Success is so often a mirage, the journey is so much more important than the destination

I wrote a Tweet today about how I felt. It said… ‘Success is so often a mirage. The journey is so much more important than the destination.’

In response I received an anonymous message today that put into words with more eloquence than I can muster…

(note the YouTube clip above is from the soundtrack to ‘Crimson Tide’, the first half of which is what we loved Tony Scott for – bombast! – the second half being a hymn)

Hi Chris,

The sad news of Tony Scott’s death and your tweet about focusing on the journey as opposed to the destination has put me in a very reflective mood today.

I think that the importance of focusing on the journey cant be underestimated. There are many reasons for this, perhaps the most important one is that the destination doesn’t actually exist.

As filmmakers, we work so hard, push so much, squeeze everything we have, make sacrifices – all to get to THAT PLACE. Nerves become frayed, pressure mounts, visions blur – all because we try, relentlessly, to get to THAT PLACE.

But – there is no ‘place’. We may think there is – most commonly for folk like us, it is making feature films for a living. But a destination is a finite thing – and who really would stop once they have made a feature film? It would just be a continuation of the journey that we are ALREADY ON.

I see so many filmmakers with panda-eyes, wearing themselves down, worrying that they are running out of time. They are unaware that they are already DOING IT. If only they could stop for a moment and smell the roses.

I have actually stopped thinking about myself as a filmmaker – preferring ‘a person who makes films’. The change in syntax is slight, but very important. We are more than filmmakers – we have other dimensions. Other passions. More strands to our personalities and lives than folk who only scribble and hold a camera at people acting out those scribbles. We are not what we do. The danger of identifying too closely with our profession, any profession, is that a person will lose their sense of identity – lose a sense of who they are. So, if things don’t go as they hope with that one thing, they paint their entire selves with that failure. But we are not what we do. Believing that we are, losing ourselves and then being brought down because of that attachment is sad. In fact, there are not many things more tragic than that, in my opinion.

I care about other people. I care about other people that make films. Even the ones that I don’t know. But then again, knowing others isn’t important. To care about others you dont need to know other people, you only need to know yourself.

The key is living in the here and now. Not obsessing or resenting things in the past, or stressing about the future. We experience everything in the now. I think it is right that we spend as much time in the now as we can.

If we do this, then we will realise that the journey is all that counts.

It isn’t my place to comment on why Tony Scott did what he did – and the purpose of this email is certainly not to speculate – but maybe some people will read this and it will make sense.

The author has asked to remain anonymous. Thank you for writing and sharing.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My movies www.LivingSpiritGroup.com
My Facebook www.Facebook.com/ChrisJonesFilmmaker
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix

7 Responses to Success is so often a mirage, the journey is so much more important than the destination

  1. Gwyn August 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Very eloquent letter Chris, the author is spot on. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Andrea August 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    What a beautiful message, very heartfelt and truthful. Thank you both. xx

  3. Shuck August 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I loved this post. It contained such wisdom and love. It makes me excited about humanity….. Perhaps it is really true that we are waking up finally?! Becoming aware? Loving? Present? I think it’s a shame the author remained anonymous, as he/she is someone I would certainly love to work with. 🙂 Thank you both XXX love love love!

  4. Mike August 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I can’t agree entirely with those sentiments. Focusing on the here and now is, I suspect, a way of running away from the future or unresolved past. I am guessing (I don’t know) that Tony Scott turned from the here and now and focused on the future and was appalled by what he thought he saw. We all have futures and they have to be confronted not avoided. And I’m not necessarily preaching here what I practise because I’m as big a coward as the next guy. But that stuff needs dealing with even so. ‘Living in the moment’ is great advice for any actor. But it’s no way to live your whole life.

    • Chris August 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi Mike – consider this. Life is only real in the moment. The here and now.

      The rest is an imagined future or remebered past (which is also often re-imagined).

      How long do we spend in those two non existent places? The future? The past? And how do we interact with them? Replaying past things throuh rose tinted glasses or imagining situations that have not yet happened (and often may never happen).

      I am not suggesting we run from our past or ignore our future, but we do need to remember that the present is all that is real. When you go on holiday, on the last day, lying on a beach in the Caribean for instance, are you there? Or are you really in the rainy streets of where you live and living in a future and not enjoying the present on a beach?

  5. Mike August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I take your point, but I think it’s more accurate to describe the past, present and future as part of a continuum. The consequences of one affect the other, whether we like it or not. What I disagreed with most in your anonymous contributor’s piece (and there was much to admire there too) was the suggestion that it’s only the journey that counts. That strikes me as reducing life to something without purpose other than simply ‘experiencing’ the moment.

  6. gina September 4, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Everyone makes a valid and valuable point here and everyone’s individual experiences, perceptions and attitudes make life a unique experience for each one of us. Remember, perception itself is unique and unjustifiable. The journey and destination are relative and success is only truly measured by the achiever.
    Bon voyage!

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