The Journey is the Reward

John - Ambler, Pennsylvania
Entered on October 29, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50


I believe the Journey is the Reward! That, to say, the Journey(s) in life or the pursuit of life itself and our achievement or improvement or winning or fame or whatever we choose, the reward is in the journey itself, not the destination. For me it has not been the end result but the process of getting there that has been most satisfying. This is in contrast to many religions who preach that our actions on earth may define a better reward in later life and typically suggest that those actions should be a struggle or sacrifice or painful. I will agree that the Journey is often not easy but that it is in the struggle and effort made that the reward is fully appreciated. The Journey itself may be physically or mentally a great struggle but it’s at the same time a reward that is always positive.

As an athlete I rose to the top, competing at the world class level for eight years, winning many races and traveling the world in the process. But it was not the finals of the World Championships or the Olympics that brought me glory or goose-bumps it was the daily workouts, the methodical training, time spent perfecting technique or improving cardiovascular base or strength. The reward was the continuous increase in the ability to consume and transport oxygen more efficiently, to become faster and closer to perfect every day – though I never really got there or could not expect to. Ask today’s great athletes; Tiger, Michael, Tom… and I’m sure they’ll tell you it’s not winning the prize in the end that is most rewarding but it was and is the process of getting to the stage that brings the greatest joy and reward.

As a businessman I took and idea and grew it into a thriving business. From one person to 250 the company grew by generally breaking the rules of our industry. We quickly became the leader and the business was modeled by much bigger brands and competitors. Recently my company was purchased by a private equity group – the ultimate goal or reward for many good American entrepreneurs – to be sought after and acquired. But the reward for me was not in the ultimate sale of the business. The reward came from the daily growth, the wins, the increasing employment, the great people, the expansion and the thank you’s along the way.

As a father and husband I took a journey that I hope few more have to travel as our oldest son was diagnosed with an aggressive malignant brain tumor at the age of twelve. In the end, after fifteen months of treatment at the best hospitals, with the best doctors and nurses, searching, testing, believing and praying we lost “our” battle and our son left us. What reward could possibly come for this struggle? Along the journey I/we experienced a degree of love I did not to this point comprehend. The caring and help offered and provided by professionals, by friends by people we never met before and may never again proved the beauty of compassion within the human spirit. This journey included a wealth of glorious time and understanding with my son and my family. And while the time was short the experience, the reward, will be with us forever.

So I believe the Reward is, and continues to be, in our Journey – not our destination!