I hate flying; I kid tell myself I’ll rather put miles on my car and take to the road than board a plane but then what kind of smart guy would prefer a 14-hour drive over a 2-hour flight. So obviously, I can’t escape flying inasmuch as I dislike it. Most times I OD myself on Nyquil, Ibuprofen PM or any sleep inducing drug I lay my hands on before departure. But tonight is different; I’m tens of thousands of miles above sea level at the moment of typing – wide awake – (In Baba Adeboye’s voice) Can somebody shout Hallelujah?!
With this trip I bid goodbye to the city I spent the last two years of my life and say welcome to another city where I’ll be spending the next three years. It’s the beginning of a challenging phase which I look forward to with mixed feelings. At the end of this 3-year phase I would have achieved ‘something laudable’ which I and everyone associated with me my father first will be proud of. I’ve turned over how the next couple of years would be – in my mind – times without number, but the challenge looks overwhelming as I brood over it but in the end I said fork it! (sic), I’ll just stay focused on the prize at the end and go on auto-pilot for the next three years.
This brings me to the subject of discussion after much needless rambling about my phobia: which is more important – the process or the prize/result? The end or the means to the end?
Several years ago I stumbled upon a John C. Maxwell book in which I found this statement which stuck to me like the proverbial glue: “Success is not a destination but a journey”. That went against everything I understood about success back then, which was more of the arriving thing; I believed you succeed by passing your exams, getting a certain promotion, acquiring a certain amount of cash, graduating from college, you get my drift?
From what I could glean from the book, the journey to a particular milestone is the success itself and not the milestone (the destination). Another book I read around the same time – Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad?) – tried to explain it this way: a truly successful man (material-wise) is someone who if all his riches is taken away, has enough knowledge/experience/network to recuperate and re-amass his taken wealth in little time. Now cast a glance back at my examples of ‘success’ from the previous paragraph and let’s answer some questions, which is more important: the passing of the exam or the preparation? The promotion or the efforts/improvement rewarded? The acquisition of wealth or the wealth itself? Graduating from college or the four years spent in getting that degree?
Napoleon Hill’s Robert Kiyosaki’s description of the truly successful man depicts a man who went through a process of acquiring wealth and in so doing obtained some important knowledge, gained some valuable experience and created a network in which going through the process again to obtain a similar or better outcome will be easier and faster. The wealth acquired in the end is important, as much as goals are important, but I believe the process of acquiring the wealth is of equal importance. We can look at the other questions raised the same way.
Passing an exam is good but what is better is the knowledge gained while preparing for the exam, you only shortchange yourself if you take the short cut to pass an exam without going through the due process of studying and getting the required knowledge; your inaptitude in whatever the subject might be is just waiting around the corner to embarrass you. The same goes for promotion and graduation from college. For college; I don’t think anyone needs much convincing that the experience and knowledge gained during the college years is actually of more value than the certificate awarded on graduation day.
They say the end justifies the means, but not on the long run; what if the ‘end’ collapses, will you be able to replicate and get the same ‘end’. Avoid shortcuts and endure enjoy the due process.
So, if the process is almost just as important as the result, why not enjoy and make most of the process you are going through at the moment to obtain the result. That is what I told myself as I step into the new phase I mentioned at the beginning of this write-up. There will be goals, there will be milestones in life and I have come to believe the process of getting there is as important as getting there and the moment you realize this simple truth the more you begin to appreciate what it is you are going through right now. The more you open yourself to learn from your mistakes and grow from the experience to become a better person in the process of achieving your goals. Believe me, the journey will be more fun, if you see it as an integral part of the trip and destination.
The year is still new and I pray you achieve all you set your heart to. Have a wonderful 2011.
PS: I couldn’t complete this article in-flight. 30-45 minutes to landing was terrible due to horrible weather in Houston so I folded my laptop and started praying in the Spirit (no shame). I probably would have thrown up if not for the fine kele beside me; I was forced to maintain my fine boy. Worst. Flight. Ever.