Pursue your passion. That’s the traditional wisdom, right? But there’s more to it than just that. In his new book, The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris Guillebeau explains how you can also find a purpose in the pursuit of a quest. The book is based on his experience visiting 193 countries, and how the pursuit of that quest also gave him great purpose in life.
Since I received two copies of the book from the publisher (thanks, Chris!), I’m giving away a hardback version of Chris’s book to one lucky reader! The contest details are at the end of this post.
So what is a “quest” exactly? According to Guillebeau, a quest “is a journey toward something specific with a number of challenges throughout. Most quests also require a series of logistical steps and some kind of personal growth.”
Some quests that were completed by people interviewed for the book include:
- Traveling across the country in an RV and documenting the trip in photos
- Cycling across the world
- Practicing Tai Chi and writing down food eaten for one thousand days
- Creating a charity that provides clean drinking water (Charity: Water)
- Write 365 thank you cards in one year
Guillebeau found several common threads among those who decided to complete a question. Every person had been feeling some type of dissatisfaction with their normal lives. They felt the emotion of their own mortality. Not in a morbid way, but rather a deep understanding that life is short, and you only live once. They wanted to experience something deeper and more meaningful in their lives. Critically, these individuals also had a willingness to take action. In many cases, individuals felt “called” to their quest.
One woman who completed a quest stated:
“I want to make my life worthwhile, I consider myself an instrument and if I don’t put myself to work for the greatest possible good, I’ll feel like a wasted a chance that will never return.”
It’s the Journey, Not Just the Destination
As with life, pursuing a quest is about what happens on the journey, not simply reaching the goal or destination. People who have pursued a quest report the following benefits:
- Increased confidence after taking action and for completing a big goal
- Increased happiness that comes from doing something you love
- A higher level self-understanding
- A deep sense of mission and purpose
- Increased satisfaction with their lives
- Increased courage and the ability to overcome fear of new things
“Embracing new things often requires us to embrace our fears, however trivial they may seem. You deal with fear not by pretending it doesn’t exist, but by refusing to give it decision-making authority.” ~Chris Guillebeau
A quest may start as a smaller goal and then grow as your confidence grows. In Guillebeau’s own story, a desire to travel grew into his quest to visit every country in the world after he completed some initial trips.
Contest – Enter to Win a Copy of The Happiness of Pursuit
To Enter: Leave a comment in the section below, responding to one of the following questions:
1.) Have you ever started a quest? What was it and what kind of results did you experience?
2.) Describe a quest that sounds fun and exciting to you.
One winner will be randomly selected using Random Number Selector on Monday, October 6, 2014. The contest ends at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday, October 6, 2014. The winner will receive one hardback copy of “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau. If you win, you will be notified by email at the address used for your comment. We’ll also post the winner’s name here. One entry per person.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Angela McKinney! You were the winner of our drawing. Thank you to everyone for participating!
Disclosure: Other than receiving the two copies of the book, I have not received any compensation for writing this post and have no material connection to the author. I am, however, an Amazon affiliate.
Liz Smith says
I once completed a quest of skiing at every ski slope in the state during ski season. The quest got me to visit ski resorts that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. It was great fun and a good challenge.
Thanks Liz, that sounds like an amazing quest! How many ski slopes were there? Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂
Lisa A. says
I think a fun quest would be to walk across England — it’s a relatively small country, right? 🙂
That sounds like a wonderful quest! Thanks Lisa!
There is a walk along the north of England, from pub to pub, or B&B, depending on the night and my husband and I intend to do this when our kids are grown -it takes some time, it is a long walk 🙂 It is meant to be fun more than strenuous exercise.
That sounds like a great time! I would love to try that one too. Thanks for sharing!
Anne Derkat says
I once promised myself to spend every New Year’s Eve in a different country. I’ve only made it to 5 but am happy that \i was able to do that much.
I love that quest! It’s like a fresh start in a new country every year. Please keep me posted on your quest updates 🙂
Angela McKinney says
I think a fun quest would be to travel to Dublin and try out all their pubs!
Agreed, that does sound fun. Thanks Angela 🙂
Angela – congratulations! you are the winner of the book. Please use the contact me form to send me your address and I will send it out right away! Thank you for entering 🙂
I don’t know if I’d call it a quest, but we had always wanted to take the kids to another country to vacation. We accomplished this last year on a cruise to Honduras!
Scott – that sounds like a terrific quest! I’ve never been to Honduras, how was it? Thanks for sharing 🙂
I want to read this book. I’ve never heard of someone visiting 193 countries! I agree that the journey is just as important as the destination.
Thanks Michelle, it is a good book and an easy read with lots of inspirational stories. Let me know how you like it. Thank you so much for visiting my blog 🙂
Indigo Ocean says
Great article. I have found so much growth and meaning in life through what I call self-directed pilgrimage. I love to go to a new country with no idea where I’ll be, other than the city I’ll fly into, and just let my inner guidance lead me around. The quest is just that I want to discover what is shown to me instead of just being led by my intellect all the time.
Well said! I love your approach. So happy to have you visit my blog 🙂
I want to go on a fun quest!
Me too 🙂 Do you have a specific quest in mind? Thanks for visiting my blog.
Jaime Nicole says
I am definitely going to pick this book up. I already liked his “The $100 Startup” (he’s very inspiration) and I love the idea behind this!!!!
Hi Jaime – great to see you on my blog! If you liked the $100 Startup, I think you will like this book as well. Chris is very inspirational.
Everyone’s quests sound amazing. I would have no idea what to do! Right now, I have a very small “quest”. I want to get a job. My health has been preventing me for years but I’m finally starting to feel a bit better. I’ve wanted a job for so long and I look forward to the day that I can.
Hi Alex – that is a wonderful quest and congratulations on getting your health issues under control. If you can do that, you can move mountains! All my best to you in your job quest 🙂
sarah sofia knepp says
Love this idea for many reasons! I’m always trying to better myself personally and professionally and this has a lot of value. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Sarah – So great to see you on my blog, thank you and thank you for your gracious feedback 🙂
Yolanda Gonzalez says
I think it would be awesome to go on a roadtrip with my long distance BF all along the west and east coast. I would be his west coast tour guide and plan out some fun activities, since I live on the west coast. He would be my east coast your guide since he lives on the east coast. It would be great to take pictures all along the way and create a book titled You East & Me West in Love.
Yolanda – I love it! Sounds like a wonderful adventure and a great story for a book 🙂 Any plans to make it happen?