How To Enjoy The Journey

I used to always be in a rush towards riches.

I would have this overwhelming feeling of racing towards the riches I seek, and at a pace that wasn’t fast enough.

But, in the past, I’d receive advice from mentors along the lines of, “Enjoy the journey.”

Enjoy the journey?”, I’d think to myself. “How could I enjoy my current situation, it sucks!” Back then I didn’t listen nor understand  their wise words.

But after going full circle… it makes complete sense to me now.

I think the best material I’ve come across that displays themes of enjoying the journey come from the book, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo and the poem “Ithaka” by C.P. Cavafy.

I’m going to share that poem here, and break it down afterwards, mostly because it’s shorter than my notes from “The Alchemist”.

Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

My Interpretation

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high
,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.

To me, I see this as fear, challenges, etc. are all in your mind. The journey is the battle of the mind.

This is why I spend a lot of time talking about mental attitude. When I started focusing on mindset that’s when things changed for me.

May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.

To me this whole part is about gratitude. Being aware you have a certain destination in mind, but to not forget the abundance that is always around you.

I talked about this in a previous post… in short, I see rookies have wealthy goals, but they don’t have a wealthy mind. They don’t see the current abundance around them so it prevents them seeing abundance at all.

But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

I think we all start out thinking our destination is a city of riches, or treasure, or whatever. But when you go through the journey you learn it’s not about what you thought you were seeking.

What it’s really about is your growth, your realization that you can pursue and follow through anything. That growth is what made you rich, not the destination. It’s the realization you are the creator. You are the riches.

Again, the destination is NOT what made you rich, it’s the journey!

So it’s wrong to rush making $10,000 per month (or whatever)…  because you have to go through the journey to BECOME the person WORTH that amount.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean
.

Again, it’s not about the destination, it’s about who you’ve become. The destinations (Ithakas) actually mean the processes.

Lastly, this reminds me of a question I used to have when I’d read The Alchemist.

SPOILERS: In The Alchemist, when the boy finally found his treasure, it was buried at the very first spot the story began. So I used to always ask myself, “When will I go full circle?”

One thing I finally learned was everything I was seeking wasn’t an Ithaka or treasure. It was me. You seek yourself, or the limitless version of yourself. And these journeys just help you realize your limitless potential. You are the creator and you can inspire others.