Is being able to find “Joy in the Journey” a trait like being 6’11”, or is it a skill you can improve like being able to dribble a basketball? I believe finding joy in the journey is both a trait and a skill. Some people have a natural ability to do this, while the rest of us have to work at it.
As we have studied the lives of innovators, it is clear that being able to enjoy the ride is a common characteristic. Edison put it this way, “I always invented to obtain money to go on inventing.” Edison enjoyed inventing; he enjoyed innovating. He also saw it as his mission in life. He stated, “My philosophy of life is work. Bringing out the secrets of Nature and applying them for the happiness of man—I know of no better service to render during the short time we are in this world.”
The ability to enjoy what we are doing is a key to overcoming all of the setbacks that come with innovation. For example, at one time Edison was immersed in a large scale iron ore separation experiment. Years of his life and millions of dollars (back when a million dollars was a lot of money) was spent on this project. The process was a financial failure. When Edison was asked about the project, he replied that while it cost a lot of money, they sure had a lot of fun. This attitude allowed him to go onto his next project and continue inventing. Many of us would have been very discouraged, but he had enjoyed what he was doing and was ready to move on to the next adventure.
Find joy in the journey; it will get you through the difficult times and help you enjoy the ride.