Success is the journey not the destination

Bird Droppings July 27, 2011
Success is the journey, not the destination

My mother called me on a Saturday several years back all excited as she was listening to one of my father’s speeches from back in the day. I could hear my father’s booming speaking voice in the back ground from the tape recording. She mentioned a speech on Maximizing Success that he did in 1985 and we had recorded for our customers and clients with what was then our family company The International Loss Control Institute. Dad traveled at that time nearly seventy five percent of the time often staying in a country for weeks lecturing and teaching about his ideas on Loss Control management.
As she read the line I have used as a title today it brought back memories of a yellow sticky note and my sons hand writing affixed to my computer back in 1996 or so when a teenager was killed in a car wreck that was very close to many of us. Written on the note was a line from an Aerosmith song from a 1993 CD, Get a Grip and a song entitled Amazing by Steven Tyler. The line read life’s a journey not a destination.

“Life’s a journey not a destination and I just can’t tell just what tomorrow bring… yeah. You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk.” Steven Tyler

Seldom do I ever use the entire line of the lyrics when I quote Steven Tyler trying to get a bit more emphasis from the words. But as I looked today and have been for so many years intrigued by developmentalists the second part, you have to crawl before you learn how to walk caught my attention today. It could be that I had just read excerpts from Rabbi Gans writings and in his thoughts success is a progression towards a goal more than attainment of that goal.
Years ago I was directly and indirectly involved in a program entitled The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential. Dr. Glenn Doman and Dr. Karl Delacato who were the developers and implementers of this concept. The idea basically was that in working with brain injured children and adults you could retrain portions of the brain undamaged to take over for the damaged portions. A simple concept and when pondering that stories go Einstein only used ten percent of his brain capacity it seems logical. The simple version of their philosophy was you have to creep, and then crawl before you walk. By training and retraining the brain in those patterns you could accomplish great things with brain injured individuals. Perhaps a glimpse at what IAHP does through their philosophy would provide a window.

“Where there is life there is hope. There is no such thing as false hope–it is a contradiction in terms. However, there is false despair. For centuries brain-injured children have been warehoused and forgotten. The Institutes believe that every brain-injured child deserves a fighting chance to be well. It is the mission of The Institutes to give parents the knowledge they need so that their brain-injured children may have that fighting chance. Further, The Institutes proposes that every child born has a right to be intellectually, physically, and socially excellent. The Institutes recognizes that parents are the most important teachers that their children will ever have. When parents know how the brain grows and why it grows the way it does, they are the very best teachers their children will ever have.” The Philosophy Of The Institutes, 2009

A serious issue with many is that there is no scientific proof their ideas work. They tend to refrain from control and excremental groups and if a parent wants help they will try and teach those parents the journey. My younger brother for a number of years was involved and in those years I saw improvement. Myself I was involved in a college program in Texas not only in Human Development classes but in the program myself as a college flunk out and one who more than likely had suffered brain injury at birth from seizures and epilepsy. But I did see success stories every day in their programs. Success many times is measured in minute increments when dealing with a brain injured child. Raising their head unassisted or feeding themselves can be a substantial goal if they had never done that before.

“Success is the journey not the destination.” Frank E. Bird Jr., 1985 Maximizing Success

I found it interesting my mother as we talked had googled the quote from my father and much as I did this morning found many hits but no specific person to attribute the quote to. However as I read I came upon a passage and article reprinted from a book.

“When you travel, you no doubt have a destination in mind. Reaching that destination is the end of a long process. First comes the journey, then the destination. It is the same with any goal; first you make the preliminary steps, then you reach the goal. All the steps in between are part of a long process called “success.” So whenever you set a goal and fall short of reaching it, or you miss the deadline to complete it, you can still be proud of your accomplishments, because as long as you are making progress, you are traveling on the road of success. You are not a failure if you miss a goal, but you are a failure if you stop trying, because once that happens you have brought the journey to a close.” Rabbi Moshe Gans, Success, 1996

As I read this short paragraph many of the ideas I had been pondering for now thirteen years made sense. We do have a goal a destination but our true success is not attainment of that goal but that we are progressing towards that goal. Imagine the applications to education. Immediately I thought of standardized testing with only an end point. Rabbi Gans would say how do you measure the success if you only have a goal and no progress. Essentially we should be measuring the progress not the end results. Where did that student start and where have they gone in their learning. In a learning focused school environment that would be a pre-test and post-test which gives you the journey and a map of where they are going. Sadly we only use the measure of end of course test in so many instances.
I have wandered and pondered many thoughts this morning and still have more reading and writing to do. Success is a journey it is about progressing towards a goal and attaining that goal. Maybe if enough people make a goal of world peace and we head in the right direction we can be successful. Maybe we can progress towards world peace. That would be a nice thought for today. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

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