“It’s The Journey That Counts.” Or Is It?

March 19, 2010

There is a wise, insightful saying in currency these days. You may hear variations of it such as, “It’s the journey that counts,” “It’s the journey,” or, “What counts is the journey.”

The idea behind the saying is this: if you only think about the goal that you are working toward, you may fail to notice, appreciate, and benefit from what you experience during the process of reaching that goal.

True enough.

Some people even say “What counts is the journey” as if it discounted the importance and validity of having a goal. In a switch of perspective, it turns out that the journey is the goal.


Wisdom often makes its appearance as a switch of perspective or even a complete reversal of thinking. This often yields a surprising burst of insight.

But to be surprising is not enough. To be valuable, such a switch also has to be true.

If “What counts is the journey” has been helpful to you, I have no wish to take that away from you.

Nonetheless, I would like to clarify something.

The journey is not the goal. Only the goal is the goal.

You may enjoy the ride to the next town to visit your friend, but don’t you feel good when you get there?

The point at which the goal is no longer the goal is when you fulfill it. Then it becomes your new environment.

I would say that you should not discount the goal in favor of the journey. If you have no goal, you won’t be able to fulfill anything.

As I said in Answers From Silence, “Uniting with your Enlightened Self is the completion of your quest.”

It’s really nice to reach the goal. And I’m sure you will.