The Prize Is the Pursuit

Many who claim that they want the freedom, fulfillment and prosperity of being their own boss, actually don’t believe that it’s possible for them. If they did they’d at least be in pursuit of self-employment happiness. Our United States forefathers, in our Declaration of Independence wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

They understood that happiness is something to be pursued. The truly valuable prize is found in the decision to pursue and is the pursuit itself. Many feel that the greater value and joy is the pursuit, is the journey, than the destination.

Why is the prize the pursuit?

1). When in pursuit of something you have already made the decision to go for it and thus you believe that it’s possible for you.

2). While focused in the pursuit you are fully in the present moment, which is your only point of creative power.

Waiting is a state of mind. Basically it means that you want the future; you don’t want the present. —- Eckhart Tolle

3). In the movement of pursuit our perspective changes and we can see opportunities that we were previously blind to. It’s called the corridor theory. In 1998 I was speaking at the downtown Pittsburgh Business Library. After the talk, a guy came out of the audience and asked me if I’d ever done any coaching. At that time I hadn’t, yet if I had not walked down the corridor of professional speaking, the door to greater delightful work would not have opened.

4). In pursuit we often stumble, but our mistakes hold rich meaning because we now have an understanding from which we can adjust. Before pursuit, at best, our effort is a mind game of untested theories and assumptions.

In this post I discussed how to get beyond the excuses that stop us from pursuing the liberty of self-employment.

Of course we can apply this wisdom to more than declaring our freedom from the tyranny of employment.

It can be applied to anything we say we want that we are not yet actively pursuing.

I believe that Teddy Roosevelt said it best.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. Teddy Roosevelt

Are you in the arena or still watching from the sidelines?

Have you experienced the value of being in pursuit of your happiness?


  1. First things first, I love the Declaration of Independence quote. Second, yes I have experienced the value of being in pursuit of my happiness and I haven’t stop pursuing. The pace of my pursuit might change depending on what’s happening with my life, but the chase is always on…

    I’ll stop pursuing once I’ve achieved a balance between my passion and my financial security.

  2. Hi Tom – great post. I really like the quote from Eckhart Tolle, too!

    I do think that your point #4 (stumbling) is something that we can get too caught up on. These are the natural learning process towards the eventual success.

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..The Hero with a Thousand Jobs

  3. This is a totally masculine approach.

    I agree that the pursuit is more than the journey, it’s journey with focused action. I wonder however, that the pursuit might be a particularly yang (masculine) carrot which stays ever ahead of the pursuer. Aren’t males always pursuing and when the object of their pursuit is attained, they look to pursue yet another ______ (name it).

    The prize, in the pursuit huh? The prize IS the pursuit?

    Finding happiness in the moment, ala Eckardt, is really the only place happiness exists, ala Esther Hicks.

    “Find something to be Happy about and all else will be added unto you” A bunch of people.

    I believe it is truly about finding the place inside you that follows your inspiration and performing your inspired actions, rather than doggedly pursuing something in the future that you don’t feel as though you have.

    Check out my recent post:



  4. Tom: This post is actually very relevant to my post on happiness published over at The Change Blog. Dan Gilbert explains in his book “Stumbling on Happiness” that for most of us happiness is a carrot that we’re always chasing after and yet never reach; as soon as it looks like we might reach it we just set the bar a little bit harder. I’m all for setting goals–heaven knows that I have a lot of them–and I’m very action-oriented, but there’s a quote that says that the wise man grows happiness under his feet. I want to be happy now, while I pursue my goals.

    Marelisas last blog post..Making Time to Create

  5. Tim Brownson says:

    Oh bloody hell, I just did a really long reply and it got lost when I hit submit!

    Anyway, you know my opinions Tom and you knew I’d be over here causing trouble 😉

    I believe that happiness is 100% internal and think by talking about it as being something we pursue we help build the belief that it’s external.

    Do we really need to chase something that is within us all the time? Nobody can ever take away the ability to be happy so having it in the DOI is a moot point imho.

    Semantics I know Tom because I’m with you all the way on 99% of the post.

