A lot of guys wonder what the key to success is. Persistence? Hard work? Or maybe being decisive? Well, these things are all great, but there’s one key to success that’s even more fundamental than these.
It’s what will make persistence easy. It’s what will enable the hard work. And without it? You won’t ever be decisive. Despite the incredible impact of this one little key to success, it’s actually very simple. Do you know what it is?
It’s your ability to stay present to the moment, and to focus on the process, not on the results. In other words, it’s learning to enjoy the journey.
Your Very Own Journey
We’re all on our own special little paths in life. Some peoples paths intersect, and others never meet. Some peoples’ paths are intimately intertwined – they’re destined to do great things together.
Either way, all paths lead to a destination. Sometimes, it’s easy to get so obsessed over reaching this destination that we forget to see the beauty in our own paths.
Ironically enough, however, when you become obsessed with reaching the destination you never actually do.
In order to reach the destination, paradoxically enough, you must focus on the present moment. You must enjoy, and learn from the journey. This is the key to success.
When you learn to enjoy the journey, everything becomes a breeze. Rather than forcing yourself to do things, because you “have to get to the destination!” you simply do them, because they’re enjoyable.
When you enjoy the journey, it’s fun to go to the gym, because you enjoy getting stronger. It’s fun to improve your social skills, because you enjoy pulling hot girls. It’s fun to read great books, because you enjoy expanding your mind.
Most guys get stuck in “goal-mode,” where they focus entirely on the destination, or the goal—and while this is important, if you don’t learn to enjoy the journey, you’ll probably just give up.
When you learn to enjoy the journey, you’re happy where your’re at. This keeps you going, and makes self-development a breeze, so you never tire out.
What Happens When You Don’t Enjoy the Journey
Let’s use an example—say trying to get a better girlfriend by learning game. When the newbie first delves head-first into the world of pickup, he’s floored.
“Oh my god! Look at all this information!” he thinks. “There’s so many things that I’ve been doing wrong!”
“I’m not confident! I’m not decisive! I’m not charismatic! I don’t look good, I’m not a man on my purpose, and I don’t have any style! AHHHH!!!”
A whole new world of possibility has been opened up to him—he starts to see exactly where he’s been going wrong and what to do about it. Consequently, he starts getting better with women.
But, something happens along the way—he can pull 6’s and 7’s with ease, but he starts losing his love of the process. He stops enjoying the journey. He becomes obsessed with getting to the point where he can pull 10’s.
“I’m not good enough, dammit!” the newbie thinks. “Okay, I have to go out 6 nights a week and approach EVERY SINGLE GIRL that I see if I ever want to get a 10,” the newbie tells himself.
Now, going out seems like more of a chore than a fun thing to do—going to nightclubs is nothing more than a means to an end. He’s not enjoying the journey.
Pretty soon, he’ll burn out, because he’s not enjoying the process. This is the key to success: never stop enjoying the process. Always find pleasure in the act of improving yourself.
What Happens When You Enjoy the Journey
Take the same newbie—except this time, rather than getting angry over his current location on the path, he happily accepts it. Yes, he has his goals to get his dream girlfriend, but he accepts the skill set that he has and takes joy in improving it.
He learns to enjoy the journey; to enjoy the process. This very same newbie will love to go out, because it’s not a chore.
Going out clubbing and hitting on girls is now something that’s fun to do, because the newbie realizes that every approach he does improves his game a little bit. So unlike the first example, he won’t burn out—he’ll continue to go out, because it’s something that’s fun to do.
Ironically enough, not focusing too much on the destination is the only way to reach it. This is the key to success.
The same can be said about any form of self-improvement, say the gym. Jerry wants to lose 50 pounds; he wants to get shredded, and have a six pack. This is his destination, or his goal.
So, he buys Body of an Alpha, my 3 phase blueprint to getting shredded, and decides to give it a shot. Every day he goes to the gym, and every day he weighs himself. He’s psyched that he’s taking massive action, and getting closer to his goals.
He goes to the gym every day, and he sees that other guys are way more jacked than he is, but it doesn’t bother him. “Woah, maybe I’ll get there eventually!” he says. He focuses on how far he’s come, rather than how far he has to go.
He enjoys the journey—he loves the process of going to the gym, working hard, coming home and having a nice big post-workout feast, and then relaxing with his girlfriend afterwards. He’s focused on enjoying every moment, rather than obsessing over the goal.
Do you want to know something? This is the type of guy who will make it. This is the type of guy who will go far.
Why? Again, because he’s focused on just enjoying the process of growth. He’s not bitching or moaning about the downsides, or about how far he has to go. He’s just focused on enjoying where he’s at, and looking at the bright side.
