What Matters More: The Journey Or The Result?

When you sit back and think about your life, what has been driving you forward? Is it something you have chosen? Is it society’s system? And do you wish it was any different?

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about the impact of the education system and a world where results and achievements are considered the “be all and end all”. We live in a society, particularly as we are growing up, where we are constantly taught to think about the end result – the grade, the next school and the move to college, university or work. We are looking ahead because we are told that’s how we make a life for ourselves. But what about our life in the present moment?

In my opinion, the education system never placed enough emphasis on learning for learning’s sake. It felt like every piece of content thrown our way was there to simply learn and regurgitate. And yes, many of us did enjoy certain aspects of school, perhaps because we found our own way to find meaning in what was given to us. However, why not teach children how to find that meaning? Instead of driving end results that tear down those who haven’t yet found their passion, why not teach them how to enjoy the ride?

The problem with focusing too much on the end result, such as achieving a grade or securing a job, is that the moment is fleeting. The emotions associated with success and fulfillment don’t last forever, because if we tie our self-worth to one single end goal, what will we then be without it? As much as an end result or goal may motivate us to get up in the morning and do what we need to do to succeed, it teaches us that there is nothing else out there for us if we can’t do it – or even if we can. Why work solely towards something that is impermanent – an end result simply for achievements sake? Why not appreciate a journey that is filled with permanent meaning, regardless of the outcome?

I think it’s interesting to ask others what they believe is more important: The journey or the result. It’s interesting because I think most people would say journey, but whether this reflects in their lives is a whole different matter. Do we really appreciate the journey if we let failure destroy our sense of self? Do we really appreciate the journey if we are getting impatient towards our goals? It is easy to forget that the present moment is often valuable in itself. As much as the future holds meaning and value for many of us, it doesn’t exist yet. It is only what we do now, in the present, that even makes it an eventual reality.

So, next time you find yourself working towards an end result, take a step back and reflect on your emotions. Are you placing too much of your sense of self in the outcome, or do you know you are valuable, regardless? Are you getting agitated at the steps you need to reach a goal, or are you feeling gratitude towards what you are learning along the way?

We all get wrapped up in results – it’s inevitable. In many ways, results is what keeps the world moving. But we must remember to detach our self-worth from it. We are more than what we have to show.

What matters more to you: the journey or the result?

I would love to hear your perspective on this topic in the comments.


Answering “big talk” questions!

A week ago I published a blog post about why I hate small talk and why we should “big talk”. I gave you all a list of questions and some of you answered them which was really great and I enjoyed looking at it from a different perspective. Here I will be sharing my own answers in response to the questions so you can learn a bit more about me in return 🙂

1. Do you believe in life after death? How would you want to live on in the afterlife? How do you think you’ll live on?

To be honest, I’m unsure of whether there’s a life after death. I’m the kind of person who needs proof to completely believe in something and so I have no real conclusion about it. However, it does scare me to think that when we leave this world there is a void of nothingness, so I like to think that there is some sort of purpose. Ideally, I think it would be cool to be reincarnated and live again in another body. I find it quite hard to comprehend at times – the idea of not remembering a past life is a confusing thought – but I still like to think that it will happen, just so that I have some sort of purpose or that I can come back and change things I would have liked to have done before.

2. Do you think there is an alternate reality and if so, how does it correspond to this world?

Again, there is no proof of an alternate reality so I am neither a believer nor non-believer, but I love thinking about the concept of one. Sometimes we all have days where we feel happy or down for no reason and perhaps that corresponds to an alternate reality where we feel the opposite of our other self. The idea of there being another version of me is pretty weird, but also kind of exciting. I don’t know. Maybe it exists or maybe it doesn’t. But maybe someday we’ll find out!

3. Do you believe in soulmates or having more than one?

I’m not sure I really believe in soulmates, however I do believe that there are some people you have an instant connection with – whether that is as friends or as a relationship. Some people you easily click with and others you don’t. Some people you become closer too quicker than others who you may have known for ages. It’s unpredictable. Therefore I think if you considered these connections as “soulmates” of some sort, you can have more than one, yes.

4. Is anything in this world real?

To be honest, it isn’t guaranteed that it is. This is all we’ve known so how we would know otherwise? We could be part of a video game. We could be a made up dream inside someone’s head. Maybe I’m the only person who exists in this world and everything else, including all of you guys, is a figment of my imagination. But either way, to prevent myself going insane, I have to pretend that it is all real. And after all, it is real enough. If we haven’t known any different, it has to be considered our reality.

5. Is evil born within someone or does it grow with age?

I don’t think that anyone was born evil; I’m pretty sure we were all born somewhat pure. Society and other people’s influences on our lives is what shapes us into a good or evil person. Everyone has the potential for goodness and everyone has the potential to be evil. Some are just unlucky in the path of life they’ve taken and things have caused them to become a worse off person than they could have been. However I do think that some people are more susceptible to becoming evil than others, depending on their personality. This is not something that can be helped and so really the person themselves cannot be blamed, but there are certain traits and attributes which might make someone more vulnerable to aspects of life, and thus lash out in different ways. Considering this, I therefore believe that no one is actually born evil, but some people are born with a higher susceptibility to become it.

