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.


Do you ever meet someone and find them intriguing, for no reason?

Do you ever meet someone and just think they’re really interesting? Not in the way that they seem like a cool person or that you want to be friends but you feel drawn to them in some way?

It’s hard to explain, but I get this feeling sometimes. I’m a very observant person and I like to analyse people – not in a weird way, but in a way where I like to figure out who they are as a person. I look deeper into their mannerisms or the way they talk and I think about what they could be hiding. I’ll never know for sure by just looking, but a lot of the time I’m very good at sensing a person.

For this reason, I sometimes meet someone – or even just see them from a distance – and I just feel really intrigued by them, as if I know them in some way. It sounds really odd because it’s not a “wow I’m drawn to you because you’re attractive” feeling, but it’s also not a “you seem really nice let’s be friends” feeling either. It’s like some weird soul connection that doesn’t even involve any talking. And I probably sound insane but it’s something that just happens to me.

I think about this sometimes and wonder why or how it happens. It’s kind of similar to when I read a book and I feel like the writer knows me because they think in the same way as me. It may be because that person has been through similar experiences or they have a similar personality. But it’s very weird that I manage to pick this up from someone without even knowing or speaking to them. I’ve always been an empath and very susceptible to feeling other’s emotions so maybe that is part of it. Either way, I’ve made some strange connections out there, and the other person probably doesn’t even realise! I’ll always wonder if they feel it too.

Is all art man-made?

I’ve been thinking lately about art and what it means. I was reading something for my module on film theory and it made me think: is all art man-made? What even makes art art?

When most people think of the concept of art, they instantly think of paintings. In the most basic sense, that’s what art is, because it is something that is physically created and expressed via the mind’s capabilities of imagination. But literature is art too. And so are buildings. They’re designed and planned from seemingly nowhere and they represent something abstract. This makes art man-made, since these things all appear from human action.

However, what about sunsets? What about looking out at a field of flowers on a summer’s day? What about the way the snow falls on the edges of the branches, just enough to stay put and not fall to the ground? What about the tilt of a smile when it’s not quite meant to be there and tries to remain hidden but just can’t? What about the sky and the moon and the people you walk past everyday and every little thing in existence? Can’t any of these things be art?

Because if you can find beauty in something, then isn’t it artistic in nature? Maybe you believe in a God and in which case he is the artist of the world, but if you don’t, can something be art if it doesn’t have a creator? If you look hard enough at nature maybe you can find meaning to it, similarly to how you might read a book and see yourself reflected within it. Can’t looking at the sunset or a person’s mannerisms or any simple thing make you feel somehow comforted? As if it’s reaching into your soul on some other level that isn’t quite comprehensible. As if it’s a natural art that didn’t need to be thought up but just had to be noticed.

If these things are art, then art does not have to be man-made, it just has to exist.

 

Pablo Picasso Museum

I have just got back from my trip to Barcelona where I visited the Pablo Picasso Museum (it’s free for students wahey). I really love art in all kinds of forms but I haven’t had the chance to visit any art galleries in recent years which has been a shame – instead I wrote about my longing for it here. So it was pretty cool to finally get the chance!

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I can’t say that Pablo Picasso is my favourite artist, or that I would hang his art on my wall, but I don’t think these things have to be true for art to just be interesting. I have tendencies to analyse art as I look at it and so I ended up walking the halls thinking what does all this mean? What caused it to come alive?

As many of you probably know, Picasso’s artwork is abstract and to many may be seen as child’s art because it doesn’t accurately portray reality as we see it. But I think that just because it doesn’t seem like reality, doesn’t mean it can’t be.

What struck me the most as I was thinking about the way different shapes moulded together, was the way the paintings captured the jumbled nature of the inside of your head, on the outside. It’s almost a reverse viewing of the way your mind thinks except you actually see the struggle to comprehend rather than see a perfectly formed structure of a human being instead. This made me see the whole gallery completely differently. Picasso isn’t just imitating child’s work, he is perhaps imitating how he feels inside but through the conflicting elements of other characters and people. All his portraits are perhaps his way of trying to put himself into the mind of the person he is painting. And wow, do I love this whole idea. It makes me love his work even more.

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So if you ever get the chance to visit an art gallery, always remember that there are hidden meanings behind everything (even if they weren’t intentional). Art doesn’t have to be pretty or obvious to be successful. In fact, the ones I like the most are neither.

Answering Questions on Interesting Philosophical Concepts!

So for my 2 year blogging anniversary I asked you all to ask me questions with interesting philosophical concepts and I actually couldn’t have asked for better questions; you guys were great! So here are my answers and feel free to agree/refute/share your own view in the comments.


 

1. What do you think is the meaning of life?

I love this question because it’s so broad and there’s so many ways you can take it, but at the same time I have no idea where to start. If the world started by chance then ultimately there is no meaning to life, but if the world was started by a higher being, such as God, then maybe there is a purpose. Personally, I don’t really have an opinion on how the world began, not because I’m a cop out but because I like to have experienced the evidence to believe it, so instead I leave my options open. This makes it very hard to judge what the meaning of life is. However, in terms of the meaning of life for each individual person, it is completely subjective. For me, it is to be happy and to live my life to its fullest extent. In terms of humanity as a whole, I have this unexplained feeling that there is no meaning to life at all, yet this is why we need to drive ourselves to find our own meaning, otherwise we lose ourselves to this empty void.