    Tim Brownsons last blog post..Ways To Be Miserable – The Video

  6. We do need to get down into the mix to see if owning a business is for us. I recently read a post that stated that people just need to make the leap. I content that we need to make the leap when we have a network in place. No one is an island and to make it as a blogger or in the restaurant business we need contacts that support us.

    It’s all about baby steps. If you aren’t quite sure then start it on the side, but at least you are making a go of it and seeing if the business fits.

    Karl – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..Never Stop Expanding Your Network

  7. Evelyn Lim says:

    I count myself in the arena. I’ve put myself in an area of discomfort, at least for now. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought of being in the personal development field, knowing how dysfunctional I was….LOL!!

    The most astonishing thing to me is that I also discovered spirituality in the process. Yes…it is no longer about the money…it is more about happiness. It is also not about reaching enlightenment but it is very much the journey. I wake up each day not knowing where my journey is leading me to…how exciting!

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..10 Insights Into The Power Of Thoughts

  8. Well, I’ll comment even though I have no recent post to reference. :O)

    It is nice when the pursuit IS the happiness. I guess it depends on what the goal is. Is it to get to a certain place or is it to see getting to that place as a journey to be enjoyed. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to get there we miss the magic of the journey.

    About stumbling….I am continuing to learn a lot about how my recent stumble will benefit me in the long run. Sometimes a stumble forces you to stop and see something you may have missed before. I really believe I will be better for having tripped and skinned my knees a bit.

  9. Chris welcome. I’m glad to see that you are enjoying the pursuit. Tally ho!

    Karl everyone needs to make the leap in their own time. Can you quantify when your network will be built enough? Yes, beginning on the side is an excellent approach that works well for some.

    Al stumbling is a natural learning process, well put. That’s an excellent way of looking at mistakes.

    Fawn I don’t think you ought to put us guys all in the same basket. Although many have pursued the new next toy, for example, that has never been the object of my pursuit. I pursue more of a feeling or a state of being and I can tell when my adjustments get me closer.

    I love your suggested title change, in fact I’ve used it, thanks!
    I cannot disagree with the rest of what you wrote. It’s funny how I was thinking in the present moment when I wrote this and you’ve labeled me as a future seeker. No true but no offense taken. 🙂

    Marelisa if you get this email please comment again with that link. I’m with you, happiness now and being active in pursuit of higher levels is what makes me happy.

    Laurie absolutely, it’s better to skin your knee now and consciously adjust than to avoid observing and get run over by a truck later.

    Tim I concur fine sir. Happiness is indeed an internal choice. Who says my pursuit of it isn’t an internal journey? What led you to believe it was otherwise?

    Evelyn I knew you were a fellow bloodied but not bowed gladiator. The unknown journey is delightful when fully engaged.

  10. The prize is in the pursuit. I agree completely – that’s where it’s at. A recent example that comes to mind, and I believe is about this (no matter what your thoughts are on the issue). Football: Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. Being close (geographically) to this, I’ve heard a lot. Here is what I think: Brett chose to continue to play football because of the prize is the pursuit. He’s already got many awards, and more to come (Hall of Fame). But his passion is “playing” football. He left, and then realized, the prize at the end wasn’t the same as the prize he got in the pursuit.

    It’s a lesson for all of us. If we’re doing what we love, that’s where the joy is, where the excitement is, where the prize is.

    Lances last blog post..Olympic Strength – It’s In All of Us

  11. Tim Brownson says:

    @ Tom – Because the word pursuit implies that we are chasing something and if it’s just sat there waiting to be let out we don’t really need to pursue.

    That’s what I mean about semantics, I’m sure at a deep level we’re saying much the same thing, but that wouldn’t make for much of a debate, now would it? 😉

    Tim Brownsons last blog post..Two Little Words To Change Your Life

  12. Hi Tom – this is an interesting topic. I’ve experienced it both ways – enjoying the pursuit and completely focusing on the end result. Enjoying the pursuit is definitely better – especially if the end result is financial.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Relationships: Are You Kissing Goodbye To Success?

  13. Tim fair enough my friend. Your debatable self is always welcome here. 🙂

    Cath that’s an important distinction. It seems as though the focus on money alone truly gums up the works. Yet when we focus on the feeling that the money brings the cash comes along for the ride.

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