He enjoys every little rep, every swig of his protein shake, and every second he spends in the sauna afterwards. He enjoys the journey, and because of this, working out is easy as hell.
The Proper Mindset
There’s a few ways to enjoy the journey, but it ultimately comes down to cultivating a specific mindset. Train your mind to focus on enjoying the little things, rather than worrying about when you’ll reach the destination.
Focus on the positive in everything. Don’t think: “Oh god, my bench is so pathetic compared to that guy’s.” Instead, think: “Wow! I’m lifting twice as much as I did when I first started!”
Your mindset should contain the following beliefs:
- The journey is just as valuable as the destination
- Every little step I take gets me closer to my destination
- It’s fun to improve myself
- It’s okay if I’m not at the destination yet—I’ll get there eventually
All of these mindset shifts have one thing in common: they view the journey as being a valuable experience, if not more valuable than the destination itself.
The destination is petty—not that it isn’t worthwhile, but because it’s so shallow. It’s the journey that changes you. The journey is how you grow, it’s how you expand yourself, and it’s how you have fun. The journey is how you learn to cope with struggle, and get back up when you’ve failed.
Think of it like this: if you’ve ever read Lord of the Rings, or any other “epic quest” novel, you’ll know that there’s an end goal.
Whatever it is—maybe it’s to retrieve a certain item, or to restore balance to the universe, or whatever, but the point is that there’s a certain end goal. So, with that in mind, would you want to just skip to the last page?
Of course not! It’s the JOURNEY that’s enjoyable! It’s seeing the heroes fall down and get back up. It’s seeing them struggle and persevere. It’s being with them on the journey, throughout the ups and downs—this is where the growth and enjoyment comes from.
Take the same approach to your life. It’s on the journey that we have all the fun. Sure, getting a certain result is great, but the journey is where the real magic happens.
Cycles of the Journey
As I’ve discussed before, the journey of self-development tends to come in different cycles. These are referred to as peaks and troughs.
When you’re on a peak, you’re on top of the world—everything is going great. When you’re in a trough, however, everything is going as bad as it possibly could. Learning to accept, and even embrace these natural cycles of self-development is the key to enjoying the journey.
Every time you get into a trough, whether it’s in fitness, dating, business, or life, it’s because there’s a crucial lesson that you need to learn before moving on.
As we grow and grow, reaching higher and higher heights, things that we did before might not be appropriate for our newfound heights. As an example, I recently hit an “all time high,” with my lifts.
My bench press, my deadlift, my squat, and even my curls! Everything was soaring through the roof—and this lasted for a while, but eventually I injured myself. I wasn’t able to work out for MONTHS, and saw my muscles slowly deflate right before my eyes.
It was agonizing! But I figured out why it happened: I hadn’t paid enough attention to proper technique and form. I was lifting haphazardly, letting my ego take control, only focused on how much weight I could put up.
Now, I’ve just started getting back into lifting after some intense physical therapy and stretching, but I know that I’m going to hit an all time peak—and do you know what? I’ve enjoyed every bit of this.
Getting injured was a blessing in disguise—it forced me to work on other areas of my life that I hadn’t touched before. It forced me to become a more well-rounded human being.
Whenever you’re going through a “high” or a “low” in life, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with you. It’s just a part of the journey. Learn to accept this, and you will go far.
In closing, learning to enjoy the journey is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things that you will ever do. Our society trains us to chase fleeting pleasures, and to be goal-oriented, so undoing this conditioning will take some time.
But, it’s the only way to truly be happy and enjoy your life. There’s no use in fighting it, there’s no use in running away from it, and there’s no use in denying it. Just learn to enjoy the journey, and you will go far, my friend.
If you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know. And, as always, I’ll see you next time.
Hey Jon, love this post! I’ve found that those moments where I push through a plateau or trough are the moments of the most intense growth. Also love how focused on line graphs this post is 😀
I just started my own blog at http://30daychallengedude.com and having bouts of crippling self-doubt along the way. Trying to just enjoy the journey and focus on process over product
Hey Jon you don’t believe it is life changing blog . There are no words to say how I improved within 6 months . Love you Jon for distributing valuable information
I was reading about lifting and this happened to me too.What did you fuck up if its not a secret? Glad you can still lift.
Years of training without stretching or doing enough myofascial release basically made my IT band, erector spinae, and illiac crest so tight I could barely move
How do you actually do the myofascial release? Any recommendations?
I’m writing about it in Body of an Alpha, but basically you can find someone who specializes in ROLFing or do it yourself with lacrosse balls, therapy canes, and foam rollers