The Journey

MetraThings won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.—William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, I.ii.287

“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.

One Comment on “The Journey”

  1. Donna Baker says:

    Amen! The “Station” is a favorite of mine.

    Just for you, from Donna


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