6. Does true freewill exist?

Again, this is something that is pretty debatable because there is really no way of knowing whether we have actual freewill. We like to think that we do. When we make decisions we are pretty sure they are coming from our own brain. But really, how can we prove that they are? Perhaps our future actions are already determined and there is a higher being that knows exactly what route we will take – has chosen what route we will take. It’s inevitably impossible to know how free we really are.

7. What is considered art?

This is a difficult one because in some sense, everything is art. When I think of the concept of art I see it as something that I can extract a meaning or story from. It expresses an emotion or an experience in perhaps an abstract way. Holistically, anything can do this. You can take a meaning out of anything in this world and give it a life if you choose to. However I think what makes true art is something that someone has created from within the realms of their head, rather than something that is natural. It goes against the laws of nature and becomes a mind-process rather than a physical process. This of course rules out nature, but for those who believe in God, nature may be believed to be designed by Him so surely that is art too? Even a bottle of hand soap, for instance, was designed by someone so isn’t that art too? This makes it quite complicated to draw a line between what is or what is not art. Therefore I think it is conclusively a subjective concept. What you think expresses meaning is meaningful enough to be art for you. It may not be art to someone else but it is still art. Really, there is no way of proving otherwise.

8. Does complete happiness exist or is it just an unobtainable concept?

Without trying to sound completely cynical, I don’t think complete happiness can ever really be achieved. I think happiness as a concept exists – of course it does – and there are many things in this world that make people smile and cause a sense of enjoyment. However the fact that the opposite of these things exist too – that we are also weighed down by sadness and stress and tragedies – means that there is no way to completely clear our head of what is “bad”. And without clearing our head of what is “bad”, how can we be completely happy? We can become close, but we can never actually reach it.

9. Is there ever a right or wrong? Is anything really objective?

There are lots of things in this world that are seemingly objective – government laws and educational grades – however when you really think about it, these aren’t really objective at all. If they were initially created by people, they were initially created by an individual thought which in itself is a matter of opinion. Not everyone has the same opinion – it is impossible to – and so really the creation of laws were a matter of subjectivity. We have been forced to follow them objectively despite their roots and have become accustomed to not do otherwise. We can even think about language itself – it is objective as in there is a right and wrong way to use it, however it was once created by people just like us who made it up out of nowhere. It was merely a sense of imaginative thinking. Everything that exists today originated from a sense of subjective thinking and so can anything really be considered right or wrong if it all stems from human intuition?

10. Can we really believe anything anyone says when we have only experienced our own conscious reality?

This last question kind of links to the previous one in that it questions the strength of a sense of duty in this world, however it also mentions our own conscious reality and how we see things. I find it really interesting how we can never really see anything from someone else’s perspective, no matter how hard we try. We can come close to it, but it will never be the same because, as the question says, we have only ever experienced our own conscious reality. This makes it difficult for us to believe in what people say because ultimately we can’t really trust anything when we have no complete proof. However I think that we have to trust to some extent because that is the only way to move forward in our lives. We may not ever understand the reality of others but we can get to know them from an outsiders perspective and for some, this is enough. Whilst I often wish I could delve into the lives of others to know what it’s really like, I know it’s not possible (or not yet, anyway) and so we must make do with how things are. Maybe some people are not genuine but that’s just how life is.

So overall, this post turned out a lot longer than I expected. I’m sure most of you won’t have read through all of that but I am going to post it anyway as I think it’ll be nice to look back on this in a few years time to see if any of my views have changed.

I hope summer is going well for you all and I wish anyone who is getting A level results on Thursday a lot of luck! I hope you all get the grades you deserve! 🙂

Why I hate small talk – let’s “big talk”!

The idea for this post stemmed from a video I watched on YouTube a while ago – the idea that some of us out there are more interested in what is known as “big talk” rather than “small talk”. This is the concept of approaching someone and asking them deeper questions which revolve around us and our existence or the personal experiences of someone else, rather than the everyday questions of “how are you?”

This is something that I’ve contemplated for a while, being someone who finds the overused conversation of “hi, how are you?”, “yeah I’m good, how are you?”, “I’m good too, thanks” really irritating. I find that if you don’t know the person well enough, then the likelihood of you actually opening up to the question to give a meaningful answer is very low, so what is the point in asking it?

The woman in this video puts together a selection of clips where she asks strangers deeper questions and I love the idea of this. It gets people to actually dig their brain for a suitable answer and think beyond the realms of everyday thinking which is a lot more beneficial than replying by reflex. So I thought, why not bring the same to the blogging world?

I will ask an array of questions below that are considered “big talk” and it would be great if you could pick one (or as many as you like) to answer in the comments and we can have a discussion! Similarly, if you have a question you’d like to share, feel free to share it too as I’d love to answer 🙂

  1. Do you believe in life after death? How would you want to live on in the afterlife? How do you think you’ll live on?
  2. Do you think there is an alternate reality and if so, how does it correspond to this world?
  3. Do you believe in soulmates or having more than one?
  4. Is anything in this world real?
  5. Is evil born within someone or does it grow with age?
  6. Does true freewill exist?
  7. What is considered art?
  8. Does complete happiness exist or is it just an unobtainable concept?
  9. Is there ever a right or wrong? Is anything really objective?
  10. Can we really believe anything anyone says when we have only experienced our own conscious reality?

You can now read my answers to these questions here.

Image result for small talk