In his book “The Prince”, Machiavelli stated a strong case for results being more important that process. Students of his philosophy have argued the merits of his position ever since. Results are the only thing that matter, right? I know there have been times in my life where results were the only measure that made a difference. Nothing else mattered. Using a movie cliché, “show me the money!” Get me the result.
As important as results are, I believe life consists of something more than results. Perhaps it is my gray hair. Hopefully it is the reality of how Life continues to teach me. For whatever reason, the measure of life is more than destinations. I think Machiavelli got it absolutely backwards. One can, should measure Life by the steps we take, the path itself and not the destination. Measuring the outcome may indicate the journey, but not necessarily. How and why trump the priority of where and what.
It is not always easy to recognize how important processes are. It is easy to get caught in the trap that only goals are important. When I think of those who have left their mark on my life, I am reminded of individuals that achieved great things but the great things were not the true measure of their achievements. One could use metaphors to describe their impact as if they were mythological creatures; “He lowers the sky. He steps down; under his feet an abyss opens up.” (Psalm 18.9) If so, one could miss the critical element; they touched the lives of those around them for the better.
I recently listened to a call to set our destination. I agreed with the need to have a target. Knowing one’s aim is always important. As the room moved into silence, I found myself asking for a few more minutes. I wanted them to know that there is more, much more. It is the steps we take towards our target that define us. We are measured by actions. People will know us through the reality of how we live.