caruso
We sometimes work so hard to achieve a particular goal that we forget that success is at least as much about enjoying the process as it is about achievement. Goals are necessary to a successful life. According to the Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, all biological organisms build up energy that seeks discharge. This discharge can either be directed or random. Goals create direction for the discharge of energy, thereby providing meaningful structure to our lives. To abandon all goals is to abandon order.
Success is Not Measured in Achievement Alone
However, success is not measured in achievement. Success is the combination of the achievement and what we call the enjoyment factor. In other words, it’s not what you achieve or obtain; it’s also how much you enjoyed achieving or obtaining it. It’s not just where you are, but also how much you enjoyed getting there.
Too often we get absorbed in our “struggle” to achieve and forget that part of the challenge is to enjoy the process of achieving. This is often not easy. However, we need to remind ourselves that anything less is a recipe for unhappiness.
Emerson is credited with noting that “We are always getting ready to live but never living.” A great deal of the magic of life lies in the thrill of the chase. We don’t know how things will turn out. We’re not sure what the future holds. Rather than enjoying the suspense, the thrill and the adventure, we worry about the outcome. Remember that the most important thing in the world is what you are doing right now and how you are doing it.
When We Worry Excessively, We Defer Our Happiness
In Escape from Freedom, Erich Fromm writes, “There is only one meaning of life, the act of living itself.” Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” To forfeit the enjoyment of these days with the intent to enjoy future days is to create an unhappy existence.
In order to create a happy and successful life, it’s imperative that we pay as much attention to our enjoyment of the moment as to our progress toward our goal. We can learn to cherish the chase by learning to love life. We are creatures of the present and to love our life is to develop the capacity to love the present.
The promise of the future is not a promise at all. It’s important that we realize this while we are working toward it. Try to quantify your level of commitment to the future. Then do the same with your level of commitment to the present. Compare the results and see what you can do to create a more balanced existence.
We sometimes work so hard and worry so much about our future that we never realize that it’s arriving little by little each day.
(c) Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership, 2016. Photo by C. Doherty.