I’m looking deeper at another quote image in this article, the source of which might be debatable, but does that matter..?
I took the photo up at Girvan in Scotland, on a trip specifically to take some picture of Ailsa Craig, which is the rock you can see to the left of the picture. I had been taking pictures all day, from sunrise, to a trip over to the rock itself during the day, to these sunset photos, and the view looking along the harbour wall was one that caught my eye.
I think the words go well over the top, about the journey we all walk along. In this case of the photo, it could be taken literally – the end of the wall is the ‘end’ I set, but walking along was lovely as it takes in the view of the rock on one side, and the sunset on the other.
It’s a nice quote then, with an easily understandable meaning and a nice flow to it. Who said it though..?
It’s often used attributed to Ernest Hemingway but as I started researching the quote (which is what I always do when using someone else’s words as these quotes are often not what they might seem!)
it didn’t take long to find a discrepancy.
There’s no actual record of him actually using it at all, but it can be seen in the novel ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ by Ursula K Le Guin.
Why is it so often attributed to Hemingway then? Some people suggest sexism, some people suggest her name is too cumbersome or that she doesn’t have a well known enough name. To be honest, I think it’s probably just viral laziness – someone sees the quote with the Hemingway tag, shares it, and then it spreads further with that tag, without any of the sharers doing any research.
Does that matter? Well, I think it does, credit where credit is due wherever possible, but talking of mattering…
So, with that to one side, let’s look at the quote itself and it really is a cracker.
We all go on a journey in life, whether we want to or not! Time marches on inevitably, it waits for no-one, so that journey is not a choice, it’s a fact.
Not only do we not have any choice about being on a journey, we have no idea how long it will last! It’s a reasonable assumption that if we look after our bodies, and live somewhere that has good healthcare options, we’ll live to an age within a rough band of years.
Reasonable yes, but not cast in stone.
Our journey could end at any time, suddenly, unexpectedly. Not to wish to be macabre about it, but who know, my own journey might have already ended by the time you read this.
Reading that last sentence back does *admittedly* sound rather macabre, but it’s a key point – we simply don’t know how long we have.
If that’s the case, surely it’s better to be proactive about how we travel along the journey, right..?
Well, some people view the journey as an irrelevance, something that just happens to them, that they can’t do anything about.
Some people view the journey as a chore, something that must be endured, and the key is make it as easy and without hardship as possible, to just get on with it.
Some people, and I’d suggest this might be the biggest category, don’t even consider the journey at all. They never even cast a thought to it in the first place.
While there are no right or wrong answers to that question, I would contend that any of those above ways of looking at our journey (including not looking!), are ways that lead to frustration – frustration at a life unfulfilled, that manifests itself over and over in stress and unhappiness.
I suggest a different way of looking at our journey…
Once we’ve acknowledged that it’s a fact, that it’s not something we can stop happening, we can then take the steering wheel, and start to set the tone of the journey.
We do this by setting that ‘end’ that’s mentioned into the original quote, the end that we’ll journey towards.
This is something we can always choose. There might be limits to the choice, yes, and the choice might need to change along the journey, but we can still choose. If we choose an end that is in touch with our authentic self, that touches on our passions, and end that serves us and those around us, then we are setting ourselves up for a worthy journey indeed.
This is how we end up on a journey that matters more than the end. We need to set up an ‘end’ that is *not* the ‘be all and end all’. If we set the end up as being everything that matters, we a making a double mistake…
Firstly we are saying that unless we get to that final ‘end’, that goal, we have failed, that we have been unsuccessful. That also implies secondly, that the journey along the way is nothing more than a gap to be bridged between the ‘unsuccessful’ present and the ‘success’ of the goal being reached.
That isn’t helpful, or healthy. It can’t be.
That just *contributes* to the stress and unhappiness, because it places all our happiness on a future possible event/outcome, rather than the present.
I’ve already covered that setting an end to journey towards is important, but I can’t help but reiterate the quote, that it’s the journey that matters.
I like another point made by someone that covers the same ground – this one is a more easily attributed one, it’s Jim Rohn who said that we should set a goal not for what it will give us, but for what we will become in order to get there. Lovely!
On an ongoing basis, it matters how we conduct ourselves, both towards others and ourselves. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, they matter.
If we conduct ourselves in a way that is set towards our stated end, but sits fully in the present, then that’s surely the way to go.
If we allow ourselves to appreciate what’s around us, the opportunities that surround us, the beautiful things we can see and enjoy along the way, that’s surely the way to go.
If conduct ourselves with integrity, trying to be the best we can as we react to what life throws at us along the journey, knowing that it’s a journey we’ve chosen, and can choose to change, that’s surely the way to go.
So, look to your own journey, because you’re surely on one!
Are you letting yourself be directed by life circumstance, by others? Or, are you setting your own sail, knowing that while the winds might take you off course, ultimately it’s your decision which way your journey points, and how you enjoy it along the way.
If we do this, then we are heeding the words of Ursula K Le Guin – “it’s important to have an end to journey towards, but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.”
Do let me know what you think, I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. If you’d like to do something about the journey, to make some changes, then take a look at my free video series covering my 8 step goal achievement formula!