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It’s Not Always About the Goal, Sometimes the Journey Is More Important

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There is nothing wrong in setting a goal in life in order to help manifest your vision of yourself years from now. These goals serve as a challenge so you will push yourself to do better. The only problem is when you become too obsessed with the bigger picture and you tend to forget the small details. You end up stressing out on how to get to the end that you no longer enjoy the process.

It is easy to lose sight on the most important things in life if you obsess on the bigger goal that needs to be achieved. You spend too much time planning and thinking how to move forward. You force yourself to forget everything else just because you really want to reach a goal. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I still happy?” “What have I missed because I was very goal-oriented?”

Eventually, you will realize that even if you have achieved the bigger goals, you have not found true happiness. It seems like you have won, but deep inside, it feels empty.

Let us take people who are traveling for instance, everyone is too busy taking photos and looking good in them instead of enjoying the sites and the entire experience. The lesson is to stop taking control of everything and savor the moment. Put the camera down and soak in the beauty of the moment.

Here are 5 reasons why the journey you’re on is more important than the eventual goal:

1. Achieving goals doesn’t mean you are successful

One of the reasons why people obsess with what the future holds is because they think that achieving goals means they have succeeded in life. By constantly doing this, you anchor your entire existence on that goal. The moment you fail in achieving the goal, you think that you are a big failure, which is not true. If you enjoy the process, regardless of the outcome, you will still feel good. You have traveled, learned from your mistakes, met people and become inspired.

2. Life is about making memories

For instance, you are running a business. You have this idea that you can only call yourself successful if you have made lots of money. Whether it is in business or in life, creating memories is more important than raking in lots of income. It is about the people you have helped by employing them.

It is also about the customers who were satisfied because you cared for their needs. It is also about how you overcome the challenges with your entire team, along with the members of your family. These moments, big or small, create great memories. Cherish them and you will be happy.

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” – Rosa Parks

3. The plan won’t always be perfect

Again, there is nothing wrong in having a plan. It is great if you know where to go first and what to do next. However, this should come with the mentality that not all things will go as planned. Nothing will ever go the way they are meant to be. There are unexpected changes along the way.

The key is how you embrace things that happened not according to plan and still find meaning in them. Happiness is about going with the flow. It is about trusting that good things will surely come along the way. It is also in letting go of a rigid plan that you learn to embrace life in all its complexities and uncertainties.

4. Don’t stay in your comfort zone

The biggest problem when you are too obsessed in following a plan is that you are consumed with the idea that there is only one path. There is no other path towards success and you should stick with what you are already comfortable of. Along the way, you will feel too comfortable that you are no longer willing to take the risk.

You are too scared to step out of your current path. You don’t want to move away because you think it will derail the achievement of your goals. You are no longer excited in trying new things. Soon, your life becomes really dry and you won’t see the meaning of everything that you do.

“Step so far outside your comfort zone that you forget how to get back.”

5. It is about following your heart

Take a moment to reflect and think about the plan that you had right from the start. Is it really what you want, or are you just doing it because it is how success was defined by people around you? Delve deeper and listen to your heart.

You might be on a path that you don’t really want, but you are forced to be in. Listen to your heart’s desires and this will make you a better person. Learn how to follow your passion and let your heart guide you to the right path.

Ultimately, you will only feel happy if you know that you are doing what you really love. You will even learn how to not obsess on a goal because you are just savoring every moment in your life. You will also realize that whether or not you will achieve something really big, you will be just as happy and fulfilled.

Important reminders:

  • When traveling, don’t think about your social media posts, take photos for yourself and not for others. Better yet, take photos only when you have already cherished the place.
  • Learn how to appreciate the small things. Take a pause just to smell the fresh flowers on your way to work. Appreciate the smiles of children heading to school. Be happy that you still have a job and you have something important to do for the day.
  • Say thank you to people around you even for the smallest things that they have done. Always let them know just how much you appreciate them.
  • Create smaller goals in life. If you really cannot let go of the idea that there is a bigger plan to achieve, create smaller objectives that are achievable on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Give yourself time to reflect and just be quiet. Amid the bustling noise in the city or the stressful nature of your work, you still need time to take a pause and just be quiet for a few minutes each day. This allows you to enjoy the moment and look back at all the positive things that happened during the day.

Don’t be defined by one definition of success. You can always find success even in the smallest things. You must have different sources of happiness and don’t let yourself be tied up to one goal as it could be really heartbreaking should you not achieve that goal. Just be you and do what you do best.

How do you define success? Comment below as we are curious to know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Ella Flores, business consultant specializing in brand marketing and promotion, enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise with both her local community of Austin, TX, and online as a contributing writer to many popular business news and blog sites. She encourages business owners to explore the many different marketing avenues available to them, with consistent branding from their building custom signs down to their email signature.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Aaron Force

    Mar 23, 2018 at 4:13 am

    Hi, Ella. You are so right— sometimes the journey is more important. Our lives are the string of moments that we live every day. It is such an easy trap to fall into, to believe that success is a future thing. That is so subjective, though. The only thing we can know is the present moment. If all we look forward to is the future than we have missed our life altogether. Thank you for bringing this fresh perspective to A2S; it’s a great reminder for all of us.

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Life

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed

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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)

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How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost

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A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.

Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.

Why Problems Overwhelm Us

As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?

Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.

How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.

Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.

Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie

How to Take Action in the Face of Problems

Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”

In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”

To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:

1. First, I acknowledged the feeling

Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”

Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.

2. Next, I prepared for the worst

We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.

In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.

The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Lastly, I examined the situation

Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.

I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.

Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.

The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.

Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.

Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.

How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!

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8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing

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You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.

Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.

With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.

Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.

2. Stay Physically Active

As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.

You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman

3. Get Sufficient Sleep

Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.

Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.

4. Develop a New Hobby

Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.

Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.

5. Eat Healthy

Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.

Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.

6. Laugh Your Heart Out

Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.

And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?

7. Try Relaxation Techniques

‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.

Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.

“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy

8. Count Your Blessings

We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.

You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.

There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.

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How You Can Use the Power of Gratitude to Your Advantage

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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)

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