Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Journey vs. The Destination

As a concrete-sequential, the idea of focusing on the journey rather than the destination has always bugged me.

As an impatient driver who allows himself to easily become bored, the idea of focusing on journey rather than the destination has always bugged me.

As the father of two children who don't travel well, the idea of, well, you know.

As someone who believes in God and Jesus and heaven, this is a confusing one.

"Eye on the prize" and all that, right?

An inbox is to be emptied, Feedly to be cleared out, TED Talks to be watched and deleted. Projects to be scoped, assigned and completed. It's always about done, done, done.

Destination, right?

So for whatever reason, that concept had been flitting around in my brain the last few weeks, annoying me anew each time it stopped for a moment and let me ponder it.

And then it finally struck me. Like so many pithy things, that idea is flawed. I guess I should avoid pithy things and either/or things.

Because it's both, right? Good car trips can bookend a nice family vacation. A good project doesn't happen at the end but it happens in the planning, requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing and execution.

And more importantly, you're never really done. There's always more of something. Whether it's a product you've released and now begin considering the updates, enhancements, releases and bugs or your checklist or inbox or feedly which constantly refreshes itself again and again.

Even the concept of a "journey" is bogus. A journey is almost always a series of sequential destinations. The next turn, the next stop light, the next fast-food restaurant. The hotel tonight and the theme park in the morning. The next phase in engineering or software development.

Which posed a new challenge to me. If the journey is just a series of destinations, that means that I need to place more value on the "lesser" destinations. I don't necessarily need to celebrate a light turning green or marvel at the graceful curve in the road, but it means that if I'm allowing myself to get bored, or to try to rush through something on the way to something else, I'm potentially shortchanging (or missing) a destination along the way.

So I guess I should retract the part about avoiding pithy - because "Take time to stop and smell the roses." is actually good advice.

We all have places to be, literally or figuratively, but we need to take the short and long of it into view because we ought to know where we're going, but we should be looking for adventure, opportunity, fun as we go.

(Safe travels to all you road trippers.)

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