Before I start, I want to let you know that I’m speaking of an ideal. A perfection, if you will, a nirvana.
But it’s one I believe in and strive for every day of my life.
And I succeed in many areas.
And not so much in others, LOL!
But I do keep trying.
Many of us are taught from a young age that winning is the only acceptable outcome of effort. And that the greater the effort, the bigger the reward.
And when that is the case, people tend to hoard their effort unless they are reasonably sure they can win, or to spend their small efforts on low-value rewards.
But what if that belief is not true?
What if the effort is the most important part?
What if it’s the journey, not the destination that matters? What if you will never ultimately reach your destination, so how you chose to live and strive is what matters?
This is my belief.
I believe that living for the reward is often a recipe for failure.
Want to eat better and workout? Do it. Put in the effort. It’s easy and rewarding to decide to do something and just…do it.
Want to lose weight and look like a bikini model? Well, that makes eating better and working out just a million steps to getting something that may never happen for many reasons (wrong genetics, age, illness, hormones, etc.).
Easy example, and the one I struggle with most, after some serious physical challenges as a result of a car accident in 2017.
Luckily, it looks like those MAY be behind me now…time will tell. But I digress.
Another example, and one that I’ve found my nirvana in?
Want to be happier and a move loving person? Easy. Just learn better ways of relating and communicating and grow. When you make mistakes, correct, and move forward.
Want to get Instagram®-brand love? That makes being happier and more loving difficult, because you’re always in it for the results, and if they take a while (and it almost always takes longer than you think it will), then it feels like failure.
And here’s the thing: focusing on goals like those (bikini model, instagram love) could actually harm you.
Because they may not be right for you.
Have you ever had a “happy accident?” Where you messed something up, and found out that what happened was not only OK, but WAY better than you imagined?
That’s the joy of effort as a reward.
When you love the effort, everything good that also happens is a bonus. And you’re able to be more flexible with your expectations, and appreciate things as they come along. And when you don’t end up looking like a bikini model, but you do end up looking like J. LO (or like a fitness model, or hell, just like a healthy, happy version of yourself), you’re thrilled.
AND, you’ve enjoyed the effort.
Enjoyed the process.
The WHOLE WAY.
Or maybe not the whole way, because frankly, enjoying the process takes practice for many people. It does for me.
I struggle with it sometimes.
But it’s still worth it.
I’m training my brain.
I had to find one place where I totally got it (which took like 10 years, LOL! I’m slow.), and then I could do better in other areas. I now have three under my belt, and the last one took only about nine months.
Now, I’m turning to the workouts. I’m planning on 6 months, but you know what? Whether it takes me 6 weeks or 6 months or 6 years to learn to enjoy the effort…
I at least now enjoy the effort I put into learning to enjoy the effort.
What are your thoughts?
Do you agree? Do you enjoy your efforts? Or do you try to learn to enjoy your efforts?
Have there been activities in your life where you enjoy the efforts and others where you just want to get to the goals?
What works best for you? It is one of the other? A mix?