The JourneyPosted: March 12, 2015
“The journey” is a common theme in literature. I distinctly recall reading the essay The Station by Robert Hastings some 30+ years ago in high school. This was my first exposure to the idea that there is more to life than where you’re going—how you get there matters, too.
I recently stumbled upon a chapter in the book The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom that further examines this subject. It discussed that human emotion tied to making progress toward a goal (the journey) has a much stronger effect than any short-lived contentment from goal achievement (the destination). The author makes a clear distinction between “gratification” and “delight.” Gratification may be thought of as deeper and longer lasting, gained from learning, feeling progress, self-motivated improvement and building strengths. This is from the journey. Delight is more like listening to a new song or eating a bowl of ice cream—short-lived or ephemeral. It’s that rush of pleasure when you arrive at a destination.
Gratification versus delight is a new twist on the importance of focusing on the journey. While delight may seem like a stronger emotion, unfortunately, it doesn’t last. By comparison, gratification stays with you and can nourish your soul. Learn how to put this insight into practice with How to Become Happier.