"Life is a journey." How often have I thought about that sentence over the years? It came up again after reading an intriguing article about Kilian Jornet Burgada, "the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation" in last Sunday's NY Times magazine. This paragraph appeared towards the end of the article:
"What are you running after? I asked Jornet. Having beaten men, do you now want to challenge the mountains? He gently corrected me. You don't beat the mountains. You go when they permit, he said. The speed records and "firsts" aren't important except for motivation, he insisted. Then he mentioned the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Hughes Galeano, who once likened the ideal of Utopia to the horizon - goals that retreat even as we chased them. "The important thing is not to catch something," said Jornet... What matters in life is the pursuit, and everything we learn along the way. "The important thing," he said, "is moving."
What struck me about Jornet's quote was the phrase "...everything we learn along the way." With that, he emphasizes the need for reflection. For we are always learning as we move forward through our lives, but often don't take the time to look at and reflect upon what we are learning as we do so.
And reflection is such an important part of the creative process! I ask myself questions constantly as I am working on a new piece or project. Taking time to reflect allows me to see what I've done well or poorly, and allows me to learn from my failures and successes. In short, reflection and the learning that comes from it is essential to growing creatively.
Someone once said to me that a "good" teacher is one who is constantly trying to improve, who recognizes what they have already achieved, but realizes that there is so much more that they could do better and who works towards that end. That speaks perfectly to what Jornet said, "What matters in life is the pursuit, and everything we learn along the way."