“Some quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress … is progress.”
– Jeff Olson
Did you know that a man in England just unearthed a medieval wedding ring from the 14th century that’s in near perfect condition? On the inside of the band is the French inscription, Ieo vos tien foi tenes le moy, which means, I hold your faith, hold mine. How’s that for the ending to a midieval romcom?
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– Mike & Alec
The Promised Land
Ancient Jewish people were promised Israel, a land “flowing with milk and honey.”
Frodo and Sam hoped to one day return to The Shire where they could continue their peaceful lives.
Odysseus strived to return to his wife, Penelope, after hig long and perilous journey.
Humans (and our stories) are always striving for something — often times, that “thing” takes the form of a promised land in our mind’s eye, an ethereal place of joy and bliss entirely free of worry or pain.
Maybe your promised land is retirement.
Or hitting a certain milestone in your career.
Or moving to a certain city.
Whatever it is, one thing is for certain: the destination you’re seeking isn’t as wondrous and worry-free as you think it is.
It’s not the destination that provides fulfillment, but seeking itself.
In a Quartz article titled, Neuroscience confirms that to be truly happy, you will always need something more, Olivia Goldhill writes, “neuroscience shows that the act of seeking itself, rather than the goals we realize, is key to satisfaction.”
But, of course, seeking requires a destination.
What do we do about our nasty habit of overhyping the promised land?
Or our negative thoughts when we aren’t able to achieve what we had hoped?
Or when we fail in pursuit of something we were striving for?
She explains, “our drive to look ahead needn’t cause a permanent state of dissatisfaction, as seeking is itself a fulfilling activity. Evan Thompson, a philosophy professor at the University of British Columbia, says that the entire field of philosophy can be seen as an expression of this seeking impulse. Rather than coming up with a philosophical answer and then resting, content with the solution, Thompson says many philosophers would say the quest is an end in itself.”
So long as we overhype the destination’s fruits (and thus our own labors or failures), we are bound to suffer as wanderers looking for a place to call home.
But once we realize that this — the striving and suffering, the learning and leaning, the breathing and breaking — is home, then we needn’t be so threatened by the prospect of not reaching our destination or, worse, it turning out to be just as normal (with its troubles and tribulations) as we fear it might be.
The journey is the destination.
If you’ve left the comfort of home in pursuit of something interesting and exciting, backpack strapped, shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”, then you’ve already made it.
But don’t forget to enjoy doing so.
Wi-Fi + 7 Minutes + a Pulse = Profit?
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Sorry → Thanks
Find yourself saying “I’m sorry” a lot… when it isn’t really necessary?
Seth Godin has some practical advice that might help…
If you often find yourself saying “sorry” in a way that doesn’t advance the conversation, it might be interesting to substitute “thank you” instead.
So, “I’m sorry this came out of the kitchen after your other dishes,” becomes, “thank you for waiting so patiently.”
And, “I’m sorry we got disconnected,” becomes, “thank you for calling back.”
It’s a subtle shift, from separation to connection.
See You Later, Procrastigator
Want to do something awesome?
Maybe start a blog, write a book, build a newsletter (like ours!), create an online business, change careers, learn a new skill…
Even though it might feel like it’s too late, it’s not.
Take it from James Clear…
Image of The Week
This Week’s Riddle
Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!
What English word retains the same pronunciation, even after you take away four of its five letters?
This Week’s Journaling Prompt
Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt.
What promised land are you counting on? Why is it important to start enjoying the process of striving… rather than only looking forward to the destination?
This Week’s Challenge
Start learning a new language. This is something my wife and I are now doing since we’ve moved to Portugal and we’ve both found it to be very fulfilling. There are so many different apps you can use — Rosetta Stone, Drops, and Duolingo are just a few that make it easy and fun.
Riddle Answer: Queue