The FlairistThe Flairist, an online site targeting young, ambitious women, invited me and others to reflect on what I wish I knew when I was younger. Their angle: Life in your mid-twenties can be simultaneously beautiful and challenging. Sometimes you may find it necessary to seek advice from people who’ve been where you are now and are willing to share their telling observations. That’s precisely why we asked a group of fabulous and accomplished women what they wish they had known about life when they were 25.

My response:

Now 50, I wish I’d recognized that the joy in life comes not from the result, but from the process, the journey. It’s not crossing the finish line first that brings joy, it’s the race itself. It’s not the diploma that validates, it’s the work and learning that went into earning it. It’s not seeing my books for sale in bookstores that fulfills me, but the process of writing. I still struggle to remind myself of that in our results-oriented culture. (Pretty much the only place this doesn’t apply is with babies and pregnancy! In that case, it’s the result-the baby–that brings joy, and not the gestation process complete with morning sickness, heartburn, and discomfort!)

Read the original article for its many addditional perspectives on life, self-belief, risk-taking, and joy,