The How and the What

"The journey is the destination" is, undoubtedly, the most overused cliché in this blog (in fact, even referring to this is already becoming cliché - I'm so meta, even this acronym...). Often times, however, the story lies not in the goal - the what - nor even necessarily on the road towards it, but in the way it is to be traversed: the destination, then, is actually the how, and not simply the undertaking itself.

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My choice of means seems to heavily favour electing the hardest path. I have a fable for going with the underdog, clearly exemplified with my company or cycling team - the additional hardships of fighting against the odds, the suffering of slings and arrows somehow raising the enjoyment of any eventual achievement.

This, however, only makes sense if there is still a worthy goal, even if an ever-moving target - seeking the harshest ways as an end unto itself would be a worrisome evidence of a known, classified mental disorder: Millon's virtuous masochistic personality subtype includes, among its traits, a tendency for weighty burdens to be judged noble. Just where is the line to be drawn?

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As I fought over the entire summer to maintain my status in the highest ranked amateur division, I traversed alone thousands of kilometres to take part in deplorable races, under miserable conditions, in often vain attempts to score those feeble missing rank list points, feeling expectations and anxiety build up with each missed opportunity. And then, on the second last race of the calendar, I drove back from the Baltic with an exquisite trophy on the passenger seat, the A letter assured on my next year's license: Win.

And yet, that triumph was but the external good (MacIntyre, once again). Two years before, in what ended up being another particularly hard season, I went through a similar struggle - and failing then only served to emphasise the reasons why I would, later, again choose to subject myself to such ordeals: the goods internal to the practice - the journey - and perhaps even internal to the very act of fighting. The love for the how. I hold there was, and is, a certain virtue in simply not giving up, no matter what odds one may be up against. Which defines me, or rather: which I want to define me.

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Can the how be the what ?