2. What does it mean to live a good life?

This is such a difficult question because “good life” is likely to mean something completely different from one person to another. In terms of morality, there are many debates about whether one mistake makes your life bad or whether you can redeem yourself. I think a good life in this sense is if you’ve lived your life in the best way that you can. Even if you’ve made mistakes, if you’ve learnt from them and come out as an all-rounded good person then I would say your life is good. If we’re talking about a good life in terms of the present, I would say you have a good life if you have lots of reasons to make you smile and be happy. For some people, even in their worst of times, can find reasons to be happy and so a “good life” can seem like a “bad life” to someone else, or vice versa, but all that matters is how you view it yourself.

3. What should be the goal of humanity?

For me, the goal of my life is to be happy, and I think this should be the goal of humanity too. Of course, it’s unrealistic for everyone to be content with their lives, but I think to pass on a world that gives the greatest amount of happiness it can to future generations is what life should be about. Otherwise, what’s the point?

4. If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept would have the biggest positive impact on humanity?

This is so hard because I feel like there’s a lot of important qualities we should have as human beings, such as kindness, selflessness, etc. but I think the one that would make the biggest positive impact is respect. In a world of so many different kinds of people it is impossible for everyone to agree, but I think it’s important that we respect each other’s opinions regardless. With this kind of respect comes equality, greater happiness and confidence and I think these things are really important.

5. Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

When I first read this question, I had no idea what it meant, but I loved it because I enjoy trying to unpick metaphors. To me, the big fish is someone who’s happy, successful and has everything in life, but they are in a small pond so they have nowhere to travel to. The small fish is someone who is only just starting out, doesn’t have everything they want and are hardly successful, but they have this big pond to roam about in. Instantly, I thought it would be better to be the small fish, because what’s the point if you already have everything? I think the whole point of living is to grow into the best person you can be through finding new experiences and allowing yourself to roam around the big pond of life, rather than starting out great but being limited in places to go. To me, there is so much more achievement in actually working for something rather than it being given to you and it 100% makes you a better person for it.

On searching the internet, I found the meaning of this question was similar but also slightly different to what I had taken from it (story of my life). It’s the idea of whether you’d rather be with people that are above you in standard (big pond) or in a group of people below you in standard (small pond). I would still go with the small fish though and for the same reasoning too – without people smarter than you, how would you grow intellectually as a person? Your worth might seem insignificant but in the long run you may end up becoming the big fish in the big pond. It’s all about putting in the effort.

6. What happens after death?

Ahh what a classic philosophical question but I love it all the same! I’m one of those people that doesn’t have a certain belief about life after death. I love contemplating all the different options and there are certain ideas that appeal to me, for example in reincarnation the idea of living again and again sounds fun because the concept of there being nothing after death scares me. But I don’t necessarily believe it is true. All I hope for is that my death is peaceful and I end up in a happy place.

7. Why is the sky blue?

Damn now I’m going to be contemplating this every time I go outside. I’ve never really thought of why the sky is blue because it’s something that we’ve just got used to as humans. I guess it’s just like the colours of everything. Why are plants green? Why is my hair brown? It’s just a lucky draw and that’s how it is. But there is also the debate about colour where one thing might look like one colour to me, but a different colour to you, yet we universally call it the same colour. If I’ve confused you look this one up! It’s actually so interesting to contemplate.

8. What does it mean to exist?

For me, existing on a basis level is when you’re alive and have a heartbeat. However, when thinking about people who suffer from illnesses such as Dementia, are they considered as existing? I think existence, from this perspective, revolves around memories. Combining all these aspects I would say to exist is to have a heartbeat, to be able to feel and to be able to have memories.

9. Do you think cats are truly the gods of the universe, as ancient Egyptians believed?

Hahaha I love cats but I don’t think they’re the gods of the universe. I’m not sure anyone is really the god of the universe.

10. Why do we think and feel?

Hmmm I think we think and feel because we’re human and we’re in existence. If we couldn’t do either of these things, quite frankly, we might as well be a stone.

11. Just out of curiosity, do you have any favourite philosophers?

Ooh this is a tough one. There are many philosophers I find really interesting, such as Plato’s analogy of the cave and Freud’s analysis of the unconscious (despite how weird he is at times). I don’t think I have a favourite philosopher though because I think philosophy is all about looking at things in different ways and so it’s good to have knowledge of all different kinds of people. Therefore, they’re all kind of my favourite. They all unlock new ideas in my brain and I appreciate them all in different ways.

12. What do you think is the hardest question to answer?

This one? Nah I’m kidding, but this is pretty hard… I would probably say when people ask you what your favourite is of something, like your favourite book or your favourite movie. It’s not just because I’m indecisive (because let’s be honest I completely am), but because I think everything is valued in different ways and so it is impossible to have one that you value the most – and if you think you do, it probably isn’t accurate.

13. Do you think freewill is real or just an illusion?

Ahhh this one completely trips your brain out just thinking about it. It reminds me of the film The Adjustment Bureau which has such an amazing concept but it actually scares me to think someone could be controlling me. I know I would like to think freewill is real, but to be honest we actually can’t tell…

14. Where do you find the meaning of the life?

This is very similar to the first question I answered and at first I thought it was the same, but it’s actually asking where you find this meaning, not what it is. I think where you find the meaning of life depends on your outlook but I believe that to find meaning in your own life you need to look and appreciate all the little things – these are the things that make your existence worthwhile.

15. Do you think animals have the same life meaning as humans have?

I think this ultimately depends on what you believe the life meaning of humans is. As I’ve said above, to me my life purpose is to be happy and from this perspective, I would actually say the same for animals. I spoke to my friend about this question and she said that we won’t ever know whether we have the same life meaning as animals unless we have experienced it because we can’t truly understand. And I completely agree with this. There really is no way of telling.


 

I apologise for the amount of words this post has because I really did go overboard on my answers, but they were just so interesting! I hope they were as fun to read as it was to write. I’d love to know your view on these questions too, so please do leave your opinions in the comments and we can start a discussion going!