The most important things to understand is that the joy is in the climb itself.
I once had a friend who, during her childhood and young adulthood, fantasized about being a famous artist. She took very various art courses to hone her skills and started imagining herself being interviewed by art magazines, her paintings being sold at auctions, having a personal assistant, etc. With time she started putting up her artwork at various small venues and started receiving appreciations and accolades at various public forums. She realized it was time for her to go commercial and do this to make a living.
Despite her talent and interest, the reality never came to fruition. And it took her a long time to finally figure out why.
She was in love with the result – poring her heart out when creating beautiful pieces of art, explaining the meaning of her art to audiences, giving interviews, receiving endless sales inquiries – but she wasn’t in love with the process of reaching there. And because of that – she failed at it. Repeatedly.
The long drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding an agent, the hassle of building a network, the pain of finding events and exhibitions, the idea of reaching out and making sales calls, the difficulty of building a brand and convincing people to actually care about her subject, and so on. The idea of being at the top seemed like a beautiful dream but it was many miles to climb to reach the top.
With time she discovered that she didn’t like to climb the mountain, she just liked imagining the summit. She had imagined a few pitfalls from the bottom of the mountain without having realized that initially, everyone does it all by themselves. Nobody hires a team of helpers in the initial days.
She started realizing that she didn’t have what it takes to succeed and with time she gave up on her dream, but the truth was far less interesting than any explanation. She thought she wanted to be at the top of the mountain but looks like she didn’t. She didn’t enjoy the struggle, the stress and the uncertainty that engulf a struggler’s life. People who do are ultimately the ones who live and make it.
She wanted the reward but didn’t want the struggle that comes in the process. She didn’t want the process but only the result.
The same story applies to every aspect of our life.
If you want to run marathons, you have to enjoy the struggle of going to the gym and enjoy eating healthy food.
If you want to reach to the top of the corporate ladder, you must enjoy learning the corporate skills, enjoy office politics, and enjoy working long hours.
If you fantasize about being an entrepreneur, about the richness, fame, and independence that comes at the end, you must enjoy the struggle of making sales, enjoy the difficulty of hiring and retaining the right people, enjoy the risks of raising funds, etc.
We need the enjoy the happiness that comes with problem-solving at every stage and not just the happiness of the view from the top.
The next time you fantasize and dream about wealth, fame, health or position, also fantasize and love the struggles, pain, rejections, long hours, sacrifice, and patience that would come along. There is no gain without pain and loving the process is as important or even more important than loving the end-result.
The fact is if you start to love the struggles, the end result will take care of itself.
“Real lions like to hunt. They love the process just as much as they love the prize. Some of you just want to score. You don’t like the process. You’re not in love with the process. A real man, in the dark, when nobody’s watching – he’s putting in the work! Be phenomenal or be forgotten” – Eric Thomas